Don’t we all! Twenty-seven years ago, he told weather viewers to ‘ignore rumours of a hurricane’…. Oh how wrong he was!
Hurricane winds battered southern England in 1987. Waking up on the morning of 16 October, Southern Britain had to begin a massive clear-up operation after the worst night of storms in living memory. Initial reports suggested at least thirteen people were known to have died and many dozens injured, mostly by falling trees and buildings.
Rescue workers faced an unprecedented number of call-outs as winds hit 94 mph (151 km/h) in London and over 110 mph (177 km/h) in the Channel Islands. The BBC reported ‘Some houses and apartments had their roofs blown off. On the Isle of Wight the famous Shanklin Pier, nearly a century old, was reduced to driftwood and in Jaywick, Essex, a caravan park was flattened.’
Among the hundreds of people injured by falling trees and masonry was Gorden Kaye, star of the BBC’s ‘Allo ‘Allo sitcom. He was critically ill in hospital after a plank for an advertising board was blown through his car windscreen in West London.
The storm cost a total of eighteen lives and an estimated £1 billion in repairs and clear-up costs. Hundreds of people were injured. Around fifteen million trees were lost and hundreds of thousands of homes were without power for more than 24 hours.