Climate, environment and people case study A low pressure weather system Depression over Southern England, 15-16th

October 1987 When to use this case study: • • • • What happened? • Warm air from Africa met cold air from the Atlantic Ocean, causing an intense depression The depression developed over the Bay of Biscay on 15th October and moved northwards Weather forecasters thought it wouldn’t reach England, but by midnight it had changed course and moved towards the south coast – most people went to bed without knowing that there would be very severe winds overnight Winds were over 100 km/hour and on the coast in Hampshire, Sussex and Kent winds reached gale force 11 The central pressure was 953 mb There were rapid changes in temperature as the warm front passed over eg. in Farnborough 8.5°C to 17.6°C in 20 minutes! (see map) By 9am the storm had passed over land and reached the North Sea A weather event A severe weather event A weather event caused by a low pressure system A weather event and its effect on different groups of people and the environment

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What were the effects of the storm?

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19 people died in England 15 million trees were knocked down, including 6 of the famous oaks trees in Sevenoaks Trees blocked roads and railways Power lines were taken down and 5 million homes were without electricity Caravan parks were wrecked Falling masonry and trees damaged and destroyed cars and houses Fire brigade had 6000 calls in 24 hours Buildings collapsed A cross-channel ferry, the MV Hengist, was blown aground at Folkestone A ship capsized at Dover Roads and railway lines were blocked with fallen trees Cost £15 billion in insurance claims, so premiums went up for everyone next year Fallen trees provided new habitats for some animals Some plants benefited as there was more light on the forest floor allowing them to grow The photo shows council workers clearing the A28 at Wye

Michael Fish's famous line that there wouldn't be a hurricane was actually correct. He was referring to a tropical cyclone in the West Atlantic.

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