But in January 1362 probably the greatest North Sea flood in history caused catastrophe. A ferocious storm swept across England, as one chronicler recorded: “A strong gale blew from the north so violently for a day and night that it flattened trees, mills, houses and a great many church towers.”
The violent winds drove a huge storm surge in the North Sea that wiped out the port of Ravensor Odd, on what is now Spurn Head, Yorkshire, at the mouth of the Humber Estuary. The flood swamped the Danish, German and Dutch coast-lines and changed their shapes. In the Netherlands the storm surge carved out a huge inland sea – what is now the Zuider Zee – and smashed the German coast into islands.