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Weather-history

1879: A very cold year

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August

There were severe thunderstorms and violent hailstorms on the 2nd and 3rd of August. Here are some reports of this event

Halford House: A neighbour gathered some of the stones; the weight of four of them weighed more than 1lb

Dunster Lodge: The largest measured was 5.75 inches in circumference

Surbiton Hall: Conservatories destroyed

Kingston: Hailstones were picked up by the inspector of police which measure 5 inches in circumference.

Teddington: This town did not escape the severity of the storm and much glass is destroye din a ll directions.

Teddington station: A few lamp-tops smashed

Twickenham: At about 2 o'clock (morning), a severe storm of rain was suceeded by a tremendous downpour of hailstones the size of walnuts. Perhaps the greatest individual loss is that which has happened to Messrs T and J. Smith of Richmond Rd, who have no less than 13,740 square feet of glass completely pulverised, involving a loss of between £200 and £300.

Richmond: The windows all along the riverside of Hill St and King St have been smashed without mercy.

Roman Catholic Chapel, Richmond: One side faces NE and although not in an exposed position, nearly one fourth of the panes, both of ground and coloured glass were broken.

Guildford: We had an awful thunderstorm for two hours or more, from 11pm to 1am. I never saw the like before - one continued blaze of light and one continuous roll of thunder.

Granchester Mill, Cambridge: Lightning and thunder was incessant, there was about 56 flashes per minute.

Cambridge Observatory: Terrible thunderstorm passed over Cambridge during the night of August 2nd and morning of the 3rd, the severity of which has not been equalled in Cambridge since the memorable hailstorm of August 9th, 1843. The weather during the morning of the 2nd was pleasant, slight haze was noticed round the horizon, with a moderate breeze from east; by 5 o'clock cumuli began to collect from the southeast and the atmosphere became rather oppressive and slight fears were entertained that a thunderstorm might occur but towards 8.00pm, the clouds began to move and break up and it was not until 9.45pm, that thunder was first heard, the wind then having very strong; by 10pm the violence of the storm was over us, the sky was illuminated for 1 hour with incessant flashes of sheet and forked lightning, whilst there was a continuous rorar with thunder rain and wind. At 11pm, the moon began to break through the clouds and hopes again were entertained that the worst was over but at 1.45 am another storm arose far more severe, lasting till 5am, the rain the whole time was alarming and the sky was blazing with incessant sheet and occasional forked lightning.

Haughley, Suffolk: We had a most fearful storm of lightning, thunder and rain about 2.30am till about 4.15am. The whole atmosphere was kept alight by lightning , the darkness being momentary.

Selborne

Thunder 6 days

Rain: 6.45" (+3.27")

Rain days: 22

Highest max: 79.0F (12th)

Hitchen

Cold wet month

Rain: 4.61" (+2.26")

Rain days: 18

Highest max: 71.0F (11th, 15th)

Banbury

The storm of 2nd, which was very severe, commenced a little after 8.00pm, with lightning of a purple colour and very frequently accompanied by rattling thunder.

Rain: 4.31" (+2.18")

Rain days: 19

Highest max: 76.0F (12th)

Culford

The thunder and hailstorm of 2nd and 3rd was most terrific; the thunder was one continuous roar and the hailstones were a tremendous size, some of them measuring 5 inches in circumference; upwards of of a thousand panes of glass were broken here.

Cossey

The nights were cold and the crops matured slowly. Harvest commenced here on the 29th, 8 days later than in 1860. During the height of the storm on the morning of the 3rd the sheet lightning came in regular waves with forked lightning very few seconds followed by loud peals of thunder. No such storm has been known here since 1843.

Shifnal

Thunderstorm with violent wind on the night of 2nd. Tomatoes on wall do not even blossom.

Rain: 6.16" (+3.29")

Rain days: 18

Highest max: 74.0F (11th, 12th)

Killingholme

A cold month; no harvest work begun beyond cutting some worthless crops of peas. Apples, pears and plums a failure.

Haverfordwest

Wheat and barley will not be half a crop. Very severe thunderstorm on the 2nd.

Rain: 7.59" (+2.71")

Rain days: 22

Highet max: 74.0F (12th, 13th)

Hawick

Oats and barley are only beginning to colour. Apples and pears will not ripen this season and no plims. Potato disease very bad.

Braemar

A month of changeable cold damp weather

Rain: 4.15" (+0.31")

Rain days: 21

Highest max: 73.8F (12th)

Darryane

Potato disease spreading much. Harvest very backward.

Edited by Mr_Data

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Just a quick question - there was no major erruption or anything else prior to this long cold spell ? The reason I ask is that one of the characteristics of the period is the remarkable lack of sunshine - did anything happen which could have contributed to large increases in cloud cover ?

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Rabaul erupted in 1878 but whether this contributed to the extended cold, I'm not sure.

September

Banbury

Highest max: 68.0F (3rd)

Some corn still uncut. Harvest both deficient in quality and quantity

Culford

Mean temp: 55.4F

Polar winds on 8 days. Severe thunderstorm on the night of the 16th

Bodmin

Highest max: 67.0F (15th)

Mean temp: 57.8F

Shifnal

Highest max: 67.0F (6th)

Harvest sadly prolonged.

Orleton

11th month in succession below the mean average. Latest harvest ever remembered.

Boston

Highest max: 73.0F (3rd)

The harvest is the lastest known since 1860. Wheat was not in ear until the end of the first week in July, in 1860 it was a few days later. The average time for this district is 16th of June, the earliest being 27th May 1868, in which year the mean temp of May, June and July respectively were 8F, 3F and 2F above the average; this year the temps of those month were 5F, 2F and 5F below the average.

Grimsby

Highest max: 70.0F (7th)

The unsettled weather of the previous months still continued and harvest work still a gloomy and depressing task.

Hawick

The potato crop has not failed so completely in this district since 1847

Sandwick

Highest max: 61.0F (8th)

Mean temp low, in fact that all of the months this year has been below the average of the last 52 years. Sleet on the 29th.

Killaloe

A very unfavourable month for harvest work; crops ripening slowly and unevenly from wet and absence of sunshine.

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Rabaul erupted in 1878 but whether this contributed to the extended cold, I'm not sure.

Probably impossible to confirm one way or the other I guess. I seem to remember though that the year (or two ?) following the Krakatoa eruption were also colder and cloudier than usual.

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Probably impossible to confirm one way or the other I guess. I seem to remember though that the year (or two ?) following the Krakatoa eruption were also colder and cloudier than usual.

Funny enough, the following year after Krakatoa erupted (Aug 1883) was the warmest year for the CET since 1868.

Edited by Mr_Data

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October

Selborne

NE winds prevailed during the dry part of the month.

Highest max: 63.0F (6th)

Lowest min: 28.0F (26th)

Hitchen

Harvest still not completed

Highest max: 60.0F (1st)

Lowest min: 29.0F (15th)

Culford

Polar winds prevailed during 10 days.

Shifnal

Fog or mist daily, from 5th to 14th, with high bar. Apples almost a failure, pears abundant but many spoilt by cracking.

Highest max: 61.0F (1st)

Lowest min: 27.3F (16th)

Boston

A great deal of dull foggy weather. Slight fall of snow on 15th.

Grimsby

Short crop of apples and pears. Turnips very small on clay land.

Highest max: 60.0F (1st, 24th)

Lowest min: 33.0F (26th)

North Shields

Snow and hail on 14th and 15th.

Highest max: 59.2F (23rd)

Lowest min: 31.4F (26th)

Haverfordwest

Finest and driest October for many years.

Highest max: 63.0F (6th)

Lowest min: 37.0F (25th)

Quinish

A fine month on the whole with a very unusual amount of calm and fog. Slight hoar frost from 25th to 29th.

Aberdeen

A fine, dry month, though at times cold.

Highest max: 61.2F (10th)

Lowest min: 30.1F (27th)

Darrynane Abbey

A fine month with northerly and easterly winds and very calm sea.

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November

Culford

A month of exceedingly cold and winterly, snow falling more or less on 11 days. NWly prevailed during the greater part of the month.

Cossey

Snow about 5 inches deep on the level on the 30th.

Highest max: 51.0F (5th)

Lowest min: 23.5F (22nd)

Air frosts: 11

Shifnal

First snow fell on the 20th; Winds persistently from NW, N and NE. Ice would bear on 16th.

Highest max: 54.0F (18th)

Lowest min: 19.0F (15th)

Air frosts: 16

York

First snow on 1st, ice bore on the 15th.

Highest max: 57.0F (5th)

Lowest min: 24.0F (23rd)

Air frosts: 12

Annahill

Prevailing winds NE and NW

Highest max: 54.8F (20th)

Lowest min: 24.0F (30th)

Air frosts: 12

Quinish

Hard frosts from 24th to 30th

Portree

Four last days of month frosty with showers of snow

Sandwick

The weather ws open until 29th, when a snowstorm began and still continues (Dec 2nd)

Highest max: 53.0F (9th)

Lowest min: 28.8F (30th)

Air frosts: 3

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December

This had an exceptionally cold start. 21st November-19th December CET: -0.3

There were some exceptionally low minima including the now discredited -23F (-30.5C) at Blackadder in Berwickshire, which for many years was accepted as the record minimum recorded in the UK

Here are some other very low minima recorded in this spell.

dec1879a.jpg

dec1879b.jpg

From the Times of 4th December 1879

dec1879ca.jpg

dec1879cb.jpg

December continued.

Camden Square

A month of fogs

Highest max: 52.8F (28th)

Lowest min: 16.1F (7th)

24 air frosts

Selborne

Heavy snow on 5th, prevailing wind north

Highest max: 47.0F (28th)

Lowest min: 8.0F (7th)

Banbury

Mean temp: 32.0F

Highest max: 52.0F (28th)

Lowest min: 8.0F (6th)

Culford

A remarkably cold month (mean themp: 30.4F) with much hoar frost and fog. Only 5 nights which did not fall below 32F and 10 days where it did not exceed as 32F for maximum. On the 6th, the thermometer registered 1F and on the surface of the snow, -6F.

Cossey

A dry cold month, Min in air on 2nd, 4F, and on snow -8F

Cirencester

Very cold with great prevalence of E and NE winds

Shifnal

The ice was 3 inches thick on the 1st and 4 inches by the 7th. Very little snow; much fog, especially from 16th to 19th. Milder weather set in on the 28th

Highest max: 53.0F (28th)

Lowest min: 11.0F (7th)

23 air frosts

Orleton

The rivers were all frozen by the 3rd.

Highest max: 57.0F (28th)

Lowest min: 13.0F (7th)

25 air frosts

Boston

During the first 2 weeks, the weather was intensely cold, the mean temp of that period being 24F or 16F below the average. The mean min temp 17F

Highest max: 53.0F (31st)

Lowest min: 0.0F (7th)

26 air frosts

Manchester

On the whole dry and cold, fog more prevalent than usual and on the 12th most intense. The cold on the 7th was also very intense and the temp recorded was 10F at Alexandra Park. 4 inches of snow on 6th.

Highest max: 48.0F (27th)

Lowest min: 10.0F (7th)

Haverfordwest

The frost during the first 5 days very intense, the river Cleddy more or less completely frozen. The frost continued till the 24th and skating was enjoyed almost the whole of that time.

Highest max: 52.2F (31st)

Lowest min: 11.0F (5th)

19 air frosts

Hawick

Thermometers at zero on 3rd and 2 below on 11th. Many of the more tender shrubs are much injured.

Killaloe

Severe frost every night till 14th.

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Mr Data,

These are superb posts, wonderful reading, particularly like how reports came in from individuals. Very evocative reading... no media hype, just how it was, wish we had similiar reports today.

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130 years ago, the start of that exceptionally cold spell.

Max, min temperatures (F) recorded at Nancy, France

November 1879

26th: 30,37

27th: 23,31

28th: 16,29

29th: 18,30

30th: 26,31

December

1st: 25,31

2nd: 20,22

3rd: 2,17

4th: 10,32

5th: 20,22

6th: 16,24

7th: -5,10

8th: -12,4

9th: -7,13

10th: -11,12

11th: 17,22

12th: 24,26

13th: 20,26

14th: 2,17

15th: 7,19

16th: 0,16

17th: -3,16

18th: 6,23

19th: 12,30

20th: 18,25

21st: 0,13

22nd: -3,15

23rd: 0,26

24th: -3,15

25th: -3,16

26th: 8,26

27th: 17,24

28th: 1,26

29th: 28,35

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All those numbers seem positively warm compared to a typical year in Buxton Derbyshire.

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All those numbers seem positively warm compared to a typical year in Buxton Derbyshire.

I would dread what your posts would be like if we experience a summer anywhere near that cold! Although to be fair, i think every member would be moaning if we have a summer that cold. :rofl:

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I would dread what your posts would be like if we experience a summer anywhere near that cold! Although to be fair, i think every member would be moaning if we have a summer that cold. :wallbash:

Not quite every member.

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