Sunday, January 8, 2012

Heavy Snow Storms in England - 20 March 1891

The snowfall was general throughout England, and remarkably heavy in some parts. The snowdrifts were 20ft deep.

The ‘Flying Dutchman' was snowbound at Tiverton (in Devon), and many mail trains in various parts were completely embedded in the snowdrifts. The blizzard is still raging.

Twenty lives have been lost, and various casualties are reported. Several people have been frozen to death.

Numerous additional deaths are reported by sea and land, and the effects of the snow blizzard are being severely felt by certain classes of the population. Owing to the severity of the weather all the work in the mines at Rhondda valley, Wales, has been stopped, throwing 25,000 people out of employment. Railway communication between London and Exeter, which was interrupted owing to the line being blocked by snowdrifts, has been restored.

The severe weather, which has been experienced during the past few days, still continues (March 13), and shows no signs of abating. The southern counties have suffered most from the effects of the snowstorms, and the counties of Devon and Cornwall have been completely isolated for several days. The snowfall is the heaviest known for 50 years. Railway and telegraph communication is interrupted in all directions, and work on many of the lines has been suspended altogether.

Trains which left railway stations on Monday night, and which encountered the full force of the storm, are still (13th) buried in snowdrifts. The passengers were rescued from the carriages and taken to adjacent villages, where they are being provided with food and shelter until the cars are able to resume their journey. Six trains are buried between Exeter and Plymouth. Near Dartmoor, in Devonshire, a train was embedded in a snowdrift for two days. During that time the passengers were without food, and the work of rescuing them could only be carried out with great difficulty. When reached they were in a pitiable condition.

The weather off the coast is very heavy, and numerous shipping casualties are reported. The Liverpool barque Dryad went ashore on Start Point and became a total wreck. Twenty -four of those on board were drowned.

The ship Calcutta was wrecked while entering Plymouth Haven, and 18 of her officer's and crew was lost. The pipes, which supply Plymouth with water, became choked with snow, which froze hard, and 500 soldiers and navvies are now engaged in cleaning them. Over 100 deaths by land and sea been recovered, and the number is increasing every day.

One hundred and sixty navvies are clearing the snow from the railway station at Plymouth.

The American ship Servia is missing, and it is supposed that she has been disabled and is drifting about the channel.

Four vessels have been wrecked off the Start and 53 persons drowned. Fourteen vessels, including several large steamers, were totally lost or severely damaged on the coasts of Devon and Cornwall. The storm has now ceased.

The express which left Paddington station on Monday did not arrive at Plymouth till Friday night.

A hundred passengers were rescued near Okehamplon after having been buried in a snowdrift 24 hours.

The Cunard liner Servia is safe.

The United States man-of-war Galina was wrecked on the Hampshire coast during the storm.

Five thousand sheep have been frozen to death on the hills in Wales.

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