Fallen trees blocked roads and railways and left widespread structural damage primarily to windows and roofs. Several hundred thousand people were left without power, not fully restored until more than two weeks later. Local electric utility officials later said they lost more wires in the storm than in the preceding decade. At sea, as well as many small boats being wrecked, a Sealink cross-channel ferry, the MV Hengist , was driven ashore at Folkestone and the bulk carrier MV Sumnea capsized at Dover , Kent.
The National Grid sustained heavy damage during the event, as crashing cables short-circuited, which in some cases overheated the main system. Its headquarters faced the choice of keeping the Grid online to help London as the storm approached but risk an incremental system breakdown, failure and burnout, or to shut down most of South East England including London and avert that risk.
The headquarters made the decision, the first one like it since before World War II : to shut down the South East power systems to maintain the network as soon as signs of overheating began . In London, many of the trees lining streets , particularly plane trees , were blown down overnight, blocking roads and crushing parked cars. Building construction scaffolding and billboards collapsed in many places, and many buildings were damaged.
Much of the public transport in the capital was not functioning, and people were advised against trying to go to work. TV-am host Anne Diamond did go back to the regular TV-am studio with reporter Kay Burley , whilst Richard Keys remained in the Thames Television studio in case the power supply situation became even worse, and indeed, power did go back down at around am.
Great Storm of 1987
A much deeper depression hit Ushant on the extreme western tip of Brittany at midnight. It was measured at hPa or mb at the Brest -Guipavas weather station, the lowest reading in its records dating back to Weather stations on the coast at pointe du Raz , pointe Saint-Mathieu and Penmarch gave no readings, as they were damaged by the high winds. The church at Concarneau was damaged but never rebuilt, and was finally demolished a few years later. The ship was cast adrift after its tow rope parted, finally resuming its journey on 19 October The storm hit the Isle of Wight at Shanklin Pier on the south-east coast of the island was broken into three pieces as a result of mountainous waves.
Plans to rebuild the pier were soon abandoned, and the rest of the pier was demolished by contractors shortly afterwards. A monument now stands in front of what used to be the pier entrance. A great deal of effort and money was put into the post-storm clean-up of forests and wooded areas. The writer Oliver Rackham and the charity Common Ground were active in trying to prevent unnecessary destruction of trees which, although fallen, were still living. A number of wild boar may have escaped from captivity during the storm, after enclosures were damaged by falling trees.
These boar have since bred and established populations in woods across southern England.
A more positive aspect could be found among some British gardeners; as Heather Angel wrote in the Royal Horticultural Society 's Journal :. In some places this natural disaster has resulted in splendid vistas- views long since forgotten by some and never before seen by a whole new generation. Because of gaps left by fallen trees, visitors to Arundel Castle , the ancestral home of the Dukes of Norfolk, can now look out over the picturesque town At the renowned woodland rhododendron garden at Leonardslee , Sussex, the gale Following the storm meteorologists at the University of Reading led by Professor Keith Browning developed the Sting jet concept.
During reanalysis of the storm they identified a mesoscale flow where the most damaging winds were shown to be emanating from the evaporating tip of the hooked cloud head on the southern flank of the cyclone. This cloud, hooked like a scorpion's tail, gives the wind region its name the "Sting Jet". The Met Office was severely criticised by most of the national press for failing to forecast the storm correctly.
The Met Office conducted an internal inquiry, scrutinised by two independent assessors, and a number of recommendations were made. Chiefly, observational coverage of the atmosphere over the ocean to the south and west of the UK was improved by increasing the quality and quantity of observations from ships, aircraft, buoys and satellites. Continued refinements were made to the computer models used in forecasting, and changes were made in the training of forecasters. In addition, reforms in the way the Met Office reports warnings of severe weather were implemented, leading to substantially more warnings being issued in the future.
Further deployment of improved tracking devices and improvements in the computer model simulations were supported by the purchase of an additional Cray supercomputer. Warnings for the Burns' Day Storm just over two years later were accurate and on time, although the model forecast hinged on observations from two ships in the Atlantic near the developing storm the day before it reached the UK. BBC meteorologist Michael Fish drew particular criticism for reporting several hours before the storm hit:.
Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way; well, if you're watching, don't worry, there isn't, but having said that, actually, the weather will become very windy, but most of the strong winds, incidentally, will be down over Spain and across into France.
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Fish has subsequently claimed that his comments about a hurricane had nothing to do with the UK; they referred to Florida, USA, and were linked to a news story immediately preceding the weather bulletin, but had been so widely repeated out of context that the British public remains convinced that he was referring to the approaching storm. According to Fish, the woman in question was actually a colleague's mother who was about to go on holiday in the Caribbean, and had called regarding Hurricane Floyd to see if it would be safe to travel. Fish went on to warn viewers that it would be "very windy" across the south of England, but predicted that the storm would move further south along the English Channel and the British mainland would escape the worst effects.
The remainder of his warning is frequently left out of re-runs, which only adds to the public's misconception of that day's forecasting. His analysis has been defended by weather experts. In particular, the lack of a weather ship in the Southwest Approaches, due to Met Office cutbacks,  meant the only manner of tracking the storm was by using satellite data, as automatic buoys had not been deployed at the time. Ironically, earlier forecasts as far back as the preceding weekend had correctly identified that gale-force winds would affect Southern England.
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However, later runs of the model had indicated a more southerly track for the low pressure system, incorrectly indicating that the strongest winds would be confined to Northern and Central France. The French meteorological office used a different computer weather model to the British, and the French model proved more accurate in predicting the severity of the storm in the Channel. It is claimed this storm was the worst since the Great Storm of ,    which has been challenged as a myth. Storms of such a strength have a return period of 30 to 40 years. Following this storm 1. Following the storm few dealers made it to their desks and stock market trading was suspended twice and the market closed early at The disruption meant the City was unable to respond to the late dealings at the beginning of the Wall Street fall-out on Friday 16 October, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its biggest-ever one-day slide at the time, a fall of City traders and investors spent the weekend, 17—18 October, repairing damaged gardens in between trying to guess market reaction and assessing the damage.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For tropical cyclones in the Atlantic that year, see Atlantic hurricane season. Risk Management Solutions. Retrieved 2 August Retrieved 20 June The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December Met Office News Blog. Wayback Machine: Met Office.
Archived from the original on 7 September Retrieved 6 January The Economist. BBC News. Retrieved 4 May Bibcode : Wthr Met Office. Retrieved 3 May Retrieved 27 February Retrieved 25 August Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 May The Independent Books. Voucher Codes.
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