The "Great Storm" blew through the English Channel in 1987, causing millions in damage. Entire suburbs, like Sidcup in southeast London, above, were devastated by the storm.

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  • On October 15, 1987, the largest storm in more than 250 years swept up through the English Channel and North Sea, causing the deaths of 22 people and extensive damage in England, France, Spain, Belgium, and Norway. The storm winds blew at more than 113 kilometers per hour (70 miles per hour) for four-hour stretches, with the strongest gusts being more than 193 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour). Fifteen million trees in England were knocked down by the storm, and parts of the country were left without electrical power for two weeks. In France, the coast was lashed by 16-meter (52-foot) waves and a quarter of the forests in Brittany were destroyed.

    The Great Storm of 1987 was declared a rare event, expected to happen only once every several hundred years. However, less than three years later, a storm of even greater intensity (the so-called “Burns Day Storm”) again caused massive destruction in the same region.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    destroy Verb

    to ruin or make useless.

    English Channel Noun

    strip of the Atlantic Ocean between southeast England and northwest France.

    extensive Adjective

    very large.

    forest Verb

    to cover with trees and other vegetation.

    gust Noun

    sudden, strong wind.

    massive Adjective

    very large or heavy.

    storm Noun

    severe weather indicating a disturbed state of the atmosphere resulting from uplifted air.

    wind Noun

    movement of air (from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone) caused by the uneven heating of the Earth by the sun.