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Homage to the Great Storm, 16th October 1987

And here it is, the surface pressure chart from 7am 16th October 1987.

I remember it so well. Waking up for school to news that the power at the BBC was off and that broadcasts were being made from 'the broom cupboard'.

Leaping out of bed I tuned my shortwave SSB receiver to RAF Volmet to hear gusts (by then weakened) at 65kts. There had been much stronger gusts and the Post Office Tower is London had it's anemometer blown away!

I had recorded the Shipping Forecast the previous evening (anorak or what????) and duly plotted the chart before going to school. There is was. The Great Storm low that had brought so much damage to southern England.

It is the day when modern meteorology was born, but spare a thought for those affected and for those who lost their lives.


(Image Crown Copyright The Meteorological Office)

2 thoughts on “Homage to the Great Storm, 16th October 1987

  1. Thanks for the trip down Anorak Lane, Simon! I used to regularly copy the shipping forecasts and plot the charts, but I was away on holiday, in Malta, at the time. The first I heard about it was in the Maltese newspapers, and came as quite a surprise. In some ways, I’m glad I missed it, but in other ways I was probably best out of it. I always felt sorry for Michael Fish, who took the blame for something he got aught in the middle of. At the time, we weren’t told the true story about the lady who had (apparently) phone the BBC asking about whether a hurricane was on the way. I’m glad the true story came out, but I’m not completely sure that many people have been made aware of it. I also remember how poor old Ian McCaskill took a pounding from Michael Buerk…, Very unfair, and hurtful…

    1. Absolutely David, an event to remember. I think the ‘hurricane lady’ was referring to a hurricane in Caribbean as her daughter was on holiday there? For me I was plotting the weather charts using a combination of Shipping Forecast and aircraft VOLMET reports. I’ve still got the chart I plotted showing the deep low leaving eastern England early on that Friday morning.

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