Great storm of 1987

Great storm of 1987

Great storm of 1987-The Great Storm of 1987 was one of the UK's most catastrophic cyclones, which left many parts of the country completely battered by winds gusting up to 100mph

When was The Great Storm of 1987, was it a hurricane, how much damage did it cause and how was Michael Fish involved?

The gust discretely formed in the Bay of Biscay, making a sudden appearance in the middle of the night

  • Aletha Adu
  • 16 Oct 2017, 7:53
  • Updated: 16 Oct 2017, 9:01

THE Great Storm of 1987 – one of the UK’s most catastrophic cyclones – left 18 people dead and a monstrous repair bill of more than £1 billion.

Much of southern England was completely battered by the winds gusting up to 100mph. We look back at the storm and the damage it caused.

When was the Great Storm of 1987?

During the early hours of October 16, 1987, the south coast of England was wrecked by the greatest storm in nearly three centuries.

Days before the storm struck, forecasters predicted severe weather in the form of heavy rain was on the way.

By the time most people had gone to bed on 15 October, TV weather warnings still had not launched any warnings of brutal winds.

But the Met Office reportedly alerted the Ministry of Defence at around 1am asking for military assistance to help Britons battle the storm’s impact.

Was the Great Storm a hurricane?

BBC weatherman Michael Fish incorrectly dismissed the Great Storm as anything but a hurricane.

During his lunchtime news forecast 30 years ago, a smirking Mr Fish said: “Earlier on today a woman rang the BBC and said she had heard a hurricane was on the way.

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“Well I can assure people watching, there isn’t.”

His forecast claimed it would be a “little bit breezy up the Channel”, which left the Met Office scrutinised by two independent assessors.

The storm which battered southern England hours later is commonly referred to as the worst since the Great Storm of 1703.

Rather than sweeping in from the Atlantic as most British storms do, its squall formed in the Bay of Biscay to the south.

The 1987 had an extremely high hourly-mean speed of 75 knots, in some areas gusting continually for up to four hours.

But it is not classed as a hurricane since it didn’t form in the tropics – the 1987 gust was an extratropical cyclone.

Things have changed in 30 years. Find out why we are better prepared for the next #greatstorm

How much damage did the storm cost?

Eighteen people lost their lives in the horror storm, and four people were killed in France.

Around 15 million trees were blown down, many falling onto the roads and railways, blocking transport links and causing waves of transport chaos.

Thousands were left without power for more than 24 hours as some destroyed electricity and telephone lines, forcing officials to call more than 50 engineers from Cornwall and Carlisle.

A ship capsized at Dover and a Channel Ferry was driven ashore near Folkstone, during the most devastating storm since 1703.

What has Michael Fish said about the 1987 storm?

The former meteorologist received a wealth of criticism in the wake of the storm, for failing to predict it.

The veteran broadcaster appeared slightly annoyed that the storm left an unfair mark on his reputation as the BBC wanted him to work long after he was forced to retire at 60.

Around the storm’s 30th anniversary, Mr Fish admitted said life was “pretty horrendous” after his “unfortunate remark” led him to being blamed for the missing cyclone, but he was proud that it was used during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Recalling the moment he woke up at around 3am, when the storm was battering the south coast, he said stepping out into the garden of his West London home, he did n’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

He said: “I had no idea of the devastation. It took some time for the true facts to really emerge.” But he later reacted, saying: “Oh s***,” as he became aware of the horror.

Mr Fish who is set to feature in a BBC documentary to mark the 30th anniversary of the storm, said he would love to be named after a storm, and is confident that Brits would never miss a storm like this again.

“There was a warning system at the time but it was next to useless and there’s now a very efficient and very good and very clear system of warnings,” he added.


Great storm of 1987


Great storm of 1987

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