BEACH huts were destroyed and the promenade was flooded as storms wreaked havoc on Hayling Island.
Strong gusts, large waves and rain combined to leave a trail of devastation on the seafront.
Hayling Island suffered worse damage than Portsea Island as it is offered reduced protection from the Isle of Wight and large waves called Atlantic Swells hurtle in from the ocean.
Dee Parham, who lives at Sandy Point, which missed out on any major flooding, said: ‘Southwood Road yesterday was under a foot of water.
‘At 3am it flooded again.
‘The water goes as far as the Inn on the Beach back up to Creek Road.
‘With the direction of the tide, it’s washed away all the beach.
‘If the beach had been there it would have stopped the sea coming over, but there was nothing to hold it back.
‘The defences have taken a real battering.
‘One of the walls at Creek Road gave way and the promenade was full of shingle and water.’
Havant Borough Council, as part of the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership, regularly replenishes the shingle on the beach to create a wall against the sea, but successive storms appear to have washed away some of the defences.
The Inn on The Beach, which sits just yards from the sea, was flooded yesterday and again in the early hours today with up to 10 inches of water on the ground floor.
The shingle that normally protects the pub was washed away by the sea, leaving the inn surrounded by 30m of water.
Owner Ian Murray told The News: ‘It was pretty bad - the worst we have seen in the five years since refurbishing it.
‘It flooded the whole downstairs of the pub, right through the champagne bar, the cellars and kitchens.
‘But we are open again today.
‘We got it cleared but we flooded again at 4am.’
Luckily, the pub is well-prepared, although this is the first time it has flooded since Mr Murray took over the venue.
Water-proof tiling and the electrics at ceiling level mean that the pub can re-open within three hours of a flood.
But the beach huts near the inn have not fared so well.
Mr Murray said: ‘We have lost a few beach huts.
‘There are in pieces over the car park. There’s another missing its roof. It just trashed the place.’
Mr Murray was hopeful that the wind and waves would not be as ferocious today.
The winds were so strong yesterday that dogwalkers were seen lying down on the beach as they were unable to walk.
Meanwhile, the area most vulnerable to flooding, the eastern tip of the Eastoke peninsula, has held up well to the storms.
A £5.1m scheme led by Havant Borough Council was completed recently and saw new rock defences put in on the beach.
Resident Peter Crane, 73, who lives next to the beach in Southwood Road, Eastoke, said: ‘In the worst rain and wind we have had, the new defences were there.
‘As far as I can tell it held up very well and it was a good thing it was there.
‘If it had not been there, we would have seen water coming into gardens.’
But Creek Road has remained impassable as it was under a foot of water.
Eastoke resident Tim Speller said: ‘There was water all over the place.
‘The high tide was up again at 3am and I went out at about 9pm last night, and there were people still filling sandbags.
‘There was a digger and council workers there and everyone was doing all they could.
‘I went out to shovel some shingle.
‘I spoke to one guy who had a couple of feet through his mother’s house just off the corner of Creek Road.’
Matt Hosey, assistant coastal defence partnership manager at Havant Borough Council, said: ‘The area of the new defences at Eastoke Point performed well with no problems reported. One of our engineers walked that section during the peak of the storm on the 6th January and the promenade was still dry at that time.
‘This was a significant storm event and flooding elsewhere in Eastoke has occurred - so far only one property has reported internal flooding, but it could be more. ‘The reason for this flooding is the persistent nature of recent storms and the associated swell waves which has resulted in over-topping.
‘Overall the new defences have fared well and have prevented more widespread flooding in the Eastoke area.’