The so-called Beast from the East has left tens of thousands of dead starfish washed up on a British beach.
Ramsgate beach was left blanketed in the marine creatures, which were washed ashore this weekend following days of sub-zero temperatures and high winds whipped up by Storm Emma.
Lara Maiklem, 47, photographed the bizarre sight. “It was incredible,” she said. “There were starfish as far as the eye could see, there were fish in there and sea urchins.”
“I think someone found a lobster in there as well - and some false teeth.
“I live on the coast but I spend most of my time in London mudlarking in the Thames. I had heard about the starfish so I went down. I have never seen anything like that before.”
Maiklem shared the pictures on her London Mudlark Facebook page, which has more than 30,000 followers.
The post drew comments from people describing similar scenes elsewhere in the UK.
Some described beaches covered with dead razor clams. Chris Keyworth said: “It’s a natural phenomenon which happens all around our coast every year without the storms, normally you get one or the other dying off in stages - one day it’s crabs, the next it’s sea stars, the next jellyfish.”
Many people were moved by the pictures. One commenter, Jenn May, said: “Wow, spectacular and sad indeed.”
Tim Street added: “Strange to see but another bit of nature will make sure it’s all used for something.
“Unlike the mountain of plastic we continue to shove into the oceans.”
Starfish are invertebrates which can live up to 35 years and have the ability to regenerate their own limbs.
There are some 2,000 species of starfish living in the world’s oceans. The five-arm varieties are the most common, but species with 10, 20 and even 40 arms exist.