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Thundery wintry showers

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Thundery wintry showers last won the day on November 12 2012

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About Thundery wintry showers

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    Cumulonimbus Incus

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    East Exeter, Devon
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    Weather (of course!), chess, music, computer gaming, social events, football, tenpin bowling, environmental issues
  • Weather Preferences
    Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.

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  1. Cold zonality returns

    Here's a selection: The recent ones in January 2015: And for those looking for snowy westerlies with very low heights to the north (represented at Wetterzentrale by pinks and purples), here's some. 14th February 1973: January 1978 was indeed a good month for cold zonality, but it generally didn't have markedly low heights to the north and north-east. Here's an example from that month: 17th December 1982: January 1984 had quite a few, here's another one from the 3rd of that month: 29th December 1990, which brought big snowfalls across the northern half of Scotland: And the famous "Braer storm" in January 1993 which brought blizzards in the Scottish Lowlands: And finally early March 1995 was quite a famous one:
  2. Winter 1979/80

    It was one of the milder winters of the generally snowy period 1978-87, but nonetheless much snowier than any winter from 1972 to 1976 inclusive. I recall the first half of December 2000 being, according to Philip Eden, the warmest first half of December since 1979, so that period must have been one of the mildest on record (albeit easily surpassed in December 2015). From mid-December to the first week of February it was generally quite cold, with some snow at times for some, but not generally in large amounts. The rest of February was mild and dull, then we had some more cold and snow around mid-March from an easterly and then a northerly, and for some this was the snowiest spell of the season. Christmas 1979 wasn't a widespread white Christmas so those who had one must have got pretty lucky, but looking over the archive charts it's not difficult to see that parts of the Midlands may still have had some slushy snow cover left over from the easterly a few days earlier and possibly some frontal snow after the easterly.
  3. North And Northeast England Regional Discussion

    I expected this north-easterly to be too warm for lying snow at low levels but temperatures are a good degree and a half above what I'd been expecting. I recall an even milder north-easterly on 22 January 2007 when temperatures maxed at 6-7C inland and 7-8C near the coast despite 850hPa temperatures of -7C, but on that occasion the SSTs in the North Sea were record high for the time of year. This year they are only slightly above the long-term normal: Maybe that pool of positive anomalies to the east of Iceland has been having an effect on this north-easterly.
  4. Model Moans, Ramps and Banter

    I think the matter is confused by there being rather more high ground in the south-west than there is in the south-east. This gives an impression of the south-west being snowier, especially with the greater precipitation amounts and upland areas sometimes ending up on the "snow" side of marginal- at 300m in Dartmoor the frequency of lying snow is similar to Durham's for example. But if you compare locations at <100m you'll generally find that while the south-west and south-east tend to have a comparable frequency of snowfall, in the south-west it is far less likely to stick around. On rare occasions lowland Devon can be heavily hit by frontal battleground events, as per February 1978 and January 1982, but these are pretty rare- most of the time the snow on the northern flank of the systems ends up further north/east. The south-west is also sheltered from North Sea-generated snowstorms in easterlies (which soimetimes give the south-east significant periods of lying snow) and tends to be on the warm side of marginal in most northerly/north-westerly outbreaks when wintry showers fire in off the Irish Sea, with just rare exceptions such as 17/18 December 2010. I recall it being a similar story when comparing the North East and Cumbria- Cumbria might come across as snowier because of its generally higher elevation, but at places like Carlisle, the snow rarely lies for long, whereas at places like Newcastle it will sometimes stick around for a while.
  5. If you could travel back in time to relive a memorable weather event

    That date also sprung to my mind as the most likely. Tynemouth had a midday temp of -3C despite a strong wind coming in off the relatively warm North Sea. If I had to pick one month it would probably be June 1975, for the out-of-season snowstorm on the 2nd followed by an abrupt switch to hot weather, and then generally an exceptionally sunny month, also with some thundery downpours for some around midmonth. Other months that spring to mind are January/February 1955, Januarys 1958 and 1959, Februarys 1969 and 1970, and January 1984. If we're limiting it to events that I've lived through then probably the period 25 November-26 December 2010.
  6. Things that tick you off?

    Post nasal drip. Especially when you're having what would otherwise be a very tasty meal.
  7. Buying new weather station

    I got myself a Davis Vantage Vue station in January after my old WMR928NX packed in. I used to go with Oregon Scientific's products as Davis was out of my price range when they only did the Vantage Pro, but the Vue (which to my knowledge has only been going just over 5 years) is about the same price as the equivalent of the WMR928NX (£300-400 bracket). Apart from the wind, I find the Vantage Vue's readings significantly more reliable, especially the rain gauge which has a resolution of 0.2mm as opposed to the WMR928NX's 1mm. If good wind readings are important to you and you don't mind paying over £500 then you're probably best off with the Davis Vantage Pro.
  8. Forgettable years, weatherwise.

    November 1963 was part of winter 1963/64, which indeed didn't have a great deal of snow. November 1962 did have a snowy spell for many areas around the 20th. I don't think 1963 was generally as snowy as 1947, but there were certainly some further snow events during January and February 1963, especially for the east and south, and snow cover generally stuck around for longer than in 1947.
  9. Forgettable years, weatherwise.

    I do agree that the cold zonality of 2014/15 was impressive, probably assisted by the persistent cold pool in the North Atlantic as well as persistent below-average temperatures over the eastern USA and Canada. In particular I remember a south-westerly on 13/14 January that blew straight from eastern Canada and brought snow to many parts. Here in Devon the snow only settled on high ground, but in North Yorkshire for instance there was lying snow down to near sea level.
  10. Forgettable years, weatherwise.

    Although I think 2014/15 was a snowier winter on balance than 2013/14, 2015/16 or 2016/17, I think the "Little" assessment is fair when comparing it with previous winters. There was a fairly snowy spell from mid-January to early February, and some short-lived snow for some on Boxing Day and in the first few days of March, but other than that, not a lot. There is always regional variability. In the South Shields/Sunderland area, the winter of 1995/96 was no snowier than 1993/94 or 1990/91, whereas in Lancaster it was easily the snowiest winter since at least 1981/82, possibly 1978/79.
  11. Forgettable years, weatherwise.

    The 1980s also had relatively snow free winters in 1979/80, 1980/81, 1987/88 and especially 1988/89. I don't agree with the classification of 2015/16 as "Average" btw, but even if that were to be revised to "Little" we'd still be on 14 for the 2010s, boosted by the exceptionally snowy calendar year in 2010. I don't think 1981/82 or 1984/85 belong in the "Very Snowy" section because 1981/82 had very little snow before December or after mid-January, and 1984/85 had a mild autumn and December with the majority of the snow concentrated in January and a spell in mid-February. 1946/47, 1962/63, 1978/79 and 2009/10 had snowy outbreaks in all three of the main winter months, and beyond in the case of 1979. "Snowy" seems right to me. The chart references the "snow season" from September to June, I believe.
  12. North And Northeast England Regional Discussion

    I've been keeping an eye on the weather in my old homeland in the North East (Neil Bradshaw's webcam in South Shields in particular). South Shields had a snow cover since 9am and has maintained most of it since judging by the webcam, although I'm expecting a north-easterly to bring a temperature jump to 4 or 5C sometime later this evening. The wind briefly veered north-easterly there when the intense hail shower came in but I see that it's gone back to a northerly and so it crept no higher than 2.3C. Inland, e.g. at Durham, it's less clear what will happen when the wind veers north-easterly later tonight. The colder 850hPa temperatures look like hanging on, so inland areas may hold onto at least some of their snow cover. Looks like there was even a fair covering in Tynemouth, which sticks out into the sea somewhat. Of course nothing here in Exeter but good to get a chance to remotely observe some "thundery wintry showers" from my old homeland!
  13. Where have the long fetch northerlies gone?

    Interesting and well-researched stuff! I agree with the above concerning the period 1961-2000 (and I think it would still hold if we extended the recent period as far as 2004) but my question would be, would it still hold if we were to compare, say, 1993-2004 against 2005-2016? I suspect not. Although Arctic sea ice reduced over the period 1980-2004, the source region between Jan Mayen, Svalbard and the Russian Arctic only showed a modest amount of warming, and temperatures in the late 1990s/early 2000s were still below the peak that they reached between the 1930s and early 1950s. In 2004 John L. Daly attempted to disprove the Arctic Amplification theory by pointing to records from "Arctic Rim" stations, and at stations with records going back into the 1940s, such as Ostrov Vize, there was a slight cooling trend between then and 2004. Given the dynamics of modification over open water discussed above, a warming of up to a few degrees Celsius would indeed be unlikely to make much of a difference to the potency of our northerlies. But since 2005, while the decline of Arctic sea ice extent hasn't accelerated much, there has been a very marked step-change in the temperatures in that source region. The mean annual temperature at Ostrov Vize has shot up from a mean of about -14.5C to nearer -10C, and much of that difference comes from the winter half-year when temperature anomalies of 10-15C have been quite common. In 2012 and 2016 their annual mean was about -6C (8C above the long-term normal), with anomalies of as much as 17C in individual months. In Svalbard it's a similar story but not quite as extreme. The anomalous warmth also increasingly appears to be penetrating to higher levels of the atmosphere with rather less cold pooling evident at 850hPa than in the past. Despite the neutralising effects of the modification over the ocean, I suspect that those sort of anomalies will have been making more of a noticeable difference to the potency of our northerlies since about 2005. We may well only be talking a difference of 1-2C once the airmass modification dynamics have played out, but traditionally east-coast snow showers have often been only just on the "snow" side of marginal and so a difference of 1 or 2C can be enough to replace snow with a sleety mix. On the other hand we did get some very potent northerlies, even by long-term historical standards, in November and December 2010, so we might still find that the average difference comes out less than I would expect.
  14. Forgettable years, weatherwise.

    In Exeter the standout events of 2017 have been the Ophelia/red sun, the hot sunny week leading up to 21 June, and the spectacular overnight thunderstorm on 19 July. I was also up in North Yorkshire in the hot spell at the end of May when it got to about 27C there. There was also a brief wintry incursion around 13 January which I remember for having lying hail in Exeter. So overall a bit more interesting/eventful than last year in my view, but still rather less interesting than the majority of other years since I started keenly observing the weather (1993).