July 31 2014 Latest news:
Monday, October 15, 2012
Here is a look back at the EDP’s coverage of the 1987 storm from 4th November 1987.
In the early hours of Friday October 16, vicious hurricane-force winds swept across southern and eastern England, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
It will go down as the annals of history as the “night of the gales” when hundreds of homes were wrecked, 13 lives lost, and the landscape suffered untold devastation.
Uprooted trees caused chaos on roads and railways, and millions of people woke up in darkness after 110mph winds roared in from the Atlantic.
Houses and hotels collapsed, ships were wrecked, and public transport was reduced to chaos.
Norfolk was touched by tragedy when West Norfolk farmer Sidney Riches died in his wrecked car at Tottenhill on a road blocked by a fallen tree.
Home secretary Douglas Hurd ruled out the declaration of a national state of emergency, but described the storms as “the most widespread night of disaster in the south-east of England since 1945.”
Five people died in Kent, one of the worst-hit counties. Elsewhere emergency workers discovered bodies beneath collapsed buildings, crushed cars and fallen trees.
The hurricane also took its toll at sea. Forty rig workers had to be airlifted, and Felixstowe port was sealed when a tanker laden with toxic substances broke from its moorings.
Kew Gardens in London was a casualty. Staff estimated it would take 200 years to restore the damage done to the world-renowned botanical landmark, where a third of the trees which had stood for more than 100 years were down.
Six of the seven ancient oaks which gave Sevenoaks in Kent its name were lost, and hundreds of butterflies, birds and insects escaped from captivity all over southern England.
The Queen, who was in Canada for the Commonwealth summit, was said to be “greatly distressed” by the widespread devastation in the kingdom.
And after the wind came the floods. A man was swept to his death in north Wales when he was caught in raging flood water during a climbing expedition.
Wales and parts of northern England were under as much as six feet of water as swollen rivers burst their banks, sweeping cars off roads and cutting off communities. Welsh firemen dealt with hundreds of emergency calls as homes and shops were flooded.
There was worse to come. On Monday October 19, three days after southern England’s night of storms, a train plunged off a collapsed bridge into the raging River Tywi, drowning the driver and three passengers.