ON THIS DAY: Three killed and hundreds injured as hurricane batters Sheffield

It was one of the worst storms to ever hit Sheffield, and by the end of it three people were dead, more than 250 injured, and around 70,000 homes were damaged.

Tuesday, 16th February 2016, 7:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2016, 7:05 am
Residents of Skye Edge Avenue get a roof over their heads as workmen lay tarpaulin to protect their hurricane ravaged homes

It was Friday February 16 1962 and winds of 96 mph battered the city, leaving a trail of destruction not seen since the Sheffield Blitz of more than 20 years before.

In total 250 Sheffielders were made homeless by the disaster.

Hurricane damage on Northern Avenue, Arbourthorne

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Civil defence teams and Royal Engineers were drafted in, and private builders adopted a wartime emergency footing under the guidance of the council in a race against time to make almost 6,000 homes watertight. Insurance staff worked overtime.

Particularly badly hit were the Attercliffe, Crookes and Heeley areas but all parts of the city took a hit.

The youngest fatality was 17-year-old John William Johnson, of Colwall Street, Attercliffe, who died in his bed. Rescuers including his dad, a neighbour and two police officers could not get to him because part of the upstairs floor had collapsed.

Vicar’s wife Shirley Hill, aged 30, died after being trapped in her Brightside home by a falling chimney and Ida Stabbs, aged 57, was killed in bed in Crookes. A fourth person, Edward Wadsworth, of Shafton, Barnsley, who was hit by falling masonry, died later in the Royal Infirmary.

The Star's front page of Friday February 16 1962

A floodlight pylon at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane ground was reduced to a heap of twisted metal, and a 100ft crane on the site of an extension to Sheffield's College of Technology collapsed.

Disaster was narrowly averted when a packed London to Sheffield train performed an emergency stop to avoid colliding with debris which had been blown onto the track at Heeley.

In addition to damage to buildings, many Sheffield roads were blocked due to fallen trees.

The total cost of the damage to Sheffield was calculated to be around £2 million - the equivalent to £40 million in today's money.

Hurricane damage on Northern Avenue, Arbourthorne

Why was Sheffield the worst hit? Only a few miles away, the winds were less than 20mph.

It is thought the hurricane was caused by air being lifted over the high ground of the Peak District, then being compressed through the city’s valleys.

After sweeping across the UK the storm went on to cause death and devastation in Germany.

The strong winds led to high seas and caused flooding in coastal areas of Germany. Hamburg was the hardest hit, with more than 300 people killed.

The Star's front page of Friday February 16 1962

Do YOU remember the Sheffield hurricane of 1962? Use the Comments section below to share your experiences.