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The Forgotten Winter


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Posted
  • Location: Norton, Stockton-on-Tees
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and cold in winter, warm and sunny in summer
  • Location: Norton, Stockton-on-Tees

    I've been doing some reading and I have come across a particularly impressive sounding winter that nobody ever seems to mention. Between the ist of January 1955 and the 11th of March there were parts of the country where snow was on the ground for 50 days. The CET for January was 2.6c and for February was 1.2c, not too cold but snow was a major problem. Onthe 23rd of February the level snow measured 90cm in North East Scotland with drifts 9 metres high and that night was the coldest across Britain since 1895 (it got down to -25c at Braemar)

    Operation Snowdrop was introduced at the end of February to get nescessary supplies to isolated towns by air:

    http://heritage.scotsman.com/videos.cfm?vid=259

    To top it all, there was a snowstorm on the 17th of May that dropped 10cm over Yorkshire!

    Obviously it doesn't measure up to 1963 or 1947 but it's still fairly impressive.

    Edited by Anti-Mild
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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    I had a good look at that winter too; what impressed me was a lot of the synoptic charts for that winter, which would undoubtedly have brought huge amounts of snow to North-West England. Indeed, I remember reading that Blackpool, of all places, had 5 ft drifts on the 17th January. There was even a lot of snow in London, which is highly impressive for a north-westerly oriented cold blast.

    Rrea00119550117.gif

    In my discussions about years ending in "5", the year 1955 often springs to mind as potentially having been a classic; not only were January, February, March and May notably snowy, but there was also a hot sunny summer, and in Scotland it was the sunniest year on record by a fair margin.

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    Posted
  • Location: Canterbury, Kent
  • Location: Canterbury, Kent
    There was even a lot of snow in London, which is highly impressive for a north-westerly oriented cold blast.

    Rrea00119550117.gif

    <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

    Very impressive indeed, usually NW'ly blasts are only good for north-western areas and only bring sunshine to the SE. That is one big low pressure system over scandinavia though, and I see the pressure over Greenland rose to 1045mB.

    WBSH :D

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    Posted
  • Location: Sth Staffs/Shrops 105m/345' & NW Snowdonia 219m/719'
  • Location: Sth Staffs/Shrops 105m/345' & NW Snowdonia 219m/719'

    Some interesting articles about that winter in my local press (Express & Star)

    Midlands hit by blizzard. Originally published: December 8, 1954

    First snow of the winter and high winds brought the West Midlands almost blizzard conditions today.

    Shropshire, Herefordshire and the Welsh border areas were worst hit, but in Staffordshire snow was two inches deep in many places by mid-morning.

    Worst blizzard for eight years. Originally published: February 24, 1955

    Worst blizzard since early in 1947 was still raging in the West Midlands today after a stormy night which piled drifts of up to five feet along many roads.

    Conditions were reported to be worst in the hill districts of West Shropshire, towards the Welsh border, and on Cannock Chase.

    Some lower-lying parts suffered almost as badly. Early today the Wolverhampton-Stafford road at Dunston was blocked by drifts between four and five feet deep.

    Worst weather in May since 1891. Originally published: May 18, 1955

    Not since 1891 has the West Midlands had such a day in May as yesterday was.

    Perplexed officials in the Midlands were faced with the prospect of calling out the snowploughs which had been detached from heavy vehicles and greased down for next winter.

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    Here's the articles I wrote in the tWO archive about this

    January 1955 was a generally cold month with severe frosts and some heavy snowfalls, any mild spells were fairly short lived. The CET for the month was 2.6

    The month began with high pressure across Scandinavia and an increasingly cold easterly flow across the UK. The first serious snowfall came on the 3rd and 4th as a depression moved into the English Channel bringing heavy snow to many parts of England and Wales, about 10 to 20cm fell in a number of places and there was drifting in the easterly wind.

    There was a short mild interlude in the south before the next heavy snowfall came on the 14th, when another low moved into the English Channel and engaged the colder air moving down from the north bringing heavy snowfalls again to the south, 10-30cm fell in a number of places.

    On the 16th, yet another depression moved across the Midlands, this time producing a heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions to northern England and parts of Scotland. Conditions were particularly bad in the northwest of England, where there was severe drifting of the snow and in northern Scotland where depths of snow was approaching 60cm and drifts nearing 9m. With many roads and rail links blocked in the north of Scotland and the Northern Isles, supplies had to be air-dropped in an operation codenamed "Snowdrop"

    The second half of February 1955 was very cold and wintry. There were heavy snowfalls across northern England and East Anglia on the 19th from a frontal system associated with a low pressure to the south of the UK. The snow drifted in the easterly flow and depths of level snow approached 30cm causing the usual transport chaos. As the low moved away to the east, it was replaced by a new low near the Brest Peninsula which produced an even stronger easterly flow across England and Wales. Conditions were severe in Cornwall and Devon, which was worst hit by blizzards and drifting snow. Many roads were blocked in this region. Further north, Scotland was under slack pressure gradients and with the deep snow cover this allowed the mercury to drop to as low as -25C at night as it did at Braemar on the 23rd.

    May 1955 was a cold month with a CET of 9.7, just 0.4C warmer than April 1955. There was a particularly cold spell around mid month as the weather pattern was stuck in a northerly flow across the UK for about 11 days with low pressure over Scandinavia and high pressure over the Atlantic. Snow fell at times over the hills but the heaviest snowfalls came on the 17th as a low moved into the English Channel drawing in a bitterly cold NEly across the UK. Snow fell widely even along the south coast but the snow only accumulated over high ground, where across the Pennines, Peak District and Brecon Beacons roads were blocked. At night, there were air frosts in places with minima as low as -5C in places. The cold May was not a precursor to a cold summer, summer 1955 was a particularly good summer.

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    Posted
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet

    I believe the reason why people do not mention that winter is because it was not classed as a severe winter, the CET for that winter was 3.1C, for that winter to be classed as severe the CET only had to be 0.1C lower and it would have had its place in the history books, how close can you get. LOL.

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
    the CET for that winter was 3.1C, for that winter to be classed as severe the CET only had to be 0.1C lower and it would have had its place in the history books, how close can you get. LOL.

    <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

    The CET was actually 3.5. The winter was offset by the very mild December which had a CET of 6.8, milder incidentally than any December since 1988

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    Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

    I can cinfirm where I lived, near Chesterfield, no the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District, that it was a fairly cold and certainly snowy winter from mid Dec thro' until late Feb

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    • 10 months later...
    Posted
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet
    The CET for January was 2.6c and for February was 1.2c, not too cold but snow was a major problem. Onthe 23rd of February the level snow measured 90cm in North East Scotland with drifts 9 metres high and that night was the coldest across Britain since 1895 (it got down to -25c at Braemar)

    Here is the chart from the 23rd February 1955...

    Rrea00119550223.gif

    The very cold night time temperatures were due to a col over a snowfield, further south it would of been warme but still cold due to an increase in wind speed.

    The CET figures for the winter of 1955 remind me of the winter of 1987 which also featured a mild December followed by a cold January and February.

    http://www.metoffice.com/research/hadleyce.../HadCET_act.txt

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