December 2020 – Wet, with a White Christmas

December 2020 started wet and cold. The 4th December very wet, with snow on high ground as a quite deep area of low pressure rushed by. There was more than 30mm of rain on 3rd/4th. This became typical of the month, with regular downpours giving significant amounts. Some areas of the UK had snow with the rain in this period, with ‘Thundersnow’ in Scotland, but it quickly disappeared at low levels as temperatures rose. At higher levels however, conditions were marginal and the freezing level was low enough to retain a snow cover on the very tops of the hills. …

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Freezing Decembers – They really are very rare in the UK

picture of the Frozen River Wear December 2010

When December 2010 came along, it was a complete shock to the system. There had been no below freezing December (average below 0.0 degC) since 1890. That’s 120 years. These are temperatures from the CET series (Central England Temperature). Records in the CET go back as far as 1659. So, let’s look at those sub-zero December years. The first is December 1676 (mean temp -0.5 degC). Back then, the temperatures were only recorded to the nearest half degree and there aren’t any daily temperatures available to me, so I can’t really embellish that too much other than say, imagine a …

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Winter Chills : The Great Winters of 1947 and 1963 in the UK

This is archived content that used to be on the Met Office website, but isn’t anymore so I decided to resurrect it for posterity, adding my own comments and adaptions. It’s a page to refer to when people talk about the harsh winters of 1946-47 and 1962-63, the two UK winters that are used as benchmarks for how bad winter can get. Rarely in the UK – or anywhere, for that matter – is a train completely buried in snow. But that’s exactly what happened on Dartmoor in March 1891 and in northern Scotland in January 1978. The winters that …

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Coldest Christmas Days – 2010 is up there!

This list has been compiled from CET records after we experienced the coldest December for more than a century in Durham. In a climate that has shown a seemingly inexorable rise in temperature, December 2010 came as a huge shock. Christmas Day 2010 ranks third in a series going back to 1772, marginally behind 1830. Coldest Christmas Days -10.8 degC   1796 -6.6 degC   1830 -5.9 degC   2010 -5.8 degC   1878 -5.1 degC   1779 November 2010 also contained one of the coldest ever days recorded in that calendar month, coming in at -4.0 degC on 28th. …

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