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Exceptional rainfall during the third week of September 1973 in E Kent

Jamie M

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  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms & Snow
  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)

An exceptionally wet night from the 20th to the 21st of September 1973 brought a lot of rainfall within such a short amount of time to the normally dry parts of E Kent. No rain fell at Herne Bay for 38 days at 09z from the 9th of August to the 15th. Grand total of 15.2 mm during August so such a substantial amount of rainfall was quite shocking. 11.1 mm at Manston, compared to 253 mm in September.

Herne Bay supposedly recorded 2.25" within 15 minutes on the 15th according to COL but can only seem to find 36 mm on the official station? This storm looks to be the same '5-hour storm' reported by an observer at Gillingham. 44.1 mm at Manston during the 'four-hour storm'.

Majority of the rainfall came from storms that were reported between 0400 and 0600 bundled in with the already very heavy rainfall. 23 mm in 15 minutes at its peak. It was even wetter still later on in the month with a further inch of rain in Thanet on the 23rd.

West Stourmouth had the highest daily rainfall total seen anywhere in the SE since before 1865.


32 weather stations recorded over 100 mm. The Thanet Times lists 7 inches of rainfall falling at Manston over a period of 10 hours with Force 10 winds.

Faversham 99 mm

Whitstable 106 mm

Herne Bay 120 mm

Anvil Green 107 mm

West Stourmouth 191 mm (September daily rainfall record which still stands)

Margate 172 mm

Manston 161 mm

Minster 151 mm

Ashford 167 mm

Dover 77 mm

Wye 128 mm

Just to list a few.

Canterbury Road in Westgate-on-Sea was severely flooded and was where a woman tragically drowned as she lived in a ground floor flat that quickly filled with water. 2,000 turkeys drowned on a farm in Monkton. Landslide at Minster caused railway lines to be shut between there and Ramsgate. Shops didn't open in Ramsgate due to the flooding. Parts of Margate, Broadstairs, Birchington, Westgate and Ramsgate were all severely flooded.

All in all, a tremendous event which likely won't be repeated in the SE for many years and a final stop to a drought.

Newspaper clippings from the Thanet Times below.


And a few more pictures from Facebook (Margate Local & Family History)



Further snipping from Birmingham Daily Post.

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  • Location: Islington, C. London.
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snowy winters and mixed summers.
  • Location: Islington, C. London.

An unusual occurrence in what was in most areas a dry month in a dry autumn. Fascinating read. ?? 

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