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BRITISH WINTERS (in progress)
 
 

 


 
 
Even the Sea froze in 1962/3 Dunster Beach Somerset
Picture from Ron Blundell's site
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Wellington Square Minehead Feb. 19th 1978
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1981/2 Our house, Minehead
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  1683-84: Now when people think of 'The Big One' in terms of winters, they think of 1947,1963 etc. But there was one winter that easily surpassed both! This winter! Mid December saw the 'great frost' start in the UK and Central Europe. The Thames was frozen all the way up to London Bridge by early January 1684. The frost was claimed to be the longest on record, and probably was. It lasted kept the Thames frozen for 2 months, it froze as deep as 11 inches. Near Manchester, the ground had frozen to 27 inches, and in Somerset, to an astonishing 4 feet! This winter was the coldest in the CET series, at -1.2 (1739-40 was -0.4) This winter was described by R.D. Blackmore, in his book 'Lorna Doone'. In mid February there was a thaw.
1688-89: Long and severe frosts, Thames froze over.
1690-99: 6 out of 10 of the winters in this period were described as severe, judging by their CET. Meaning their average temperatures for December, January, February and March were below 3c. 1694-95 heralded deep snow, with falls of continual snow affecting London. This lasted for 5 weeks, along with the freezing of the Thames. This heavy snow and frost theme, continued for a good long while. In fact 1695 is believed to have been one of the coldest years ever recorded, the severe snowy winter ended around mid April, at which time arctic sea ice had extended around the entire coast of Iceland! 1695-96 saw -23c in the UK. A severe winter. The autumn of 1697 was very cold, with snow persisting, and ice forming. The winter of 1697-98 was severe, with a CET of about 1c. Snow and ice built up. Ice on coasts built up to 8 inches in parts. Spring very cold. Generally the late 1600s were very cold, and people probably were affected very badly by this. The cold probably brought famine to the poor, as livestock perished, and crops failed. And without central heating, it must have been unbearable in parts. The 'Little Ice Age' lived up to its name. The final few years weren't as bad, but harvests were still ruined generally as wet weather took over from the cold.
 
  Jumping to the 20th century:-  
  1946-47: The year you've most probably been waiting for! One of the snowiest winters to date, probably the worst since 1814
Snow fell on the 19th December in Southern England. Then there was a notable mild spell, extremely mild in parts, with 14c being reached by day. Then from the 22nd January, it began! There was continuous snow cover from this date, right up till 17th March! Late January saw 7 inches of snow in South West England and the Scilly Isles (unusual). Early February saw the turn of the Midlands (Southern) and East Anglia, while Northern England, North Wales and Eastern Scotland saw snow in late February. In early March there was a blizzard in England and Wales, with 1ft widely, and 5ft accumulated on the hills! 12th March saw snow for the Border Country. 1946-47 was strange, because it started up late, and lasted a long time. I think 2003-04 will mirror 1947 in lots of ways, mainly in terms of snowfall, but not so extreme and long lasting. Very snowy.
 
  1962-63: A famous winter.Very cold. Mid November saw snow in the South West. Late December (commensing Boxing Day: the start of the bitter cold) saw blizzards in Southern England. London had 12 inches of drifting snow. January and February had widespread falls, especially Devon and North East England with 2ft. Very Snowy. My mum, 12 at the time, and dad, 11, keep telling me stories of how long they were away from school for. The snow in Hampshire was supposedly as deep as the hedgerows were high! People managed to walk on the tops of the frozen shrubbery, rather than risk driving through the deep snow! An amazing winter.  
  1976-77: Heavy wet snow fell in early December, mid December, and mid January. Mid January also saw some good coverings though, up to 6 inches lying at times.

1977-78
: Mid January, 6 foot drifts! Late January, heavy snow in Scotland, drifting, 28 inches falling in parts! Mid February saw another 8" in the North East, East and South West. February 11th 12" fell in Durham and Edinburgh.
February
. 15-16th South West England, blizzard with huge drifts!

1978-79: The last really severe, snowy winter. Late December falls of 6-7n inches in Southern Scotland and the North East started it off. It was very cold in parts. Mid February saw drifts of 6-7 feet on the East coast of England. Mid March had severe blizzards and drifting, in North Eastern England drifts reached a staggering 15 feet! Very snowy.

1981-82
: Another notable year. Mid December, South West and Southern England seeing 12 inches. North East England getting 7 inches, with 6 foot drifts. 2 days later (20th December) Northern England got 7 inches, and 6 foot drifts. Mid January, there was general snow, with a cover of 1-2 feet in parts of the South West. Snowy, and very cold.
 
 

2003-04:
Snow fell as early as October in parts of Scotland, and there were a few flurries further South and some general sleet on October 22nd over high ground. Before Christmas, some snow fell 22nd, for parts of Scotland and Eastern England. Snow did fall elsewhere but it didn't really amount to much. On New Years Eve/Day wet snow fell for a time, particularly across Northern England and over high ground, where several cm's fell. In mid January snow fell fairly widely across mid Wales and the Midlands, with high ground in Powys recording upwards of 6 inches.Snow also fell across Northern England the next day, with over 6 inches in Northumberland. January 28th saw an almost countrywide blizzard, although very short, it left a few inches over parts of Southern England, particularly the East. Late February, and snow fell on 26th, 27th and 28th, mostly in the North and North East with showers giving 6 inches or more to sea level in NE Scotland and Eastern England, but on 27th Wales, Northern Ireland and South West England got over 6 inches in places, particularly over high ground and in Western Wales, where as much as 10 inches fell over high ground. 12th March saw as much as 10 inches of snow for parts of South West England and Wales, with some parts of South Wales seeing more, particularly over high ground.

This small extract taken from netweather. Click on the link to read the whole report. netweather

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