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The winter of 1995-96


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I remember the Sun having an article during November 1995 saying the Met Office were predicting this to be a bad winter compared to recent ones They certainly went for a cold winter.

i remember the 30th december well. -26c overnight minimum here; apart from lots of burst pipes, the beer froze in my hand on the porch before i could drink it.

There was an article about the surprise thaw overnight 27th/28th January 1996 shortly afterwards in the "Weather" journal. Even at Cleadon near the east coast the thaw was unusual (the snow only thaw

Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    Thanks for this upload - haven't seen many bbc forecasts from dec 95. What date was this? - the 17th December? I remember the week leading up to christmas was quite wintry with a battle taking place between the bitter arctic continental air in the north and milder atlantic air from the south, the bitter air eventually winning out by the 23rd.

    Would love to see any bbc forecast from between 23rd - 30th December, preferably from the 26th or 27th showing those -20's symbols over the highlands very rare to see them but I think they were shown at the time.

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    I remember those forecasts around mid-December 1995, thinking "will it be a white Christmas or not?" and being held in suspense over whether those southerly tracking lows would push milder air northwards towards the big day. They did, but only for Arctic air to return south to most areas by Christmas Eve, which set the Tyne and Wear area up nicely for its white Christmas, and I remember a spate of forecasts around the 18th-23rd December 1995, each giving some sort of evolution to a cold and, in places, snowy Christmas Day.

    I do remember, though, that most forecasts predicted a mix of sun and snow showers across most of the UK on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day before becoming drier from the west on Boxing Day. In the event, snow showers and longer spells of snow did occur widely on Christmas Eve but on Christmas Day the polar low moved out into the North Sea and showers ended up somewhat more confined to north-facing coasts. This may well have disappointed a fair number of snow lovers (though certainly not those in the Tyne and Wear area, who had a white Christmas in the sense of both snow falling and lying).

    Again thanks for those uploads- this was during the era when I watched BBC forecasts almost religiously, and 1995 was my favourite year for weather.

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    Thanks Mr Data for the countryfile forecast from 4th Feb 96 - its one I have been anticipating to see for quite some time. The forecast however underestimated the strength of the block to the NE and the front stalled in situ over western britain on the Monday and remained lodged in place until later the following Tuesday - thus the NE was spared much precipitation, this meant a decidely wintry week for many places with only the far SW and N Irelans experiencing any milder conditions. Would love to see a forecast from the 5th.

    Also love the word blizzard slapped across southern scotland.

    If you could post a bbc forecast from the 26th or 27th December 1995 you really would be spoiling me!

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    Posted
  • Location: Valencia, Spain or Angmering, West Sussex
  • Weather Preferences: 22-38C in summer with storms, cold in winter with some snow/or 15-25C
  • Location: Valencia, Spain or Angmering, West Sussex

    How about new year period 1996-1997?, that was the first cold spell i remember being only 3 then and was certainly very potent looking at the archives, maybe the second best of the 90s after Feb 91 and the best between 92-09 until the cold spell in January 2010 turned up.

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    How about new year period 1996-1997?, that was the first cold spell i remember being only 3 then and was certainly very potent looking at the archives, maybe the second best of the 90s after Feb 91 and the best between 92-09 until the cold spell in January 2010 turned up.

    Yes the late dec 96 - early jan 97 cold spell was probably nationwide the coldest spell of weather in between Feb 91 and Jan 2010. It brought a fair number of ice days for many places and quite a few days with snow cover - though falls were unexceptional thanks to lack of potent trough/frontal action, still many eastern parts saw day after day of heavy snow showers - a much tamer version of late Nov - early dec 10 mind.

    The late Dec 95 cold spell only really affected northern parts especially Scotland.

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    Posted
  • Location: Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire
  • Location: Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire

    There are quite a few events that I would love to see in these forecasts.

    December 2000, 1999, February 2001, March 2006, some other snow events during the past 10-15 years would be really nice.

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    Posted
  • Location: Wimbledon
  • Location: Wimbledon

    I remember this as a decent winter- better than 96-97 in South Staffs. December with some cold bright days and also freezing fog and some light snow. Late Jan was cold- remember waiting for the bus in Perry Barr then Feb had one decent snowfall, probably 5 or 6 inches making the journey to work a struggle. I seem to remember frost going on for ages though- I crossed a canal every day and it seemed to be frozen over for weeks on end, but that may be just my memory!

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    Posted
  • Location: Motherwell, Lanarkshire
  • Location: Motherwell, Lanarkshire

    Good memories from Feb '96 as a 15 year old high school pupil at the time - was 'work experience' week and travelled to Paisley for a placement but got sent home on the second day as the weather worsened because people were being advised not to travel and I got a few bonus days off school!

    December '95 was something else though, nudging -20C in the urban central belt of Scotland around about 28/29 December. More notable for the low temperatures than snow amounts though, though I seem to remember about a week's consecutive snow cover before it got washed away around new year. Up until the last two winters late '95 was the last time I had seen the upper River Clyde properly frozen over in full.

    Can't remember anything at all about '96 - '97 off the top of my head! Not sure if there was much wintry weather in central Scotland.

    Edited by spindrift1980
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    Posted
  • Location: Wimbledon
  • Location: Wimbledon

    Oh yeah and the freezing rain. Can't remember whether Jan or Feb 96- someone mentioned it earlier in the thread. The only time I have ever seen this properly- I remember watching it fall at night and thinking why is everything shining and glittering outside. Then stepping out to find every surface coated with ice- lethal. What I especially remember is being able to peel leaf shaped ice pieces off the privet at the front of the house.

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    I remember those conditions well, on the Monday at minor altitude (140m), there was on and off rain, but mostly sleet and snow for 18 hours, total snow depths were around 4 inches, but at sea level locally there was rain, it would have been far greater if it was all snow, in Ebbw Vale at the top of the Welsh Valleys there was 18 inches of snow.

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    Posted
  • Location: Ludgershall, Wiltshire
  • Location: Ludgershall, Wiltshire

    Oh yeah and the freezing rain. Can't remember whether Jan or Feb 96- someone mentioned it earlier in the thread. The only time I have ever seen this properly- I remember watching it fall at night and thinking why is everything shining and glittering outside. Then stepping out to find every surface coated with ice- lethal. What I especially remember is being able to peel leaf shaped ice pieces off the privet at the front of the house.

    The freezing rain event occured on the 30th December 95. I remember the forecast the night before was for a fair amount of snow across many parts before turning to rain as the milder air won out. This never materialised however (not in the south anyway!) and we got a freezing rain event instead.

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    Posted
  • Location: Bratislava (240m)
  • Location: Bratislava (240m)

    I think you're both right actually.

    There were two major freezing rain events in the south that winter: one at the end of December and one in late January, both bookending the relatively mild period in-between the cold spells of late December and late January/early February.

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    I remember that the BBC forecasts suggested a fair amount of snow on the 30th/31st December 1995, and in the event ended up conceding that most of it fell as freezing rain- a similar problem still catches forecasters out nowadays.

    I remember the week following the 4th February 1996 being a bit of a disappointment in Tyneside for the same reasons as why it was so memorable in Cumbria and north Lancashire. The forecast suggested bands of snow frequently penetrating to NE England with snow showers off the North Sea in between, and in reality we ended up with southerly winds (hence no snow showers off the North Sea), and the Atlantic fronts struggled to make it over the Pennines, so we had just a few centimetres.

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    I remember those conditions well, on the Monday at minor altitude (140m), there was on and off rain, but mostly sleet and snow for 18 hours, total snow depths were around 4 inches, but at sea level locally there was rain, it would have been far greater if it was all snow, in Ebbw Vale at the top of the Welsh Valleys there was 18 inches of snow.

    Places further north at sea level managed to see snow rather than rain. The west coast of Cumbria was very badly affected especially areas around st bees. Here we also recorded 18 inches - and we haven't bettered this since - closest we have come on the 21st Dec 09 with about a foot of snow.

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    Looks like they overestimated the "spread" of shower activity on the big day even on forecasts the night before. If I remember rightly not many showers penetrated inland from the usual north and east-facing coasts during Christmas Day 1995, following rather more widespread falls from the polar low on Christmas Eve.

    It didn't matter for the Tyne and Wear area where snow showers crept about 10 miles inland from the North Sea at times, but in many central and western parts of Britain that also missed the Christmas Eve snowfalls it may have rather disappointed a number of people.

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    Looks like they overestimated the "spread" of shower activity on the big day even on forecasts the night before. If I remember rightly not many showers penetrated inland from the usual north and east-facing coasts during Christmas Day 1995, following rather more widespread falls from the polar low on Christmas Eve.

    It didn't matter for the Tyne and Wear area where snow showers crept about 10 miles inland from the North Sea at times, but in many central and western parts of Britain that also missed the Christmas Eve snowfalls it may have rather disappointed a number of people.

    Yes we didn't catch any snow showers on christmas day and despite a thick frost on the ground we had no snow cover, so it wasn't recorded as a white christmas. However, the next few days brought severe cold weather to Cumbria with sub zero maxima and minima down to -18 degrees during the early hours of 29th. We were forecasted snow by the 31st, but instead saw freezing rain. So despite it being an exceptionally cold christmas week it was unusually snowless at the same time - still the frost made for a very white scene with icicles everywhere. Christmas week is what I call the 7 day spell vetween 24th and 31st - Christmas week 1995 hasn't been bettered since in my book in terms of wintry conditions, yes christmas week 1996, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009 (especially) brought snowfall and widespread frosts but nothing on the scale of 1995 - mind had the events of the 20/21st Dec 2009 occured on the 24/25th Dec then I probably would have rated christmas week 2009 equally if not slightly better than 1995.

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    Posted
  • Location: Portland, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Mixed winters and springs, thundery summers and meditteranean autumns
  • Location: Portland, Dorset

    A winter I remember very well for being particularly dull with periods of bitterly cold easterly winds. (Living in Birmingham)

    The change in early December was quite sudden, from 12 c in fog and rain with gentle SSW winds, to near zero with frequent snow showers two days later in that biting easterly.

    I will never forget the 24th January, following that night of persistent freezing rain, and everywhere was coated in thick ice just like a glacier mint. As the ice dried, the groaning and creaking of the trees (especially cherries) was weird ! When frequent snow showers followed on the 25th, the powdery snow lay on top of the clear ice, and minor roads were extremely treacherous !

    The huge snowfall of 6th February remains unforgotten too - everyone had to dig their way out and dig their way around, and main roads were in an awful mess as the strong SE wind preceding the snowfall had swept the grit-salt away.

    Another lighter snowfall on 12th March was followed by a penetrating frost, and those familiar leaden skies coupled with a near gale easterly - not pleasant.

    Another snowfall on 13th April, as a whole day of raw, persistent rain changed to snow in the late afternoon - by dusk (8 pm or so), around 10 cm of snow was lying.

    The periods of biting winds continued to be an annoying occurrence well into May too, and on the evening of the 9th, coming out of the pub around 11 pm, all the windscreens were already frozen solid.

    Edited by Portland Paul
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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    Mr Data - you are a star, been waiting to see forecasts from christmas 95 for ages - if you have one from the 27th, 28th or even better 29th that would be superb, I think the 29th would be best with the -20 degree symbol over scotland..

    Must say I am really enjoying see all these old clips from the mid 90's - I remember the weather between 93 - 97 exceptionally well particularly cold of late nov 93, christmas 93, mid feb 94, early march 95, summer 95, winter 95/96 as a whole and the cold of dec 96 and early jan 97.

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