The Great Storm hits France and England (1987)


 
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Written by: 360.org
 

Sunday, 15 October 2017


1987 -

Today in 1987 the most devastating storm, The Great Storm, hit France and England. It killed 22 people, brought down 15 million trees and caused losses of billions throughout Europe. Though winds exceeded hurricane force, the storm was not a hurricane. The Great Storm was classified as an extratropical cyclone.



Poorly forecast
The intensity of the storm was poorly forecast. Four days before the storm struck, severe weather was predicted. But models changed during the week and meteorologist predicted the winds would slow down before hitting England. During the evening of 15 October forecasts mentioned strong winds, indicating heavy rain would be the main feature. People went to bed thinking the storm wouldn’t be a problem. One hour after midnight Met Office, UK’s national weather service, warned that gushes would be so severe that authorities might need to call on assistance from the military. The Great Storm was finally recognized.

No worries
In the aftermath media reports accused the Met Office of failing to forecast. BBC meteorologist Michael Fish drew criticism because he told viewers not to worry. ‘A woman had rang the BBC and said there was a hurricane on the way. (…) Don’t worry, there isn’t.’ Later Fish claimed he referred to a hurricane approaching Florida.



360 trivial fact
According to the newspaper The Telegraph, wildlife benefited from the Great Storm. They claim the population of boar soared after several escaped captivity during the storm and successfully bred in the wild.

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