THIS WEEK IN 1972: Portsmouth rocked as snow and gales hit south

Horses on the snow-covered slopes of Portsdown Hill, at Skew Road, Portchester

Horses on the snow-covered slopes of Portsdown Hill, at Skew Road, Portchester

THIS WEEK IN 1998: Helicopter crash is £75m headache

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A fleet tanker threatening to break adrift in Portsmouth Harbour, a Canadian visitor killed by falling masonry, a hospital wall blown across the runway and against the perimieter fence at Portsmouth airport.

This was just part of the tally of damage and destruction in Portsmouth that was discovered in the wake of a storm that created havoc across the country.

The wall which crashed on to three cars at St James's Hospital, Milton.

The wall which crashed on to three cars at St James's Hospital, Milton.

Lucky escapes from serious injury were reported in Chichester, where a tree branch destroyed the roof of a new bungalow, and on Eastern Road, Portsmouth, where a car overturned after hitting flood water.

Other escapes from death were down to the bravery of rescue services, such as the crew of the Yarmouth lifeboat which, in hurricane force winds, rescued two yachtsmen trying to enter the harbour.

However, life was lost during the storm.

A falling chimney stack from the roof of 6 and 7, South Parade, crashed to the pavement killing Phyllis Davidson, 43, a visitor from Ontario staying at the Pendragon Hotel, who had arrived in the city only hours before.

Legacy of the night's violence - a gaping hole in the side of this house in Leonard Road, Landport.

Legacy of the night's violence - a gaping hole in the side of this house in Leonard Road, Landport.

It wasn’t just gale force winds that hit Portsmouth – snow beat the forecasters and hit Portsmouth bang on schedule – exactly a year after the first fall of the previous winter.

Motorists were the first to feel the bite of mini blizzards in Hampshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight.

The AA’s Southampton office said: ‘We have been absolutely chock-a-block with calls. Drivers are advised to check their connections and distributor caps before leaving home.’

The Southampton weather centre reported abnormally low temperatures – 5C compared to an average 10C.

As our picture shows, snow settled on Portsdown Hill, while Wickham, Midhurst, Bognor Regis and west Wight were among those most affected.

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