In the early hours of October 16 36 years ago, people awoke to the sound of howling winds, lashing rain, rattling windows, smashing glass, falling roof slates and uprooted trees, the likes of which they had never heard before. It was a hurricane storm that caught the entire country unaware and, from 2am to 4am, the area was battered.
The next edition of the Chichester Observer was published on Thursday, October 22 and contained many pictures and stories of the damage the storm inflicted.
Our newspaper reported that more than £20 million could have been the ‘staggering’ cost of the trail of devastation left in West Sussex.
Chichester Cathedral itself sustained £45,000 worth of damage, including smashed windows, a broken spire and a hole in the roof, pieces of which were discovered later in East Street.
The MP at the time, Anthony Nelson, called on the government to enlist the armed forces to help clean up, while residents were also warned to stay away from ‘cowboy repair gangs’ who were trying to ‘cash in on the chaos’.
While the coast has been battered by storms since, the hurricane in 1987 remains one of the most memorable for many.