The Great Storm of 1987

On the night of the 15th October the South of England was battered by winds of up to 100mph.

I lived through this. In fact as the storm hit overnight I slept through this. As I was barely out of being a toddler I think you can forgive me that. My tender young age at the time also means I don’t have a great deal of memories from it.

The South was battered.

I can recall being at my Grans house huddled around a (battery operated) radio listening to the latest news and hearing my relatives talk about traffic lights being literally bent over by the wind.

Bigger memories come from the years after. In particularly the tenth aniversary where there was a fair amount of TV coverage and documentaries looking back at the events of the night.

Micheal Fish famously delivered a weather forecast stating that there was no reason to worry when a woman had rung the BBC to say there was a hurricane coming.

Technically it was only hurricane force winds but he has spent the remainder of his life apologising for it. Often the butt of the joke his account of the telephone call has actually changed frequently down the years.

Aside from Micheal’s famous faux-parr it’s the footage of Ian , the Met Office forecaster the next day which is most interesting.

Ian McCaskill was battered by the fallout from the storm.

He gives a brilliant lesson in PR and what to do when you completely fail to forecast the weather correctly as he appeared on the news looking literally windswept and apologetic.

Amongst the documentaries ten years on I recall a 999 special. The reconstruction series hosted by Micheal Buerk that I loved as a kid and really need to write up for here at some point.

Elsewhere footage on YouTube surfaced of how the various broadcasters managed to put out a service with the power knocked out. Lucky that the BBC had the broom cupboard to fall back on.

The Broomcupboard with children’s artwork removed.

It’s the sort of thing that would have had me glued to the television. Except we were huddled round a radio and I was under 5.

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