No-one blamed climate change for the apocalyptic weather 34 years ago in the Great Storm of October 1987.

They were too busy blaming Michael Fish.

The BBC weatherman’s rebuttal of a viewer’s suggestion that a hurricane ‘was on the way’ has become the most famous weather broadcast in British television history.

In his evening bulletin on October 15, he assured everyone not to worry and said Spain and France would be bearing the brunt of the strong winds forming in the Atlantic.

But overnight, severe storms battered the British Isles, with the south of England particularly badly hit.

Dorset Echo:

Nigel Dowsett surveys the damage caused by the storm of ‘87

The main feature of the storm was the high winds, which reached 100 mph some areas.

Although the gusts were locally hurricane-force in strength, these were not sufficiently widespread to make it a hurricane officially. A storm of such magnitude last occurred in England in 1703 according to the Met Office.

Eighteen people died and hundreds more were injured. An estimated 15 million trees had been uprooted and hundred of thousands of homes were left without power. The clear up and repairs cost a billion pounds. It has become the country’s most infamous weather event of the 20th century.

Dorset Echo:

Storm damage October 1987

In our county, the brunt of the storms was borne by East Dorset, where two firemen, Ernest Gregory, 47, and Graham White, 46, were killed as they returned from a call-out and a falling oak tree smashed into the cab of their fire engine at Highcliffe, Christchurch.

While in Waterford Road, Christchurch, 90 pensioners were trapped at their flat complex when high winds prevented their evacuation after roofs were blown off.

In the west of the county, widespread damage was reported, with roads blocked by falling trees, hundreds of slates blown from roofs, walls demolished and yachts torn adrift and wrecked.

Dorset Echo:

The stone pier in Weymouth damaged in the storm of October 1987

Several trees were felled by the winds in the Broadmayne area, blocking roads in and around the village, while the Preston Beach road was blocked as high waves dumped shingle over the sea wall, making the road impassable.

Dorset Echo:

Storm damage in Old Castle Road, Weymouth, October 1987

A large section of the railway station wall in Ranelagh Road, Weymouth, collapsed, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to parked cars.

Shops along the Esplanade had their canopies ripped to shreds and windows blown in, and an 18ft high glass section of the derelict Gloucester Hotel’s frontage was smashed.

The fishing boat Sandy Rose sunk in Weymouth Harbour, while the 28ft yacht Thuella was torn from its mornings in Portland Harbour and badly damaged when it ran around near Wellworthys.

Dorset Echo:

Storm damage, October 1987

The storm made heroes out of the crew of a Weymouth Lifeboat who tackled 40ft waves and hurricane-force winds to rescue five people in a catamaran in mountainous seas off Portland Bill on October 16.

During the clear up operation, coastguards at Portland described the gales as “one of the fiercest storms we have ever known” and said that winds had at one point gusted up to 83mph.

A spokesman added: “We’ve had reports right the way along the coast from Weymouth to Poole of vessels which have run aground, but no injuries have been reported so far.”

Dorset Echo:

The sail marquee at the Portland Beach Road car park. It was being used to store sails for the Johnnie Walker Speed Sailing Championships

In the aftermath of the storm, on October 17, a Southern Electricity Board spokesman said that about 12,000 customers in the South Dorset area were still without power West Dorset, however, was considered to have had a narrow escape; newspaper coverage at the time comments: ‘We may have been battered but we weren’t flattened - as they were in Sussex and Kent.’

As for poor old Michael Fish, his famous line that there wouldn’t be a hurricane was actually correct.

It has since transpired he was referring to a tropical cyclone in the West Atlantic and trying to reassure someone who was flying out to Florida on holiday. He went on to warn viewers in the UK to “batten down the hatches”, saying it would be “very windy” across the south of England.

However, his name seems destined to be forever associated in the public’s mind with the worst storm in living memory.

Do you remember the Great Storm of 1987?

"Tell us your memories and add any pictures you took here"

We asked for your responses - this is what you sent.

Christine Knight

What are your memories of the storm?
I was riding my motorbike past Badbury Rings and had to fight the wind as i past each tree. It was my birthday so i wont ever forget that night.

Alan Clarke

What are your memories of the storm?
We had a police escort from wyke regis across the beach road to Portland.The West elevation of underhill jnr school had blown out, we had to shore it up. Luckily only one classroom was severley damaged. Also being the storm struck at night nobody was hurt. We replaced the damaged windows and carried out remedial work to the interior of the room. Sorry I have no pictures..

Clive Edwards

What are your memories of the storm?
The storm struck at what was known as "speed week"in Portland Harbour run by the RYA to find the fastest sailing craft at that time. I was then a member of HM Coastguard locally and was the RYS's Rescue Officer for the week operating my own boat nv "RESPONSE" out of what was then the Sailing & Windsurfing Centre at Sandsfoot (nowadays Castle Cover Sailing Club) Very fortunately the day before the storm got up the weather was weirdly calm and I'd used a lot of fuel ferrying an ITV cameraman around which meant I returned that evening to my regular mooring Weymouth inner harbour and then returned by road to where I was then living at Litton Cheney. The following morning having no idea of the extent of the storm damage in Weymouth & Portland I arrived back at my boat to rendez-vous with my crew, Billy Acres from the RYA, at Weymouth Sailing Club where we received a request from the RYA, via Phil Gollup, director of the Sailing Centre, and HM Coastguard asking if we might be willing to liaise with a local fishing boat, "Sea Raider" run bt Tarps Randall, to see if we could recover at least some of the wrecked boats that had broken their moorings and were floating around Weymouth Bay and more especially around Portland harbour.. There were still some bigish seas but we managed to get through the North Entrance to Portland Harbour safely, picked up Phil Gollup at Sandsfoot and started recovering wrecked boats including one by the name of Jacobs Ladder which was in several pieces held mostly together by bits wire as you can see in the photo! It was a long and very sad day finding so many wreck boats

Add a picture

Dorset Echo: mv "RESPONSE" recovers the remails of "Jacobs Ladder"mv "RESPONSE" recovers the remails of "Jacobs Ladder"
mv \"RESPONSE\" recovers the remails of \"Jacobs Ladder\"

Community contributor

What are your memories of the storm?
I remember being heavily pregnant with my son. Lived on top of Portland ( Haylands). The ,then rickety bridge was closed and the only way to get to the mainland was by local boat.