The UK shipping forecast has been issued uninterrupted since 1867. After 150 years it still provides a vital role for those at sea, providing gale warnings and sea area forecasts four times a day. But how did it all start?
On the 25th/26th October 1859 the British Isles was shaken by a severe storm in which the steam clipper ‘Royal Charter’ sank off Anglsey. Of the 500 persons onboard only 29 survived. Such a large loss of life led to a call for storms to be predicted to prevent ships from sailing into bad weather. The storm would later become known as The Royal Charter Storm.
Admiral Robert FitzRoy founded the Meteorological Office in 1854 and using data that had been collected over previous years felt that he could give warning of approaching storms. He designed a system of day shapes and lights that would be hoisted in ports around the coast to warn people sailing past and in port of forecast wind strengths and direction.
Cautionary Day Signals