culture

The Wrath of Hercules

The megastorm left devastation in its wake

| posted on January 23, 2014

When Winter Storm Hercules struck Western Europe the first week of January, it wasn’t all about giant perfect surf at Belharra and Mullaghmore. Many coastal communities in the U.K. bore the brunt of the storm’s rage, and it will take years to recover. In some places, the coastline was permanently altered. Dorset’s Pom Pom Rock, a well-known geological landmark, was completely obliterated by storm surf. Porthcothan Bay, in Cornwall, was smashed by waves so big they destroyed a famous rock arch that weighed thousands of tons. Cornwall’s Fistral Beach, long-considered the capital of English surfing, saw its beach bar blown up by the huge surf. What’s possibly worse for the English coastline is what may be coming down the pipe. “In some cases, the shoreline was moved 150 meters up the beach,” said Plymouth University Marine Sciences Professor Mark Davidson, “with the sea hitting parts of the coast that have never been wet before, or at least not for a very long time.” Meaning that huge swaths of the coast near Cornwall are primed for landslides and further erosion.

BeachBar_Sharpy

The Fistral Beach Bar, a landmark of British surfing, took Hercules right in the teeth. Photo: Roger Sharp

The anchor arch in Porthcothan, Cornwall: After.

Dorset’s Pom Pom Rock: Before. Photo: BNPS

Dorset's Pom Pom Rock: Before. Photo: BNPS

Dorset’s Pom Pom Rock: After. Just gone. Photo: BNPS

The anchor arch in Porthcothan, Cornwall: Before.

The anchor arch in Porthcothan, Cornwall: Before. Photo: BNPS

The anchor arch in Porthcothan, Cornwall: Before.

The anchor arch in Porthcothan, Cornwall: After. Eons to make it, one storm to destroy it. Photo: BNPS

  • David b

    Wow, kind of like seeing the drastic glacial melt in ‘chasing ice.’ More severe storms and rising sea levels on the way. Smells like climate change to me…

  • Jimmy the Saint

    Essential reading for anyone interested in the sea level rise and the impacts its going to have on all coastal users soon

    http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/nature/Down-by-the-Seaside-With-Dr-Doom-Geologist-Orrin-Pilkey.html

  • Andres Niemeyer

    Nature…Goulet.

  • Paul S

    Kind of funny to read people attributing storm damage and natural erosion to anthropomorphic climate change. Whether it’s real or not (it likely is), damage and erosion of rocky coast lines has been happening for millions of years in the past and and will continue to occur for millions of years in the future.

  • John Mackay

    That was the best cliff jump spot ever, pretty harsh its gone, my friend Dan hucking one https://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/356x538q90/812/q8wp.jpg