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Stratos Ferric

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    Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL

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  1. Thus prompted by some excellent contributions to date I shall start with my own records from 1978-9 when I was living NW of Leeds. The comments in green are straight lifts from my own weather diary. December December, at first sight, appears to have taken off where November left. However, certain facets appeared which were to signal the start of a winter which was not challenged until late March, and which did not finally depart until May 5th. The first half of December was essentially mild, though the 1st was a freezing day and the second nearly, a continental block only slowly receding east. The encroaching front on the 2nd gave light snow, which later turned to rain. Through to the run-in to Christmas things remained fairly zonal, but on the 20th a small depression ran into Biscay, with pressure rising over Greenland, and the 19th-23rd were cool; the 19th was another freezing day and throughout my temps didn't get above 2.5C. On the 20th a warm front from the east brought rain turning to sleet and snow in the evening, and on the 21st there was further snow with settling to around 3". Snow fell again overnight into Christmas Eve, but this was a breakdown feature from the west. This was the first of several frontal systems crossing the country over Christmas, and I still recall the forecasters pointing to cold air to the N dragging its heels, but insisting that the milder Atlantic air would win. In fact, the far north of Scotland never was overcome by the mild air, and by the 27th the fronts were pusing back south. My contemporry chart shows three fronts on it; an occlusion lying across Tayside and the Highlands; a warm front across the Borders, and an occlusion pushing NE across S Wales and the SW. My diary fron the 28th notes: Yet another (4th) front (occlusion) entering Britain. Tm airstream still predominant though Pc over Scotland. And from the data record... The 25th-27th saw 4 occlusions and a warm front push north over Britaihn, but never clearing North Scotland due to astrengthening area of high pressure moving west. The 28th saw the low lose its battle and the high pushed the 5 fronts, now compresed into two, southwards. To the north heavy snow and only 1 or 2C. To the south heavy rain and 11C in tropical air. By the 30th all this rain had turned to snow as the last front was pushed into the English Channel and Britain had her last whitewash of 1978, and the first of a very long, often bitter, winter. Friday 29th: Overnight rain turned to snow between 2-3am, lying by morning when snow became heavyt and continued all day. Bitter. Saturday 30th: Continuous light snow through night into morning. Returning again at 6pm to become very heavy later on. Sunday 31st: Snow showers punctuated by sunny spells until 15:30 when skies clears. Freezing and arctic like. By the 31st the snow was lying about 8" deep. My average for that month, though using an unscreened max-min, was 2.8C. January 1-16 1-6th: Cold, continental air predominated though a breakdown eventually came from the NW. Only the 3rd and 6th got above freezing, with the max min figures for the first six days being: -3,-9; 0,-6; 2,-9; -1.5,-9; -2,-7; 1.5,-6; There was snowcover throughout, with snowfall on the 1st, 2nd and 4th. The 7th was the warmest day of the month, temperatures climbing as high as 8C, a warm front crossing fron the NW and introducing warm sector air; this was the only day in the month when temperatures did not fall below freezing, and lying snow partly melted. On the 8th the passage of a cold front at the back of the same system intorudced mP® air and my diary reports that a shower at 23:12 was of sleet. By this time the LP to the north was migrating eastwards towards the northern N Sea, introducing an increasingly polar feed. The 9th started with snow showers, and overnight there was a further light cover from a cold front pushing south. The low continued to migrate SE, across the Baltic by the 13th, and a new system approached from the SW of Iceland. Pressure remained high N of Iceland, but the Atlantic was continuing to dominate. Even so, three cold nights occurred from the 12th-14th, with minima of -7, -9 and -8C under slow air, clear skies, and with snow covered ground. On the 15th another frontal system pushed in from the WSW, temperatures climbing as high as 4C on the 15th and 6C on the 16th. My diary for the 15th reports very dull and cloudy with generally moderate to thick fog throughout (warm moist air, cold surface), clearing only slowly in the evening.
  2. Not all overhead cables will be I'm afraid. In rural areas it doesn't make economic sense. I don't know what the ratios are now, but when I used to work in policy at BT years ago, it was something like 100 times more expensive to bury a cable than to run an aerial link. The interesting thing about the Times' reports is the sparsity of infornation available back then. Where nowadays everyone has a broadband link and a mobile phone, so the world is dense with potential reportage real time, back then there were very few people putting pen to paper and feedback was painfully slow. Hence, yesterday's slight event gains a perspective that is larger than events merited, whilst events back in the 1880s will, by comparison, have been underemphasised.
  3. Winter kept returning that year. My own records show that it snowed pretty much non-stop for 40 hours om the 16-17th, depositing 13" of level snow. It soon warmed up, but even so the snow persisted for over a week. It then snowed again March 27-29th; April 1st-4th; and, April 30th-May 5th.
  4. I think I'd be right in saying that the only time we had the rain-snow that winter was at the very start of the severe period in late December, when three or four warm fronts stacked up and pushed north. I still recall, even on Boxing Day I think, Michael Fish predicting that the warm air would probably win the battle. Most of the other events (and I'd beg to differ with the Eye's suggestion of two main blizzards, there were five decent events that winter, any of which on their own would have sttod very proud in a typical winter) were characterised by warm fronts banging into polar or arctic air - it was not unusual, therefore, for the snow to turn to rain further south; it's also the case that not every even made it up to Scotland. I suspect that Central Northern England very much got the brunt of it that winter, invariably being far enough north to stay pole-side of the polar boundary, but not so far north that the precipitation didn't reach. The additional point, further to Mr D's very good write up, is that we had another severe event mid-March. In those days March most definitely was a winter month.
  5. He's just getting rid of a load of debt. I'd be very surprised if he hadn't done it with some negotiation with main creditors, but at least it should reduce a significant burden. Ordinarily I'd disapprove, but given some of the people who have been bleeding Leeds dry I have limited sympathy. It's also a bizarre world in which footballers do not have to take a pay cut whilst in contract, even if via their performances their team drops a division. Probably no further. Leeds' turnover will ensure they have the pick of the players at that level. Sooner or later someone with a lot of money will step in, particularly if the administration really has removed a lot of debt. Suddenly they start to look like a significantly undervalued brand.
  6. Don't do that: just treat it like a Wiki and be prepared to be corrected. I often remind my clients that it is easier to criticise than to build. Hats off to the builders!
  7. Have to say I've never seen mT® referenced in any standard texts. mP®, however, IS a standard type - this being mP air which, instead of a straight(ish) trajectory somewhere between NNW (Iceland) and NNE-ish (off N Norway), the air is pulled around beyond either a trailing trough, or a small secondary depression. It can approach the UK from as far around the compass as W, and, exceptionally, even south by west or WSW.UHI - Urban Heat Island: the microclimatic warmth that attaches to large man-made environments. It is most pronounced in winter, and in still air, and on clear nights, when the measured differential between the urban core and the surrounding countryside can, exceptionally, be as high as 10C. Typically the value will be 3-4C. In fast flowing air turbulence causes vertical mixing and the effect can virtually disappear. ZDL - Zero Degree Level: the altitude above msl at which freezing point is reached. msl - mean sea level: nb pressure in the UK is usually quoted as being at mean sea level, this prevents distortion consequent to the effect of altitude when pressure diagrams are drawn. DP - Dew Point: the temperature of the standard dry bulb on a mercury thermometer when moistened. This bulb will tend to be cooled by the process of evaporation, and this temperature represents the dew point, i.e. the temperature at which the air, if cooled, would become saturated and at which condensation would start to form. This is why, on cold evenings, cars can become dew covered whilst the ground may stay dry; metal surfaces cool fastest under clear skies. Lapse Rate - the rate at which a parcel of air cools as it ascends. There are three lapse rates. The E(nvironmental)LR, which is the standard lapse rate, assumed to be 6.5C/1000m. The D(ry)LR, the lapse rate for unsaturated air, which is 10C/1000m, and the S(aturated)A(diabatic)LR, which varies according to temperature, between around 5C-7C/1000m (the cooler it is, the higher the rate). The SALR is reached at the point that a parcel of air reaches its dew point, typically the cloud base. The rate changes because the process of evaporation releases latent heat (effectively the energy that keeps water in gaseous form is now released), hence the airmass cools less quickly now. Adiabatic refers to the fact that the temperature change is occurring without external energy flow.
  8. It's highly unlikely that conventional bombing had any significant effect. First up the debris tends to be heavy and sink very quickly. Secondly, it doesn't tend to get high into the sky - the explosive force is relatively small, though it doesn't seem that way if you're alongside one as it goes off. Contrails wold not have been very significant either. Even the busiest bombing days would have seen far less air traffic than flies over Europe on a quiet day now. In addition, with unpressurised cabins, altitudes would have been a lot lower, meaning the occurrence and persistence of vapour trails wouuld certainly have been far lower. Napoleon also had some very cold winters, but he didn't have any overhead cover. It would be rich irony indeed if there were anything in your ponder, as the intense cold on the eastern front was a hugely significant factor in swinging the war away from Germany.
  9. Stratos Ferric

    Look at that zoom!

    View towards the fells beyond Malham: 27-12-05
  10. 27th December...view north across the big lawn.
  11. What do you mean where's the sugar bowl gone? Stratos's patio after an underwhelming seasonal shower...
  12. Os, It's good to see that you spotted the little test I left for you. Well done: carry on.
  13. I think that's broadly representative of the quality of the population, if not, strictly speaking, it's density on the ground.
  14. That particular front stalled around the S Midlands, though the N generally fared far better than the S for snow that winter. In Yorkshire we had four very significant snow events, and snow lay on the ground continuously from Dec 29th through to Feb 28th, and then again for around 10 days in March. On January 19th the snow reached a LEVEL measured depth of 19". There were four major events in Yorkshire that winter each of which was bigger than anything we've had in the last 10 years! Dec 29-30th as the more or less consistently mild autumn gave way to the cold (this was not forecast until very close to the event). Jan 19-20th when snow fell from 0800 through to 1630h the following day. Feb 12-13 when snow fell from 0700h through to mid afternoon the following day (thought turning to rain intermittently), and March 15-17th (22h-22h: a staggering 48h of snowfall yielding 13" level. That winter (from Jan 1) the nos of days of snow / frost each month were: Jan 15/30 Feb 10/27 Mar 14/20 April 5/7 (snow lay for 2 days in April!) May 5/7 (partial snow lying on two days) It is striking to note that May 1979, in terms of snow and frost occurrence, would probably rate better than either Jan or Feb (and sometimes both) in most of the winters since 1997.
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