The most significant weather event in Essex history, the Tidal Surge of 1953, led to Southend-on-Sea being overwhelmed by the water. The pier's water level measuring device broke when the water level reached 4 feet past the danger level, and many of Southend’s attractions, including the Esplanade and the Leas, were flooded by the dreadful weather. The icy cold waters killed two people in the town. In nearby Great Wakering, the weather washed away a temporary housing estate of Nissan Huts. The surge of water forced many families to climb onto the roofs of their homes, braving the weather conditions to escape the flood waters, and one older couple, who could not manage the climb, spent nine hours standing on top of their stove, chest-deep in water. The Southend lifeboat was busier than at any time before or since as it battled the weather conditions to provide help for those stranded on Wallasea Island.