THIRTY years ago today my husband and I woke up to a scene of eerie stillness.

The night before, we had been roused from our sleep by a noise like a jet engine. We sat up in bed and were amazed to see the carpet in our bedroom lift from the floor and, for several moments, appear to float mid-air.

Looking out of the window of our North London flat, everything was unusually dark. No street lights, no headlights, no sirens.

It was as though the world had ended while we slept, and, frightened, I wondered whether a bomb had been dropped.

Turning on the radio, it was, of course, headline news - a hurricane had ravaged a large swathe of the country, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

With few buses running, I walked to work that day, detouring around giant trees that had been wrenched from the ground. I believe I was one of only a handful of people that made it to the weirdly deserted City.

Over the years, I’ve told this story to my children. On wild nights, I recounted to them how they will never know a wind like that one, how the carpet flew like a scene from the Arabian Nights and how we could not hear for the roar outside.

Weather tales gain momentum as time goes by, every telling worse than the last. Sometimes I wonder, was I as scared by that storm as I remember. I think I was.

Some of the winters we experienced as children were harsh. My parents have photographs of us walking on top of snow drift as high as hedges.

I remember coming home from a day out to Whitby, my dad driving through canyons of snow, having to frequently get out to dig us out of ruts with the garden spade he took along for that purpose.

Yet my parents dismissed this as mild, recounting tales of the winter of 1962-3, when I was a baby and their village was snow- bound for weeks.

This was nothing compared with the stories told to us children by old timers, the likes of Bill Ackroyd - affectionately known as ‘awd (old) Ackroyd’ - and Maurice Todd, who spoke to us in hushed tones of 1947, when the drifts were as high as houses, the earth rock hard, and how they lived for six months off melted snow and frozen turnips.

The summer of ’76 is another legendary weather event, as a heatwave swept the country. I played tennis day after day, beneath cloudless skies, travelling to tournaments with friends. After a while we just took it for granted that it would be sunny every day and left our ‘just in case’ rain macs at home.

Was it that good, that hot, for so long, I often wonder. Am I looking back through rose-coloured glasses?

In recent years, flooding has dominated the headlines, with devastating downpours hitting parts of the country. The floods of 2000 that swept across England and Wales, a series of destructive floods in 2007 and the horrendous Boxing Day floods of 2015, a result of Storm Desmond, leaving hundreds homeless.

In some communities huge weather events go down in history. In Canvey Island in the Thames estuary, people still talk about life ‘before’ and ‘after’ the Great Flood, despite the fact that it was back in 1953. The small island bore the brunt of a tidal surge that swallowed everything in its path.

We won’t forget the 1987 hurricane. With gusts of up to 135mph, it was the worst storm in Britain for almost 300 years. And, crucially, due to now infamous forecasting errors, no-one knew it was coming. But that’s another story…