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Winter 1990-91 The great December snowstorm/February freeze

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So very jealous :)

i remember feb 91 i was very young and we had several days of snow down in sussex and i didnt melt went sledging up the south downs have not seen snow like that down here since!

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Hi Phil, I just noticed that you live in Solihull too! You'll know the Safeways I was on about as well, albeit a Tesco now. I don't suppose you have any photos you wouldn't mind sharing?

As for it happening again, I doubt it too. We are well overdue a decent fall of snow though, so fingers crossed! :oops:

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I remember feb 1991 very well,It was on the 6th of feb my wife went into labour,I called an ambulance it started to snow I followed up behind the ambulance to medway hospital about half hour later,By the time i got to rainham it was so deep my car got stuck,then from nowhere a guy gave me a push this was at 2am on the 7th,Well to cut a long story short my wife gave birth to a girl,Rachel louise,I had to go and pick her up in my mates land rover with no heater,Now 18 years later looks like its going to snow again for my daughter on her 18th birthday,Yes i remember the feb snow very well, :nonono:

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February 1991 was a cold and wintry month with heavy snowfalls and very low maxima across many parts of the UK. This was far removed from the last three winters and was the coldest spell for the UK since January 1987. The CET for the month was 1.5C

The month began with a trough across the UK bringing heavy showery rain to the south but snowfalls to northern England.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119910201.gif

High pressure was over Scandinavia and this began to exert an influence over the UK as a cold easterly developed on the 2nd.

With each day, the easterly strengthed and introduced even colder air, so by the 6th, many areas of the UK was below freezing.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119910206.gif

This marked the start of a very cold snowy spell with very low maxima and heavy snowfalls.

Snow showers came in on the easterly and at first they were most concentrated in eastern counties of England and the snow was dry and powdery and drifted in the strong wind.

By the evening of the 6th, the snowfalls were spreading to many parts of England and Wales so by the morning of the 7th, many areas woke up to a covering with a severe and penetrating frost

for example depths of snow at Gatwick were 7cm and a minimum of -11.7C was recorded. Heavy snowfalls fell throughout the day as troughs moved across the UK.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119910208.gif

Maxima were very low between -5 and -6C in many southern areas, Guersney Airport recorded a maximum of just -7.2C. Depths of snow was widely approaching 10cm+ across England with drifting in the easterly wind. The snow brought travel chaos particularly on the trains, where British Rail made the legendary excuse that the chaos was caused by the wrong type of snow.

Villages on Exmoor were cut off by drifts approaching 2m. Cars were abandoned on roads and motorways as they became impassable to the drifting snow. Canals and ponds began to freeze and skating became possible. Parts of the shoreline of the Bristol Channel froze as did the Norfolk Broads and parts of Swansea Bay. Power lines in the SE were brought down in the blizzards causing blackouts.

By the 8th, conditions were severe over many areas with depths of snow approaching 20cm in a number of areas. Hampstead recorded 25cm of level snow, St James's Park in central London 20cm, probably the deepest snow there since December 1962, Bingley, West Yorkshire 47cm, Pencelli in Powys 35cm. With low pressure to the south and a trough across the UK, heavy snow showers and longer spells of snow fell throughout most of the 8th.

There was another severe frost on the night of the 8th and 9th with minima down to -10C but conditions had eased slightly on the 9th as the snow showers were less heavy and frequent but it was still very cold with maxima around

-4C.

The weather had relented a little more on the 10th and temperatures rose just above freezing in the sunshine but snow showers continued in the east giving fresh falls. At night however, the frosts were at their severest with minima as low as -15C being recorded.

A low pressure moved into western areas on the 12th with rain but as this engaged the cold air it turned readily to snow and gave a fresh covering to eastern areas. Stansted Airport was closed at one stage because of heavy snow and depths here were approaching 24cm.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119910212.gif

High pressure built across the UK and there were further frosts at night and a slow thaw during the day. In any freezing fog patches, temperatures remained below freezing.

By the 15th, a front had moved into western areas bringing drizzle and a gentle thaw but by the 16th, a northerly flow was across the UK and there were further frosts and ice where snow had thawed.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119910216.gif

It was until the 20th that the Atlantic systems finally broke through bringing very mild SWlies, much rain especially over western slopes and a rapid thaw.

Temperatures were widely in double figures with London 13.9C and Lowestoft 14.7C.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119910223.gif

Colder SElies returned to NE parts right at the end of the month.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119910228.gif

February 1991: 1.5 (-2.3)

First half of February 1991: -1.5

3rd-14th February: -1.9

Coldest CET maximum day: -2.2C 7th February

Coldest CET minimum night: -7.2C 14th February

20 years ago

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A memorable winter for me.

I lived in Darlington, Co Durham at the time. The December snowstorm was a bit of a letdown as everywhere in a line roughly east of the A1 had snow that didn't settle much. West of the A1 into the pennines had spectacular falls in a very short time and many smaller villages were cut off for a while.

The february spell was a blinder for that part of the world, a week of falling and accumulating snow, followed by almost two weeks in the freezer with around a foot of snow not really thawing. I remember one night we met a couple of girls that had a 4 wheel drive and we drove up to teesdale. The snow was so high on the side of the roads where it had been ploughed that it was almost like driving through a tunnel of snow. Pretty well progged by the forecasters on the bbc as was the breakdown which arrived on cue and melted the snow very quickly.

Part of me wondered whether Feb 1991 would be the last truly severe prolonged winter spell that I would witness. And then 2 comparable spells arrived within 12 months of each other!

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I remember this winter well.

The december event was a midlands affair in the main. However, I do vividly remember being on my bike on the local park and a blizzard suddenly striking down forcing me to quickly retreat back home. I don't remember there being a great amount of snow probably a couple of inches at best.

Early January was quite wintry with some wintry snow showers from time to time in a cold north westerly. The rest of the month was mostly settled and cold with lots of frost.

We didn't see much snow in Feb, a couple of inches which lasted a few days but was gone by the Friday (16th). The eastern half of the country bore the brunt of the snow.

In a league of 90's winter, I would class it second after 95/96 which in overview was a far more wintry season and one which started earlier and lasted much longer - the cold lasting through till the end of March.

Comparing 90/91 to winters 08/09, 09/10, and 10/11 so far.. mmm I think it was on a par with 08/09, along way behind 09/10 which eclipsed 95/96 not due to the amounts of snow, but more the sustained cold and length of snow cover, and probably a little better than this winter so far, simply because apart from december the rest of this winter so far has been devoid of any proper cold and completely devoid almost of snow - still time for it to redeem itself and be on a par with 90/91 and even better.

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Here are a series of tv reports from 8th Dec 1990 and Feb 1991. The Feb ‘91 reports start from around 10mins 40secs:

 

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On 11/12/2008 at 22:33, clark3r said:

i remember feb 91 i was very young and we had several days of snow down in sussex and i didnt melt went sledging up the south downs have not seen snow like that down here since!

tell you who will @feb1991blizzard

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Gosh I commented on this 8 years ago..

Remembering back to Feb 8 1991 which was a Friday like this year - it marked the last day of the first stage of the new term, so was looking forward to the half term holidays. I remember thinking we'd escaped the snow, compared to the rest of the country, however, it arrived late morning and I think we were sent home early in the afternoon.. we didn't receive significant amounts but remember the bitter wind chill that accompanied it.

The following days were then mostly fine and very cold, no fresh snow I seem to recall but the snow stuck around until the 15th when some light snow arrived, and then a thaw.

It was the only notable cold snowy spell between Jan 1987 and Dec 1995, we had spells in Dec 90, Dec 93, Feb 94 but nothing as sustained.

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This was the infamous wrong kind of snow on the railways pathetic exuse.

This classic song was in the charts then,always reminds me of that powdery snow drifting in literally,nothing as crazy as late feb/early march event this year,quite a lot tamer feb 1991 in wind terms.

 

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Recently found these from Feb 1991 in East Leeds. I remember that winter well.

img012.jpg

img013.jpg

img014.jpg

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Wow, 28 years ago!  I remember it very well after 4 long years after January 1987.  Did have some photos but have since been lost sadly.

Edited by Don

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