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Gales of 11th and 12th January 1978


A Face like Thunder

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Posted
  • Location: Cheshire
  • Location: Cheshire

43 years ago today, there was a severe northerly gale which caused much damage in London & the South and a storm surge from Yorkshire to Kent. 26 lives were lost. I remember a scary journey home from Gatwick to Croydon on the M23 in the late afternoon of the 11th followed by the noise of fences splitting and parting company with their bases around my flat in Central Croydon. I recall the problems in Croydon were exacerbated by the funnel effect of the tall buildings in the town centre, and it was as well that the main wind there came during the evening rather than the working day or rush hour.  Top wind speed was 89 mph at the Post Office Tower in Central London. An unusual feature of this severe gale was that it was a Northerly, and although I don't recall it was particularly cold in the South, snow was a major problem in Northern Ireland, Eastern Scotland and North East England, in what must have  been a thoroughly unpleasant experience for many in the affected areas. (Souce: Philip Eden, Great British Weather Disasters).

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Posted
  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms & Snow
  • Location: Herne Bay, Kent (14 m)

This event is certainly notable here locally for the destruction of Herne Bay Pier and the loss of a main tourist attraction for the town. Residents could hear the pier cracking itself to bits during the night with the wind along with the tremendous storm surge being too much for the middle portion to handle, so both ends split off and the eventual middle section was demolished a year or two after.  

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Beach huts were tossed, remember hearing one report that one had gone 300 yards from the seafront. Businesses destroyed along the seafront and immense damage totalling well into the tens of thousands. Not one that will forgotten anytime soon here.

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Destruction pics:

Tony Withers (Flickr)

Aerial photo:

Unknown

Edited by Jamie M
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