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.