Discuss the impacts of storm events in the British Isles and evaluate the responses to them. (40 marks)
In the UK, natural disasters aren’t very prevalent with flooding being the most likely natural disaster, however, during the afternoon of 15 October 1987, winds were very light over most parts of the UK. This was little to suggest in what was to come, over the Bay of Biscay, a depression was developing, and the population of the British Isles were told not to worry and by midnight, the depression was over the western English Channel. Its central pressure was 953 mb becoming the deepest low pressure system to cross England or Wales during the month of October in at least 150 years. At 1.35 a.m. on 16 October, warnings of Force 11 winds were issued, reaching a speed of 122 mph.
Wind speeds of 122 mph can cause huge impacts in any part of the world, but impacts can be limited if the right precautions are taken, and in 1987, not a single precaution was taken. Instead of issuing a warning so that people could prepare for the storm, and to plan or eradicate unnecessary journeys in the high speed winds.
The MET office was arrogant enough, to say that there would be strong winds, but rain to be the main feature of the depression. This was the main cause, in the resulting impacts that the storm would create. The storm created huge economic impacts, the storm is reported to have caused £2 billion worth of damage, households were battered by winds and as result one in six households in southeastern England submitted insurance claims after the 1987 storm, resulting in 1.3 million reported damage incidents and a total of £1.5 billion pounds in insurance payouts. In the previous major U.K. windstorm, which occurred in 1976, 1.5 million damage incidents were reported by the Building Research Establishment, but with an average claims cost of only £150. While fewer incidents were reported in 1987, the average claims cost in the 1987 storm was six to eight times as high. A...