- Published: 16 October 2017 16 October 2017
Sleep disturbed by huge gales with hurricane force 100mph winds and torrential rain killing 13 nationwide in the worst storm for 300 years. This made worse for me by my cold as I intended to stay in and not join Di going to Bedford but I had to take Daniel and Debbie to school as the bus was not running. Calls from my parents and Freda and they were fine, despite local damage. The City of London was paralysed due to power cuts at the same time as by coincidence the US Dow had a record one-day fall, an Isle of Wight pier was destroyed and 500 specimen trees were damaged or destroyed at Kew Botanical Gardens
A very poor night again. First, I stayed up too late listening to the new HiFi and writing my journal, then my cold and ticklish throat stopped me from going to sleep and, finally, 100mph storm force winds and torrential rain woke me up at 3.00am and again at 4.00am. I feared for the boats and the stability of our pole dovecote, but both were secured adequately. This morning the rain and wind continued, my cold was worse, and so I decided to let Di go shopping in Bedford alone, whilst I stayed at home and looked after Daniella. Di dropped Dan & Debbie off at the bus stop for their school bus and set off, but the children were soon back, as the bus was not running. I phoned the school and then took them in by car myself and the roads seemed OK to me. Elsewhere, radio reports were of trees and telephone poles down, the whole of SE England without electricity and many deaths from the freak weather. It seems that the winds were 96mph in the London area, sheltered by buildings, which is the most since records began in the 1940s.
No problems with power here. Once back, was disappointed to find that my two young Elms were done for – just as they had recovered from the Dutch Elm disease. It seems the torrential rain we have had last week has so softened the ground that gale and storm force winds send them toppling over. Simultaneous phone calls from my Mum and Freda, to tell me they were all right (!), sent us scurrying from one end of the house to the other. The fools had both decided when talking together, to try phoning me so that one could get through! They had overlooked the fact that I had two lines. In the mayhem, I lost a call from somebody I really needed to speak to. Still, I found out about their general health and welfare, which is a worry. In the storm, my parents new mobile home roof held out, but a neighbour had his damaged by a falling oak tree and a new mobile home nearby was completely crushed by a falling tree. Had little time for anything this morning and it was soon time for me to make lunch for Della. She ate a peanut butter sandwich, as I had a smoked mackerel salad. This afternoon, I had to go out to adjust The Lady’s flood moorings. The poles had become loose in the sodden ground and new ones were needed. Later, three foolish boys came floating by in the flood water on a dinghy, with only two sticks and a plank for propulsion and no oars. They would not heed my warning to come in and so I tracked them to a bank lower down and insisted on it. The water was rising fast again after all of the overnight rain and by dusk was nearly as high as a couple of days ago. My visitor from Alecto Publications came by this afternoon and I agreed to buy the facsimile edition of the Doomsday Book for £5700, which is a lot of money, but worth it for the usage opportunities. It was a problem for Di to take Debbie’s tea guest, Sarah Buckingham, home tonight, but she made it in our Range Rover, which is invaluable in these conditions. The news today was dominated by the storm damage. The death toll is some 13 dead and the verdict is that the south of Britain experienced the worst storms for 300 years. A crisis meeting of ministers this afternoon, Home Secretary Douglas Hurd decided that things were in hand. Emergency services are annoyed that they had little or no warning from a weather forecasting service that expected the storms to go over the continent, rather than track north over southern England. Large areas had power failures and in the City of London, the computers were down and the market in Government Stocks was suspended. No FT30 or FT100 indexes could be calculated. A Dover Harbour ferry run aground and the Tamils aboard a prison detention ship was marooned. A site of caravans was tossed into the air and destroyed. On the Isle of Wight, the pier was destroyed in gusts of up to 110 mph and hundreds of boats destroyed on the south coast. Local councils are appealing for central government funding to relieve the huge cost of removing thousands of trees. The cyclone was caused by impacting masses of warm and cold air over the Atlantic, generating exceptional energy. These extreme weather variations seem to be becoming more common in the last few decades. Elsewhere, the most dangerous incident yet in the Gulf, as a US flagged Kuwaiti tanker was hit by a silkworm missile, fired by the Iranians. We now wait for the US response. The US Dow Jones index is heading for another record 1 day fall and has now dropped 300 points in 3 days in response to the Gulf news and the trade account imbalance. In the Jaffna region of Sri Lanka, the Tamils are refusing to surrender to the Indian troops and many civilians are short of supplies and caught in the crossfire. Di’s shopping today for her own birthday, included a miniature TV/radio/cassette player for the kitchen and a coffee maker/stand. The worst effects of today’s storm were at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, where over 500 trees were damaged or destroyed, including many specimens of international importance.