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15/10/2007







the great storm ...

In the early hours of October 16th 1987, winds peaked at more than 120 mph, killing 18 people, damaging buildings and felling 15 million trees in the south-east of England.

During the night I can remember waking and thinking how rough it was sounding outside but I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams what was really going on. I suppose my first inkling that the weather must have been quite bad was we had no power in the morning, this sounds really stupid now, but I remember panicking because I wasn’t going to be able to wash and dry my hair for work! It wasn’t until I was driving in, along the coast road that I was starting to notice there was something really quite different about the journey that day, there was a lot of debris around, fallen trees, leaning traffic light and lamp posts, boats washed up from the shingle onto the road from the beach and when driving through the town my eye being drawn to one of the popular steak houses of the time which had all of its windows blown out, I remember starting to feel a bit preturbed about what I was seeing and arriving at work feeling quite unerved, not being able to quite comprehend what I had seen. I remember during my lunch hour going around to my mum’s house and both of us going out in the car to have a look at some of the storm damage, we saw many unbelievable sights and we realised then how many people's lives had been changed out of the blue by the verocity of the storm. As a family we were fortunate and suffered no damage whatsoever.

One lovely memory from October 1987 was the birth of my lovely niece Laura who will be twenty on the 19th. I asked Stella her mum about the experience and she reminded me of that fact that when she was waiting for the arrival of Laura in Southlands Hospital, the maternity ward had no windows, they had blown out in the storm (in fact the strongest gust of 100 knots was measured at Shoreham on the Sussex coast, which is where the hospital is situated).

4 comments:

Joanna said...

I remember, the night of the storm. The wind was howling it was hard to sleep. I came down stairs from my then attic bedroom and slept on the sofa bed. In the morning the wind had eased but I could see fence panels blowing around like blankets from the nursary near my parents house. I was sitting talking to my parents in there bedroom. Slowy like in slow motion a great tree feel towards us. It miss the house luckily, just clipping a few bits of guttering and some tiles next door. I will never forget that. I really enjoyed the week after the storm with no electricity, lots of fires, candles and board games

Nicola said...

I remember it too, it hit Jersey hard as well. I was staying over at my boyfriend's flat (married him in the December of 87) and after we had woken up and realised what had happened I walked to my parents' house, stepping over fallen trees and stuff. Then I walked to work. I think I got there about 2pm! I was working in an insurance office, so you can imagine how busy we were with insurance claims after that storm!

Lynda said...

That must have been pretty scary! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and I hope you come again! ~ Lynda ♥

Katherine said...

Wow! Sounds very scary and surreal. Isn't it strange to recall such things and remember your initial reactions to disaster even 20 years later... Glad that it's just a memory now.