As October weather sweeps across the Atlantic, the deadliest storms with winds of hurricane force typically pass to the far north, hammering the Western Isles and the Shetlands and leaving the majority of the UK mainland soggy, but out of danger. However, extreme wind storms do affect the whole country every few years and remind us that there is little that can stand up to a 100mph gust.
Every year new extreme weather footage adds to the hours of Youtube videos featuring weather phenomena such as Waves crashing on lighthouses, Dramatic ocean waves videos and Biggest wave ever surfed. But Youtube also hosts full-length documentaries on freak storms and weather disasters, including the three deadliest storms in recent UK history.
1. Britain’s Biggest Storm – 1987: ITV Productions
Of course, when you raise the topic of weather and TV broadcasting – in the UK anyway – the first clip that comes to mind is poor old Michael Fish on the eve of the biggest, deadliest storm in the UK for three centuries that took 19 lives and caused billions of pounds worth of damage telling viewers: “A woman rang the BBC and said she’d heard there was a hurricane on the way. Don’t worry. There isn’t.”
Of course, technically he was correct, however hurricane-force winds pummelled the UK for most of the night and the poor forecasting on national TV and radio left most people totally unprepared for the ferocity of the storm.
2. The Greatest Storm 1953: Timewatch for BBC
In January of 1953, unusual weather conditions caused Britain’s worst national peacetime disaster of the 20th century. A storm surge flooded the eastern coast of England, killing more than 300 people and leaving thousands homeless. The disaster also affected the Netherlands and led to an enormous program of flood defences to protect the coast. Fifty years later, ‘Timewatch’ re-examines a calamity which is largely forgotten today.
3. The Fastnet Yacht Race Tragedy of 1979
The story of the Force 10 gale – sailing’s deadliest storm – which decimated the 1979 Fastnet race, the last of the Admiral’s Cup events in that year. A massive search and rescue operation was begun as half of the 300 yachts competing went missing in a 20,000 square-mile area of the Irish Sea. The death toll was 15, and the ramifications are still felt today with the increased safety requirements introduced in the aftermath