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Twenty-five years since the Great Storm of 1987

This truck in Maidstone was tipped over by a tree as it was uprooted during the hurricane Photo: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Tonight marks 25 years since the Great Storm. It was the strongest storm to hit the UK in nearly 300 years.

Although not technically a hurricane - a hurricane needs the tropical waters of the Atlantic or Pacific in which to form - winds of hurricane force were experienced in some places.

A car stands crushed from a falling tree after the hurricane Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

On the night of 15th October 1987, much of England and Wales became very wet and windy following a calm evening.

A deepening area of low pressure swept up from the Bay of Biscay and made landfall in Cornwall before tracking up to the Midlands and across to The Wash.

This storm became unusually strong as it approached our shores and resulted in huge amounts of damage and disruption.

Lying to the southern edge of the storm, southern and south-eastern England were worst affected. Here the winds topped speeds of 80mph quite widely. Even in London, winds gusted in excess of 90mph into the early hours. The strongest gusts (122mph) were recorded in Gorleston, Norfolk.

A woman tries to make a call from a blown-over telephone booth Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Eighteen people died and many were injured. Fifteen million trees were flattened and there was widespread structural damage. Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power which was not fully restored until two weeks later. Out at sea, a ship capsized at Dover and a ferry was driven onshore at Folkestone.

Statistically, such a powerful storm only occurs once in every 200 years, but just three years later the Burns Day Storm in 1990 was strong enough to produce gusts of hurricane strength again. It resulted in more casualties than in 1987 because the storm struck during daylight hours.