Reports of the 1975 London storm used colourful words to paint the rainy picture

On this day in weather history, a storm flooded Hampstead, England.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Thursday, Aug. 14, 1975, areas across eastern England received more rain than drainage systems could handle. Many places flooded, resulting in one death and two injuries. Around 250 were also left homeless because of the floods.

The storm was caused by a combination of a slow-moving low-pressure system, a frontal system near the United Kingdom, a low-pressure system over France, and overall warm air advected in from the continent.

london storm

Hampstead received 170.8 mm of rain within 24 hours. This was the largest daily total ever to be recorded in London history. The sewer system could not handle the quantity of rain.

Starting around 5:15 p.m., the storm unleashed extreme amounts of rain over Hampstead Heath. Within 30 minutes, local rivers rushed over their boundaries and water inundated homes.

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The London Underground flooded, halting service. It took some routes around a week to recover from the damages.

“For weeks, you may recall, there has been no rain...walking on the heath early that morning, the hard pan of clay...felt warm to the touch, shared John Hillaby, New York Times and New Scientist British travel writer.

"The sultry breezes raised swirling dust devils that scuttled about like crabs [after 5 or 6 hours] the rain and the hail stones barrelled down... At times there seemed to be no rods of rain as you normally see them. It fell in misty sheets with a noise like boiling fat..."

To learn more about the Hampstead Storm, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Flooding from the River Brent, Ealing, London, August 1977. Courtesy of