Worst storm since the great one

THE hurricane-strength gusts that devastated East Anglia came with the worst gale since The Great Storm of 1987.Gusts of more than 100mph were recorded by coastguards at Blackwell Marina, on the river Blackwater opposite West Mersea.

THE hurricane-strength gusts that devastated East Anglia came with the worst gale since The Great Storm of 1987.

Gusts of more than 100mph were recorded by coastguards at Blackwell Marina, on the river Blackwater opposite West Mersea.

The strongest winds during the 1987 storm – the worst to affect the south-east of England since 1703 – tipped 104mph, measured at Shoeburyness.

Coastguards at Walton-on-the-Naze recorded 72mph.

Hurricane-strength is anything above 75mph, although for a true hurricane winds should average 75mph or above with gusts of 120-160mph.

Phil Garner, a forecaster from Weatherquest, based in Norwich, said: "This is the strongest we've had for some time. It's certainly a bad one."

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By noon, Phil could report gusts of up to 62mph at RAF Wattisham, with an average speed of 42mph.

The wind was to strengthen during the afternoon to gusts of more than 80mph at RAF Wattisham and 61mph at RAF Lakenheath.

In 1987, the maximum gust recorded at RAF Wattisham was 83mph.

EADT weatherman Ken Blowers added: "This was an intense depression that moved east across England and should have passed over the North Sea to Denmark overnight.

"It has been charted since last Thursday, coming from the south-west.

"It was a severe storm with widespread gales and some hurricane-force gusts.

"Let us hope it should be well out of our way very soon."

Mr Blowers added that the fact that many trees still had many leaves on them made them more prone to falling over and recent rain has destabilised their roots.

Some 15 million trees were felled across England in 1987 and 16 people died as a result of storm damage.

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