In the early hours of October 16 that year, people awoke to the sound of howling winds, lashing rain, rattling windows, smashing glass, falling roof slates and uprooted trees, the likes of which they had never heard before. It was a hurricane storm that caught the entire country unaware and from 2am to 4am, the area was battered.
Murray PR had been taken on as the Met Office’s first external PR consultant just a week before the surprise storm brought unprecedented chaos to the south of England. Mr Murray said the truth was nobody could have forecast the storm and its potential devastation with the technology available at the time. He described weatherman Michael Fish – the meteorologist who famously told the country there would be no storm – as a nice man who got caught up in the middle of something completely unforeseeable.
The Met Office came in for a lot of criticism, though a report published in the spring of 1988 showed there was no way anybody could have known what was about to happen.