Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

20 years ago today . . . it was a bit windy

October 16th 1987
I had slept through the sound of the biggest storm to hit Southern England for 300 years, even though my flat was on the top floor. But I knew something was up when I turned on 'Today' on Radio 4 and they seemed to be broadcasting from a torchlit studio in a bunker in an apocalyptic wasteland! I was working for a publishing company in Harlow, Essex and I decided to take the main road to work rather than my usual countryside route, in case of fallen trees. Huge branches dangled precariously over the cars and terrified horses galloped around the commuter traffic jam. At the office the power was off but in true "spirit of the blitz" fashion the canteen staff had somehow made bacon sandwiches for the plucky few who made it to their desks!

It was far worse south of London, an estimated 15 million trees had been uprooted by winds gusting to over 100 miles/hour and the parks, gardens and countryside had been changed forever.

Do you have a Great Storm memory?


  1. I don't think we ever forget exactly what we were doing when these monumental storms happen. In January 1998, there was a huge ice storm in Ottawa, where I was living at the time. We were lucky because our power stayed on. I remember walking my son to school and being worried as various electrical boxes on the power poles would spark and then explode. We turned around quickly. Our telephone was out for ages which seemed pretty minor compared to many people in Quebec who lived for interminable weeks without power.

    Many trees were severely damaged. It took months for all the tree damage to be hauled off. Arbourists from neighbouring provinces and US states came to work on this.

    At the same time, the landscape was beautiful and haunting... trees covered in thick layers of ice. There was silence all about since no one could get to work or school.

  2. I slept through it and woke up to see trees missing.
    It was surreal.

  3. Hi Kate - I remember seeing pictures of the Ice Storm in Ottawa, it must have been a strange and eerie sight.

    Hi Charlotte - it's funny, but I don't know anyone who was woken by the storm. Even Cliff - he was in a tent on Dartmoor that night!

    It's amazing how the woodlands have regenerated.


  4. Yes, but most are snow storms here (New England, USA)!

  5. Hi, thanks so much for leaving a comment on my blog. Did you see my posting of my memories of the great storm, I was really interested to read yours. I am going to read through some of your previous postings. Louise

  6. Hi Meg - we rarely get big snowstorms in England now. But a tiny sprinkle of snow usually brings the transport system to a halt!

    Hi Louise - welcome to my blog.
    I've just read your storm memory - that was a really dramatic morning! I was an art student in Brighton and remember autumn storms coming in from the sea were awesome. The top floor windows of our sea-front hall of residence blew in during one gusty night! And the 1987 storm was tens of times stronger than that night.



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