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Weather-history

The Great Storm Of 25th January 1990

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Often called the Burn's Day Storm (its actually Burn's Night), this was one of the worst gales to hit the UK in the last 50 years. The area that was affected by this storm was much greater than the October 1987 gale with many parts of England and Wales badly affected and unlike the October 1987 storm it was reasonably forecasted by the Met Office.

The weather for January 1990 had been very mild and changeable but the weather was to take a turn for the worst during the last week of January 1990 and was to herald a very stormy spell of weather with spells of severe gales, flooding and loss of life.

On the 24th of January, a rapidly deepening depression was approaching the UK and warnings was issued for the threat of severe gales. These gales duly arrived in the southwest during dawn and spread to the rest of England and Wales during the day, the severe gales reached the southeast during the afternoon. Wind gusts were reaching over 100mph in exposed parts and gusts of 80mph were recorded at inland weather stations, 108mph was recorded at Aberporth in Wales. The track of the low took it through southern Scotland, where its central pressure reached a low of 959mb. Scotland and Northern Ireland missed out on the worst of the gales.

Conditions were very severe in the south and this was compounded by the fact the gales occurred during daylight hours, when many people are out and about and as a result there were scores of injuries due to flying and broken glass, roof tiles, fallen branches and other debris. Sadly, 47 people lost their lives making it the worst weather related disaster in the UK since the Great Storm surge of January 1953. One lucky survivor was the actor Gorden Kaye from the TV Series 'Allo 'Allo who survived an advertising board crashing onto his car, which resulted in him having serious head injuries and putting him into a coma.

The damage done by the gales was enormous. Millions of trees were either damaged or uprooted blocking roads, scores of buildings suffered structural damage and the insurance costs were massive.

The Great Storm of January 25th 1990 is probably in the top 10 list of the severest gales ever to hit the UK.

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If I recall correctly, Winters in the early part of the nineties were very stormy affairs. I do remember that Christmases in particular were stormy.....people always seemed to be losing their electricity and were unable to cook their Christmas dinners.

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One of my memories of this storm was sitting in the classroom and watching sparks coming off the lampost outside as the wind was blowing the wires down, we had an early finish too, as the winds were expected to get worse later in the afternoon. One thing the storm did in my town was destroy the old park, as trees fell on the swings and roundabout, the roundabout was never replaced ;)

Looking back at this http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/s...000/3420797.stm some people weren't as lucky.

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Certainly an intense storm. 47 people died, many of which were children and houses sustained considerable damage and even blown apart.

Here's an image of John Kettley I managed to scan forecasting it for the Monday (successfully!)

burnsdaystorm19905ez.jpg

Edited by Optimus Prime

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and those bbc graphics really showed the weather patterns so much better than todays ones :) remember the storm well as we lost trees here that had survived the 87 storm.

as said already it was a sad day too. ;)

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I remember I was a 1st year at secondary school, and we were all called into the school hall to be told that due to a severe weather warning, the school was closing early and that we were to make our way home ASAP - no hanging around on the streets etc. I remember making my way out of the school gates, and the canteen roof blowing off! We were sent home early afternoon, so it would have been around 2pm.

My sister was still at primary school, and my mum received a phone call around the same time saying to come and pick her up as the school was also closing early. My mum picked my sister up, then made her way to my school to make sure I was safe - we met half way - and I distinctly remember an old lady being blown over at Blackfen Parade. The wind was so strong at some points during the walk home that me, my sister and mum had to hold on to walls to avoid being blown off our feet!

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Gorden Kaye before his accident

1446.jpg

Gorden Kaye after his accident, note the scar on his forehead

00023E5E-6D41-1F91-989280C328EC0000.jpg

Edited by Mr_Data

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Synoptic charts for that day

http://www.knmi.nl/samenw/hydra/extremes/d...i1990012512.gif

http://www.knmi.nl/samenw/hydra/extremes/d...d1990012512.gif

Satellite pic

http://www.fluid.tue.nl/WDY/vort/intro/img/z92-4-1.gif

Strongest gusts recorded

Manchester Airport: 71mph

Birmingham Airport: 67mph

Gatwick: 83mph

Heathrow: 88mph

Crosby: 69mph

Cardiff Airport: 97mph

Bedford Airport: 79mph

Chivenor: 88mph

St Mawgan: 96mph

St Abb's Head: 97mph

St Catherine's Point: 104mph

Stanstead Airport: 83mph

Southampton Weather Centre: 87mph

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I was working in central Southampton at the time and we were forced to stay in the office as the corrugated iron sheeting on a building site across the road was coming loose from the scaffolding and penetrating the roofs of cars parked below. A number of the larger trees on The Avenue and in the city centre parks came down, closing several roads in the city centre for some time.

That eveing I remember it being very still and some friends and I went out into the countryside near Bishops Waltham and Cheesefoot Head to see how bad it had been. A journey to a pub that usually took 30 minutes took 2 hours due to finding diversions around roads blocked by fallen trees. It was all in vain as when we got to the pub, there was no power and it was shut!

Dave

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I moved to the Isle of Wight on the 24th :doh:

I have never had a rougher crossing(i have lived here ever since), people screamed and children were crying. When we got to Ryde the return ferry was cancelled there and then(about 1900z i think)

The next Day (25th) was an experience that will be with me always, i have never seen the sea so rough, i was just 2 miles from St Catherine's point(104mph max gust) the whole of the English channel was a writhing frothy mass, scary. There were trees everywhere including large oaks in the sea! There are still some on the shore from that day.

The bit that surreal for me was a few days later i was walking along the beech and i found the contents of holiday caravans littered around, somebody was burning heaps of it here and there, it looked like Armageddon, sunken boats, pieces of boats and lots of lobster pots all in a long line, with two beachcombers arguing over who had there hands on them first, a bit like mad Max 2 :doh:

Russ.

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Stumbled across this on youtube

Weather reports and news bulletins on the 25th January 1990 storm

Edited by Mr_Data

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I too remember this day very well. I've mentioned this on the forum somewhere before. I was at work watching the roof of the building over the road literally lift off and take off! Next there was a crash bang wallop from behind my collegue and I. We leap frogged our desks (must have been quite a sight as we both had short skirts on) and pegged it to the other end of the room. After plucking up the courage to take a look in the store cupboard behind our desks, we found that there was no longer a roof or back wall to it! 1/2 hour later we were all sent home as the building was too unstable for us to stay. I remember being somewhat nervous getting into my car to go home. My boss was telling me to get in and drive very quickly away from my parking space as the Company Sign and the wall it was attached to, some 14 ft up, was swaying back and forth. A couple of boats being moored at Holes Bay in Poole actually found themselves in the middle of the Holes Bay dual carriageway that day too.

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Philip Eden cynically suggested in one of his books that the event is probably ignored by the media because it was accurately predicted.

I partly agree with him, and I also, equally cynically, think it has something to do with the South East not being as heavily hit as in October 1987, despite most other regions being much worse hit.

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Remember that I was working in it.

What are those strange Snow symbols on the forecast I doubt you would see those these days.

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Can you believe its 20 years ago!

20 years ago today, we had an unexpected snowfall during the early hours of January 24th, when a comma cloud crossed the country. It was the only day in the winter months of 1989-90 that I saw lying snow at 9am.

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Yep, remember that one well Mr.Data, especially as 1987 was still relatively fresh in peoples' minds!

post-1989-12643409089528_thumb.jpg

This is what happened on the Kent side.

Got a bit breezy in February too!

post-1989-12643413864428_thumb.jpg

Edited by Blitzen

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i think 1989-90 was probably the mildest and driest winter i can remember...this storm the only thing of note that happened in my location that winter and thats because it happened during the day.

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This storm is most probably my earliest memory. I was 3 at the time, my younger sister was only just over 2 months old and my older sister had just started school. At the time my dad was working for a bank and he had gone into work that day but was finishing early because of the storm. We only had 1 car at the time so my mum had the car that day (I think she must have taken us with her to drop him off but that part I can't remember). We went to pick him up from work before going to collect my older sister from school, my younger sister was in the front passenger seat and I was sat behind the drivers seat. My mum always let my dad drive when he was in the car but usually she would move my sister into the back of the car but because of the weather she decided not to and she sat in the back with me which ended up being the best thing she could have done as whilst we were travelling along the main road to my older sister's school a tree fell and landed diagonally across the car above mine and my younger sisters heads missing us by no more that 2 inches, if my mum had been sat in the front she would have been killed but instead we all escaped with no injuries and just to make things even better the top of the tree landed in the carpark of the local doctors surgery and so within seconds we were surrounded by nurses and doctors who were able to verify that we were all completely uninjured which really put my parents mind at rest because they thought that my younger sister might have got shards of glass in her eyes. I can't remember anything else from that day though

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John Kettley weather forecast at the 9 minute mark. 

Edited by danm

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I was working in a new building in the city we'd only moved into the previous year.  Suddenly there was a big crash and a scream.  One of the windows on our 4th floor had blown in on the partners office and the scream was from the only secretary in there at the time who was thankfully unharmed.  The noise of the wind compared to before the glass blew in was immense! 

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We were North of the low pressure centre so for me the Burns day storm brought heavy drifting snow on a strong Easterly later veering to a Northerly as the low moved into the North Sea. Roads were blocked and there were power cuts in areas where the snow was wet and heavy.  Local schools were closed and and not because of just a centimetre or two in the playground. 

Edited by Norrance

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I had a fairly long ( 16 miles each way ) cycle ride to work in those days and, as I was well aware of what was coming, I managed to persuade the foreman to let me leave early as I really didn't want to be cycling across open moors in winds of that strength.

It was a very wet and a windy ride home and I remember thinking that so long as it was raining I still had time on my side as the really strong winds wouldn't be until after the cold front had passed. I made it with about 10 minutes to spare. The rain was just dying out as I reached home and by the time I'd got out of my wet cycling gear and got into waterproofs ( there were a few sleet and snow showers after the main rain area )  to go onto the moor to measure the wind speed the wind was blowing a f9-10 gale.

It was almost impossible to stand upright with a hand held anemometer and nothing to hold onto but at  340 mts the mean speed over 15 minutes was 66 mph with a maximum gust of 97 mph, still the highest mean and gust speed I've recorded to date. There may have been even higher gusts when I wasn't up there but I couldn't take any more physical punishment from the wind and retired to slightly less exposed ground feeling as though I'd done a sparring session with someone big and nasty whilst listening to a jet engine.

 

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This time next year will be 30 years.

I remember it, winds started gusting to gale force with whistling in the telegraph wires that morning, as i went to work

peak winds for me were around lunch time. I looked outside, the front boarding on a garage across the road came down

went home for lunch, i was turned back, roads closed due to debris coming off roofs. There were huge gusts of winds (the kind that nearly knock you off your feet) and the winds moderated during the afternoon

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