October is no stranger to storms

The big news at the moment is a possible storm that could well strike overnight Sunday and early Monday morning and in the south of England it does look at present that winds of 60 mph or more are likely. However October is no stranger to disruptive gales as many of you will still harbour vivid memories of mid October 1987. A relative of mine was drowned in a huge storm that produced a vast amount of damage throughout the UK on land and at sea around the 14th October 1881.

In 1859 on the 25th October it was a memorable day in the annals of meteorology as the famous `Royal Charter’ Storm led to Storm warnings and Shipping Forecasts. The vessel The Royal Charter , foundered off Anglesey with the loss of nearly 500 lives. The Old Chain Pier at Brighton was also badly damaged by this storm.

Robert Fitzroy in charge of the embryonic British Meteorological Service was crestfallen over this terrible loss of life and was determined to create a forecasting service. He installed barometers at lighthouses and coast guard stations and established a set of forecasting rules and issued gale warnings in 1860. He was aided by the new telegraphic service that enabled him to obtain current weather data in order to devise his forecasts.

When he died in 1865 fishermen said ‘who will save us now’.