Stormy weather batters Western European coastlines

Severe winter weather may be nothing new across Western Europe, but the size of the waves pounding exposed coasts recently has been extraordinary.

A series of storms stirred up stormy seas, but a combination of violent storm force winds and an exceptionally long fetch – the distance across open water that the wind blows – produced mountainous seas.

A wave of 19 metres was reported off the coast of Cornwall, near St Ives. Photographs taken at Sennen, close to Land’s End, showed spray from huge waves easily reaching the top of the cliffs – a height of 78 metres.

Storm damage has been reported along the coast of the southern UK and northern France.

Although a quieter spell of weather is now ensuing, the seas are expected to remain very rough for a few days

A second frontal system tracked across northern France, churning up the seas for another day. [AFP]

The mountainous seas were the result of Storm Imogen. [AFP]

The massive waves were an attraction for many despite warnings to stay away. [EPA]

The south coast of the UK saw some of the strongest winds with gusts of over 150km/h. [EPA]

The storm was a major hazard to shipping. [EPA]

The northern coast of Spain and Portugal is vulnerable to winds blowing over long distances from the west. [EPA]

The coast of Belgium and The Netherlands saw stormy condition. [EPA]

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