How Heavy is ‘Heavy’? Rain, sleet and snow

Alright my weather mateys. Who’s sick of wet weather? If you didn’t put your hand up there you must be some kind of weirdo. It seems like it’s been raining for years non-stop now. The dry soils of last spring are now a distant memory. We often hear it said that it’s ‘raining cats and dogs’ and even ‘stair rods’, but is there an official way of telling just how ‘heavy’ heavy rain really is? Well, those that spend their day defining all things meteorological do indeed have the official definitions all scribbled on the back of an envelope and …

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Some photographs from snowy weather in Co Durham January 6th-8th 2021

The North East of England was taken a little by surprise on Friday morning, the 8th January 2021. An area of rain had approached from the North West and turned to snow after midnight. Some places received 8-10 hours of continuous snow. Depth increased dramatically with altitude. In Durham City we had only 2-3 inches of snow, but in some of the hillier parts of County Durham snow depths of 6-10 inches were common, especially high ground to the south of the region. Here are some photographs of my own and taken by friends on social media today. Enjoy!   …

Read moreSome photographs from snowy weather in Co Durham January 6th-8th 2021

Two photos of the frozen River Wear 1981/82 and 1895.

Two amazing photos of the frozen River Wear in Durham. The first, credited to Matthew Avery and Helen Avery is of the Cathedral across the frozen river. Although Helen originally thought it was from 1983, it’s almost certainly from a year earlier in the winter of 1981/82. December 1981 and the first half of January 1982 were very severe, particularly 8th-27th December 1981 and 6th-16th January 1982, so this picture was most likely taken in one of these periods (probably December 1981). The blue tint on the photograph makes it look very cold indeed. Here’s a comment from James Clark …

Read moreTwo photos of the frozen River Wear 1981/82 and 1895.

The 10 Snowiest Places in the UK

Liam Dutton’s 10 snowiest places in the UK. Where are the 10 snowiest places in the UK? Each winter, there is often much speculation as to how much snow will fall in the UK. The prospect of snow in the forecast generates a lot of talk and excitement about the weather. Social media becomes a frenzy of snow pictures with extensive use of the hashtag #uksnow. Our very own County Durham features in at No. 5 with Ken Cook’s site at Copley, which averages 53 days per year of snow on average. Widdybank Fell up near Cow Green Reservoir is also …

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Ice in the River Wear, January 1984

During the winter of 1983-84, there was a very snowy cold spell in the last week of January 1984. Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England were affected. Here’s a nice couple of black and white photos of the Fulling Mill and Cathedral taken by Craig Oliphant, who has very kindly given his permission to publish. Ice is just starting to form in the still water above the weir. The Bonacina/O’Hara snowfall analysis says “Jan, very snowy in Scotland. 13th-23rd Jan., Scotland, N. Ireland and northern England. Considerable drifting on hills. 21-23rd Jan., northern England, C. Highlands, Scotland 2ft …

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The First Snows Arrive!

Snowfall, Winter 2019-20 Better late than never Well, after a winter composed almost entirely of wind, rain and relatively mild temperatures, the first snow arrived in Durham five days before the end of February. Amounts aren’t huge (2-3”), but at least it stopped the winter from being thrown on the ‘No snow’ pile. It’s melted rapidly though after turning to rain. By mid-afternoon, the snow had completely gone and air temperatures were up to about 6 degC.

February 1986 – Extremely Cold, One of the Coldest Months on Record

February 1986 (who remembers that one then?) was one of the coldest Februaries ever recorded in modern times. Trevor Harley, in his famous weather summaries pages, describes February 1986 thus: “February 1986. Extremely cold (-1.1C CET), with frequent light snowfalls. The second coldest February of the 20th century (after 1947), and fourth coldest month of the twentieth century overall (and the last time a month had a mean beneath zero before December 2010). The month was similar to January 1963 in being a completely blocked month, with a high centred over north Russia bringing some very cold air east. Winds …

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The Time Traveller : January 25th 1947

The harsh realities of the brutal winter of 1946-47 are chronicled here in a writeup of The Time Traveller clipped from the Northern Echo some time in the 1980s The churches worry about war-devastated Germany, but most people say that Britain has enough to do in feeding herself. Rationing is worse than in the war – dwindling allowances of basic foods, “points” for others, coupons for clothes and since last July even bread, which has not been rationed before. We are exhorted to export more, or expect still lower living standards and industry is short of coal. Mr. Atlee’s Labour …

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February 1991 – A very snowy episode!

I was rooting about in the loft the other day and came across an old logbook of mine from when I lived in Ferryhill. It covered the period of late 1990 and early 1991. Immediately I took interest because there was a memorable period of heavy snowfall in February 1991. What is striking was that snow was 15” deep on 9th and 10th. I know I took some photos at the time, but can’t find them now unfortunately. Here’s the page from the log. As you can see, there was an air frost every night for the first 19 days. …

Read moreFebruary 1991 – A very snowy episode!

First real snow of winter 2019-20

The northern part of the county saw it’s first real snow of the winter on 12th December. It was confined to high levels, but gave a good covering in the high Pennines. Here’s a photo from twitter from the top of Killhope. More photos from a friend of mine Barry Wilkinson who went skiing in Weardale.