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 were easterly for 23 days, and were of virtual calm for the remaining days. It was the most easterly month on record apart from February 1947. Easterly winds had already set in by the end of January.

Mean daily air temperatures in the CET series for February 1986

Snow cover was widespread in the east, where it was very dull: Cupar (Fife) registered only 41 hours sunshine all month. In the west it was very dry and sunny (144 hours sunshine on Anglesey, higher than summer months there; with no measurable rain at all in some western coastal sites). The lowest temperature was at Grantown-on-Spey, where it reached -21.2C on the 27th.

The month was most remarkable for the consistently low maxima; the temperature remained beneath 1C at Buxton (Derbuyshire) all month. The lowest temperature around Birmingham was -11.0C, at Elmdon, on the 21st, and the highest, just 3.8C on the 28th. There was freezing rain in the north Midlands. Up to 50 mm of glaze was recorded on broken power lines at Buxton on the 2nd.

Widdybank Fell, at 513 m above sea level in County Durham, remained beneath freezing all month, and had a total of 32 consecutive days beneath zero – probably a record “for a inhabited area” (Trevor has obviously never been to Widdybank Fell, it’s wild, desolate, and definitely not inhabited!). I remember our toilet freezing and a six inch icicle growing out of the toilet cistern overflow. I reckon this is the last time I experienced a temperature beneath -10C. The cold persisted into early March.

For some reason I find that February 1986 is often “the forgotten month” when one talks about extreme winters in Britain. Perhaps this is because there wasn’t any widespread serious disruption due to heavy snow over a wide area, perhaps because there weren’t any record-breaking low temperatures, and perhaps because the rest of the winter was unexceptional. Indeed, some parts of the country had no snow at all. Nevertheless, it was the coldest month since January 1963. It was also the second driest February of the century. Hence I make this the most interesting February of the century“.

http://www.trevorharley.com/weather_web_pages/1986_weather.htm

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.

Amazing sunrise from Wharton Park 8th December 2019

Some amazing shots this morning of the sunrise from Wharton Park, with Durham Cathedral silhouetted against the fiery skyline. The day soon turned into a blustery one with showers and gusty westerly winds.

Pictures here are courtesy of Kevin Edworthy. Many thanks Kevin for allowing me to use these.

sunrise photo from wharton park durham with durham cathedral silhouetted against the red clouds 1
sunrise photo from wharton park durham with durham cathedral silhouetted against the red clouds 1
sunrise photo from wharton park durham with durham cathedral silhouetted against the red clouds 2
sunrise photo from wharton park durham with durham cathedral silhouetted against the red clouds 2
sunrise photo from wharton park durham with durham cathedral silhouetted against the red clouds 3
sunrise photo from wharton park durham with durham cathedral silhouetted against the red clouds 3
sunrise photo from wharton park durham with durham cathedral silhouetted against the red clouds 4
sunrise photo from wharton park durham with durham cathedral silhouetted against the red clouds 4

Some great photos of the severe December 2010 weather

Some nine years ago, we were in the grip of one of the most severe spells of weather to occur in the month of December for over 100 years. Around Durham, snowfall was very deep. Here’s a selection of photos taken by Gary Tidbury of the conditions around Framwellgate Moor in Durham.

Even the Bin Wagon got stuck

A great example of an Ice Spike

A good mate of mine just posted these extraordinary photos on Facebook of an ‘Ice Spike’.

“This morning I had never heard of an ice spike and if I had ever seen one, would have had no idea what it was and shrugged it off as something strange. A post on another site had a photo of one happening in the great outdoors of Northumberland along with an explanation of the strange event. That reminded me that yesterday, in my small beaker used for inaccurate assumptions of rainfall measures, I had noticed a frozen stick shape protruding above the top. It must have been 6-8 cm long. I shrugged it off, wrongly presuming that by chance (a million to one ?) an icicle had fallen from the roof some 4 feet away and several higher and landed, unbroken in the beaker !?! On reading said post, I went outside to find this …”

Michael Simmons, Newton Aycliffe

November 2019 – Wet, Dull and Pretty Dreadful

Cold, Wet and Cheerless

Once again I have poor weather to report for this month. Particularly, high rainfall totals again and an incredible dullness that depressed. I know that November is sometimes a cheerless month, but this one has been really rubbish. The weather has also been cold, with depressed maxima by day, although not too cold at night until the last few days.

I have had a bad cold for most of November and I blame it almost completely on the rank weather November has served up for us all.

No sun – no moon!
No morn – no noon –
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –
November!

by Thomas Hood

Rainfall

The month was very wet. The total of 129.1mm was just behind the June total for wettest month of 2019. There were 26 days with rain and 6 days had more than 10mm.

The rain put a big damper on the Durham Lumiére Festival with 5.6, 9.5, 13.7 and 2.2mm falling on the four days from 14th-17th.

The total rainfall represents about 200% of what an average November would bring.

Temperature

Because of all the rain and dullness, November maxima were depressed (like me). The average maximum was 7.5 degC, which is around 2 degC below average. Average minima were around normal at 3.7 degC.

The warmest day of the month was right at the start of the month when a modest 11.3 degC was recorded on the 2nd. The temperature remained below 10 degC from the 4th, and November’s minimum temperature was recorded on the last day, which was very frosty early on. The air temperature was -2.4 degC at 8am.



Some pics from Seaham 27th Nov 2019 (photos courtesy of Paul Levitt)

 

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