Britain has “learned no lesson” since the Great Storm of 1987, weather experts warn

Great Storm of 1987

Winds reached 134 mph and caused billions of dollars in damage in 1987 (Image: Getty / Mirroxpix)

Britons “have learned no lesson” on climate change and could face worse weather than the Great Storm of 1987, experts have claimed.

Although it has been more than three decades since the powerful October 1987 storm ravaged across Britain, people still haven’t changed and need to sit up and listen to climate change, experts have claimed.

The storm killed 18 people as 100-mph gusts swept across the country.

There were significant transportation delays due to fallen debris on roads and train tracks, while some power and telephone lines were downed and thousands were left without power for more than 24 hours.

During the storm there were average wind speeds of 80 km/h in the south east of England.

Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, experienced the maximum gust of 185 km/h.

The government’s former chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, told Metro.co.uk: “We have seen extreme weather events on a scale never seen before. Extreme heat and cold we’ve never had before, but that’s because we haven’t learned our lesson.

Former government scientific adviser Sir David King has warned Brits have yet to learn their lesson on climate change, 35 years after the Great Storm (Image: Gov.co.uk)

Former government scientific adviser Sir David King has warned Brits have yet to learn their lesson on climate change, 35 years after the Great Storm (Image: Gov.co.uk)

Sealink ferry on mainland through hurricane. Aftermath of Hurricane Storm, UK - Oct 1987. Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (139262j)

A Sealink ferry ran aground during the Great Storm of 1987 (Image: Rex)

A car crushed by a fallen tree after the Great Storm of 1987 on 17th October 1987 in England. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

Many cars were destroyed by falling trees during the storm which cost £2bn (over £5bn in today’s money) (Image: Getty)

Aerial views of areas damaged by the Great Storm of 1987. Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent.

The top image shows the aftermath of the 1987 storm, while the bottom shows how the forest has recovered (Image: MHMVR)

The Great Storm October 1987, Storm damage Southcote, Reading, Berkshire, England 16th October 1987. The Great Storm 1987 occurred on the night of 15th/16th October 1987. An unusually strong weather system caused winds to sweep much of southern England and northern England met France. It was the worst storm to hit England since the Great Storm of 1703. Damage was estimated at £7.3 billion British Pounds (pounds). France 23 billion (francs). (Photo by Reading Post/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

This car in Reading, Berkshire was badly damaged when a wall collapsed in the wind (Image: Mirrorpix)

Great Storm of 1987, Image shows flooding around Crane after the Great Storm of 1987, Wales, 18 October 1987. (Photo by Western Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

Along with strong winds, the Great Storm brought flooding to some parts of Wales (Image: Mirrorpix)

MORE : What damage did the Great Storm of 1987 do?

MORE: Great Storm of 1987: How Eunice compares to one of Britain’s worst ever

“We are not doing nearly enough to ensure that these extreme weather conditions do not happen to us again in the future.”

Sir David was Permanent Special Envoy on Climate Change from September 2013 to March 2017.

Previously, he was the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor from 2000 to 2007, during which time he raised awareness of the need for governments to act on climate change and was instrumental in founding the Energy Technologies Institute.

He said: “I think people haven’t quite learned their lesson yet, but they’re learning it pretty quickly now. But we’re still not doing enough.

“Information is being disseminated on a much larger scale today and the shocking events we are seeing now are all learning curves.

“I think the temperatures we’ve seen this summer; People need to start sitting down and moving even more.

“Generations would not have seen weather like they saw it in the UK last year and it’s the younger generation that’s really struggling to take the baton and make changes.”

In October 1987 many buildings were damaged by falling trees while many small boats were blown away along the coast, a ship was blown over at Dover and the Channel Ferry was blown up ashore near Folkestone.

The storm hit at night, and it’s believed the death toll would have been higher, at 18, had the storm hit during the day.

The 18 people who lost their lives were in multiple locations across the country, some killed by falling chimneys and trees while others were at sea.

The storm was reasonably predicted, but as the storm approached the UK, forecasters were less certain of what it would look like and if it would even hit the country.

The country was warned of severe storms on the morning of October 15, 1987.

On the night of October 15, the storm became more aggressive on the way, with a force 10 storm, at 1:35 a.m. on October 16 warnings for wind force 11 were issued.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Peter Brooker/REX (139260c) Tree fallen in Soho Square after the hurricane, UK - Oct 1987

One of many fallen trees – this one in Soho Square damaging a bar (Image: Rex)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX (139262h) CAR OVERHEADED BY FALLING TREE UPRISED BY FALLING TREE IN RESIDENTIAL STREET Aftermath of Hurricane Storm, UK - Oct 1987

Some people were without power for more than two weeks after the storm (Image: Rex)

Cars crushed by falling trees in England after the Great Storm of 1987 on 17th October 1987. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

The storm killed 22 people in England and France (Image: Getty)

Britain has

dr Hannah Cloke has also spoken about what has changed over the last 30 years (Picture: Reading University)

At the time, the Met Office issued an alert to the Department of Defense warning that the aftermath of the storm could be such that civilian authorities may need help from the military.

People have consistently blamed the Met Office for their lack of foresight regarding the severe storm, but weather forecasts are now being scrutinized more closely to ensure the population is adequately prepared when a severe storm is on the way.

Last year, the UK was shaken by Storm Eunice and one expert has said preparations on the ground show how far weather forecasting has come since 1987.

The weather expert Dr. Reading University’s Hannah Cloke has warned Brits will not see the shocking weather again but we will now be better prepared.

She told Metro.co.uk: “In 1987, BBC weather forecaster Michael Fish was famously surprised by the severity of the Great Storm.

“What has really changed since the late 1980s is the quality of our forecasts and warnings.

“The steady improvement in weather and climate forecasts has been driven by unimaginably more powerful supercomputers, a much better scientific understanding of Earth’s natural processes, and better communication of risks and early warnings.”

She added: “The improvement in forecasting is partly due to the vastly improved resolution of supercomputer models.

“We can now simulate the Earth in four dimensions (including time) in great detail. We also have a better understanding of the science and how sea and air conditions combine to create our weather.

“Communications have also improved significantly in the UK over the past 30 years, thanks in large part to the establishment of the National Severe Weather Warning Service – the system that issues amber, yellow and red warnings.”

“There’s a lot more we can do to improve warning systems, but let’s realize how far we’ve come.

“Right now, the best advice is to heed the warnings, take no chances and protect yourself and your family.”

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/15/uk-hasnt-learnt-lesson-since-great-storm-of-1987-weather-experts-warn-17568466/ Britain has "learned no lesson" since the Great Storm of 1987, weather experts warn

Justin Scacco

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