County Times revisits the Great Storm of 1987

JPCT WSCT archive 1987. Disaster year. 1987
JPCT WSCT archive 1987. Disaster year. 1987

On the night of October 15, 1987, the worst storm to hit England in nearly 300 years caused devastation across the south, sweeping through the tranquil towns of West Sussex.

The County Times brought you the news and sold a record number of papers the following week.

The aftermath reported was heartbreaking. Three million West Sussex trees torn from their roots, power lines toppled across the South Downs, cars flipped over and homes wrecked.

Forecasters had predicted strong winds looming over the English Channel, but gave no indication to the 80mph hurricane force that would descend upon the peaceful streets.

To this day, BBC’s meteorologist Michael Fish draws criticism for his ‘don’t worry’ statement, after receiving a hurricane alert earlier that day, although it remains small comfort for him that the Great Storm was not in fact a hurricane.

Next week, County Times’ newest recruit, Simon Robb will revisit some of the district’s most affected locations, like the Chanctonbury Ring in the South Downs and the village of Henfield, to see how they look today.

We’d also like to hear about your accounts of that fateful night. Where were you? What did you witness? Did your home sustain any damage? Can you recall the aftermath?

Email simon.robb@sussexnewspapers.co.uk or call 01403 751238 and let us know your story.