February 2021 Weather Report for Durham – Huge Contrasts

The racecourse fields, covered in frost

February 2021 was a month of great contrasts. The second half of January 2021 was cold and had frequent frosts. This set the underlying theme for early Feb. The first week of the month was very wet, with more than 10mm rainfall on 2nd, 3rd and 6th. We then experienced an intense cold period between 7th and 14th. I kept thinking back to February 1991 for a comparison. February 2021 didn’t have as much snow, but was just as cold. Freezing Days and Ice Days have been rare in Durham over the last decade, but this period produced a few …

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Some Incredible Ice Formations on Potters Bank, Durham Feb 2021

Close up of Ice on grass at the side of Potters Bank, Durham Feb 11th 2021

I spotted these photos on Facebook and contacted the owner Zanna Clay, who kindly gave me permission to use them. The photos show fantastic ice formations on the grass and hedges by the side of the road on Potters Bank in Durham. It was caused by passing cars spraying water from the road onto the grass, then freezing, making incredible ice formations.  

Early snowfall in Durham on February 2nd 2021

I awoke to the following snowfall on the morning of 2nd February 2021. There are big hints of a potential ‘Beast From The East’ scheduled after the weekend and next week. I will of course keep you posted and separate the fact from fiction. Enjoy this little slow-motion video.

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 …

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February 2020 Monthly Report – Wet and Wild

There was a very wild start to February, although it was relatively mild. Storm Ciara over the weekend of 8th/9th brought damaging gusts and flooding. The worst of it passed to the South of us, but there was major flooding in Yorkshire and winds gusted to 93mph in Wales. The River Wear rose dramatically during the morning of Sunday 9th to peak at 3.05m late on the evening, flooding riverside paths. Wintry showers on 10th-12th. Snowfall for the Midlands, Scotland and Pennines 15-20cm on high ground. Severe drifting on high ground. The next storm (Storm Dennis) arrived on 15th/16th and …

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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.

Storm Ciara causes flooding in Durham

Storm Ciara batters the UK After spending a fair bit of time concentrating on the wind speeds, we sort of forgot about the rain that Storm Ciara was going to deliver. Thankfully we missed some of the squall lines that hit further south. My total for rainfall was only 22.9mm, but obviously far more fell on the catchment areas on the Pennines. A walk to the riverside was needed and as I was coming down from Gilesgate I decided the best way was the pathway that goes directly to the river down past Hild and Bede College. When I got …

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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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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. …

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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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