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The Great Storm of '87


Paul

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Posted
  • Location: Aviemore
  • Location: Aviemore

    To mark 20 years since the October 16th storm of 1987, Michael Fish has put together a podcast summing up events in his own words, and dispelling a few myths about the forecasts which lead up to the event. This podcast will be available from next week on the site and will be the first in a new series of podcasts which will become regularly available on Netweather.

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    Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
    :) Thank you Paul, exactly as requested! I look forward to listening to it.
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    Posted
  • Location: Hayward’s Heath - home, Brighton/East Grinstead - work.
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and storms
  • Location: Hayward’s Heath - home, Brighton/East Grinstead - work.

    I posted in the history section earlier and would like to know who back in 1987 was responsible for drawing in the pencil isobars on the the original met office charts that I have shown on 16 10 1987 at 06z when the local weather stations started recording the data of the great storm? I don't know how to post a link to the history section but would still be interested how the met office worked before the days of instant information on the internet. Were there many copies taken of this original document and would any of the original met office staff be interested in seeing one of the originals again?

    Ed

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    Posted
  • Location: cullompton devon 50m amsl
  • Location: cullompton devon 50m amsl
    I posted in the history section earlier and would like to know who back in 1987 was responsible for drawing in the pencil isobars on the the original met office charts that I have shown on 16 10 1987 at 06z when the local weather stations started recording the data of the great storm? I don't know how to post a link to the history section but would still be interested how the met office worked before the days of instant information on the internet. Were there many copies taken of this original document and would any of the original met office staff be interested in seeing one of the originals again?

    Ed

    Doesnt seem like 20 years ago does it? ;)

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    Posted
  • Location: South Derbyshire nr. Burton on Trent, Midlands, UK: alt 262 feet
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme winter cold,heavy bowing snow,freezing fog.Summer 2012
  • Location: South Derbyshire nr. Burton on Trent, Midlands, UK: alt 262 feet

    Great stuff there from Michael Fish on the Great storm of 87. Some facts I never knew about, plus for the first time, I have heard him voice his real chance to put the record straight on the many false reports released by the Tabloids at the time and even continue up to this present day.

    I look forward to Michael’s future Podcasts.

    And many thanks to Netweather for getting this up and running.

    Paul

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    Posted
  • Location: Castle Howard, North Yorkshire
  • Location: Castle Howard, North Yorkshire

    Yes I agree

    It was good to hear how things actually were, right from the horses mouth.

    Thanks Michael very interesting and I look forward to hearing your future podcasts

    Brian

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    Posted
  • Location: South Kyme, Lincolnshire
  • Location: South Kyme, Lincolnshire

    hi all i remember the aftermouth of the 1987 storm having slept through it all but seeong the devestation the next morning. I was 17 at the time and lived in Hertfordshire, i remember my dad and some other colleges chopping up an oak which had fallen across the road causing a car to crash into it in the early hours fortunatly noone was hurt.

    mind you none mentions a similar storm in 1989 which blew in during the afternoon, i lost my shed that day lol.

    LO

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    Posted
  • Location: Liphook
  • Location: Liphook

    Very interesting podcast, that part about the strike is most interesting, that never seems to be mentioned, heck even John H didn't seem to know that!

    Would it be possible to do some sort of podcast on a few very memorable winter set-ups, say Jan 1987, would really be interesting to hear about that as well.

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    Posted
  • Location: Swallownest, Sheffield 83m ASL
  • Location: Swallownest, Sheffield 83m ASL

    Brilliant podcast!! I mentioned to Paul earlier how you can miss a voice even though you don't realise. This is certainly true of Michael Fish. Great to hear his voice again.

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    Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
    Very interesting podcast, that part about the strike is most interesting, that never seems to be mentioned, heck even John H didn't seem to know that!

    Would it be possible to do some sort of podcast on a few very memorable winter set-ups, say Jan 1987, would really be interesting to hear about that as well.

    nope its not something I had heard of. Unable, so far, to get my source in the Met O to reply on this. Oddly enough, if its correct, the French model was more accurate than either Met O UK or ECMWF in the run up to the explosive deepening on the evening of the event.

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    Posted
  • Location: North Yorks, prev West Essex
  • Location: North Yorks, prev West Essex

    Very interesting listening to Michael Fish................he also did the forecast this evening at 6.30.

    Oddly enough, my Husband was in Jersey at the time, and they were all asked to return to their Hotel by 10pm, as massive storm was brewing.

    I just thought the Barometer was broken, and did see the last forecast around midnight, which to be fair had wind speeds of 50mph pegged all across the south.

    Was woken 3hrs later by a dreadful wailing sound. No electricity and the radio didn't help as the DJ at Captial Radio was terrified. Lived [and still do] amonst Epping Forest, and the sound of falling tree's is something I'll never forget.

    I for one, hate the wind now, and hope it NEVER happens again.

    Great podcast, hope he does more.

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    Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

    still awaiting confirmation, or otherwise, about the comment by Michael regarding the French Met O strike.

    Unofficially the two still in the Met O both say they have no recollection but are checking it out.

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    Posted
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada

    It's quite interesting that the date of the great storm of 1987 was virtually the same as the most memorable storm ever to hit Toronto Canada between 1840 and the present time. Hurricane Hazel roared north from North Carolina on the morning of Oct 15th, 1954 and crossed western Lake Ontario (as a tropical storm) on the evening of October 15th. It dropped 4 to 8 inches of rain in the region and unleashed winds that gusted to 70 mph. The storm flooded several rivers running through the city and resulted in over 80 deaths as whole streets were washed away in floodplains. Since that storm, Ontario has developed a system of river conservation and floodplain management so that development is no longer permitted in such areas.

    The greatest windstorm to hit the Vancouver area, and the BC-Washington coast in general, was also at a very similar time of year. A rogue hurricane from the Hawaii region, Freda, hit the west coast on the night of 12-13 Oct 1962. On the American side of the border it is remembered as the Columbus Day storm. This one was even stronger than the 1987 storm in England, it produced wind gusts of 150 mph and blew down thousands of trees in the region, some of them hundreds of years old and hundreds of feet high.

    Memorable Great Lakes windstorms are more likely in November than October. Some of the most famous of these, the Nov 8-9 1913 storm sank many ships on Lake Huron when gale force southerlies suddenly turned to hurricane force northerlies. The Nov 11 1940 storm across the upper Great Lakes is remembered as the Armistice Day storm, and it killed several hunters who were caught out in the resulting blizzards from lake effect snow. In 1975, a similar storm sank the Edmund Fitzgerald in 100 mph winds on Lake Superior, and did considerable wind damage further south in a synoptic pattern almost identical to your October 1987 storm.

    We had a storm of similar evolution in January 1978 across the Great Lakes, that one struck on the 26th about 0800 in Toronto, and forced the wind around from ESE 40 mph to SSW 60 with gusts to near 80, doing considerable damage, it would of course have been worse had these winds encountered trees with leaves still on. The temperature dropped from 4 C to -10 in one hour and the central pressure of that storm was 954 mbs.

    I think that despite the severity of the 1987 storm and the Daniel Defoe storm in 1703, there must be some chance in the future of a greater windstorm across southern England. One day, I suppose it is inevitable that in mid-winter, a deep storm will run southwest to northeast on the right track and pull in the warmest and moistest air masses available at that time of year to maximize the deepening potential and produce a storm stronger than say the 19 Jan storm of last winter. With the current long-term warming that would seem more likely than ever.

    Two other quick points, I have always thought Michael Fish got a bad rap on the hurricane, I remember the storm they were actually talking about, a weak hurricane in the central Atlantic that had faded out a day or two earlier. The other point, it should be stressed that the real source of the very strong wind gusts on 16 Oct 87 was probably in the extreme pressure rises behind the gust front, rather than the deepening of the storm (of course the two things are inter-related). In meteorology, pressure falls or rises of 10 mbs in three hours are considered dramatic and indicative of major development, but with this storm I believe the pressure rises behind the squall line were on the order of 13-15 mbs per three hours. I am just imagining the atmospheric carnage that would happen in Illinois or Michigan if a storm shaped like this one came through with pressure rises that large, as they say nature abhors a vacuum and with these very sharp pressure rises, a vacuum was being filled in as quickly as the atmosphere could achieve. This is also why many report that it went quite calm again shortly after sunrise, the high was building in so quickly that a slack gradient arrived very soon after the gust front had departed.

    Well, every major windstorm has its own unique identity, wonder what the major windstorm of this winter will look like, and where it will rank on the scale. It would be interesting to develop a thread on NW ranking historical wind storms, starting with this one as a 9 and the Defoe storm as perhaps another 9, then leaving 10 for the ??? storm of the future. I would say the one in Jan 1990 might be about a 7 and the Jan 31 1953 storm an 8 on this scale, etc. But we should have a separate thread for this.

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    Posted
  • Location: SE,London (Catford)
  • Location: SE,London (Catford)

    I slept all through it ;)

    But waking up the next day and trying to switch my light on the next morning and cursing the electric board for having a power strike at such a stupid time, not realising whats happend outside ;)

    Couldnt get to work after seeing the devastation so got my chain saw and helped out the street with cutting up the trees. Made more money with tips that i would of made for turning up to work. ;)

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    Posted
  • Location: Taunton, Somerset
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, thunder, strong winds. HATE:stagnant weather patterns
  • Location: Taunton, Somerset

    Very interesting podcast from Michael and I look forward to the ones in the future.

    I was a baby in the great storm of 1987 so naturally I don't remember anything ;)

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    Posted
  • Location: Western Isle of Wight
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, Storm, anything loud and dramatic.
  • Location: Western Isle of Wight

    That was a good podcast Mr Fish ;)

    Please forgive me but I loved the bit about trees on the leaves, as indeed they are when the leaves become sails ;)

    Regards,

    Russ

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