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Posted
  • Location: Aberdeen 33m asl
  • Location: Aberdeen 33m asl

    Today I noticed a very wintry picture in the local paper from January 1959 so decided to check out the month on the Chart Archive. It seems there was a sustained Northerly lasting nearly 3 and half weeks due to the presence of a Greenland High. Snow depths in North East Scotland must have been collosal. I may have missed it but it seems nobody has touched on this very wintry month from 48 years ago. Does anyone have any stats/snow depths from this month, particularly for the Aberdeen area? Thanks

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

    The only stats I can remember is that there were 13 days of lying snow at 0900 at Durham, 3 such days at Valley (Anglesey), the CET was just 1.6C, and it was widely the sunniest January since records began. According to Trevor Harley's site the middle of the month, when the northerlies started to run out of steam a little, was particularly cold. I agree that it must have been very snowy in Aberdeenshire as it was dominated by a setup that normally brings a dumping of snow to that region.

    Certainly the synoptics were very unusual- I haven't been able to locate any other examples of a winter northerly sustaining that long. It appears that the jet was weak and took a southerly track, with pressure persistently high over Greenland and low to the northeast.

    It's probably a forgotten month because all the other months of the 1958/59 season were remarkably snow free, resulting in a winter that wasn't particularly snowy overall, while it occurred in the middle of a period when there were many snowy winters, e.g. 1955, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1963.

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    • 2 weeks later...
    • 13 years later...
    Posted
  • Location: near Edenbridge - 178ft
  • Weather Preferences: Cold snowy winters and cool, wet springs and summers.
  • Location: near Edenbridge - 178ft

    What I find interesting is that the cold January of 1959 is the only thing that stopped 1959 being the warmest year on record at the time. If the cold had come just a little earlier then 1959 would have had an annual CET of about 10.7C, a figure that would still register in the top four of all time. The same also applies to 1997 which was also let down by a cold January in an otherwise remarkably mild year.  

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    Posted
  • Location: halifax 125m
  • Weather Preferences: extremes the unusual and interesting facts
  • Location: halifax 125m

    Not Aberdeen but looking at other Met office sites

    Nairn has average highs at 3.4 and lows at -1.6......Average 0.9 deg with 21 air frosts

    Leuchars high 4.0,low of -2.4....Average  0.8 deg,24 air frosts.

    Thats good going for coastal regions.

    0.65 deg here in the pennines and 22 AF

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheshire
  • Location: Cheshire

    Not strictly relevant but Brazell's very good book on London weather had Jan 1959 as the only month of 1959 when the mean temperature (37.3F) was below the average (-2.2F), with the 14th the coldest day of the month (33.1F max). The next month with below average temperatures was July 1960. 1959 was obviously a good year weather-wise and we had to miss it, my family being in the tropics throughout the year!

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    • 4 weeks later...
    Posted
  • Location: Dundee
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, thunderstorms, gales. All extremes except humidity.
  • Location: Dundee

    I lived in Tain in Ross-shire in January 1959 and have a number of photographs of myself playing in the snow. Can't really remember the actual weather that brought it though as I was just under two at the time. 😟

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

    Here's what I can piece together as a summary of January 1959's weather:

    North-westerly winds prevailed on the first four days bringing progressively colder temperatures and some wintry showers, but nothing major.  Then between the 5th and 7th, fronts moved across much of England bringing snow on their northern flank, particularly to the Midlands and northern England.  Some southern areas also had some "backward edge" snow as the Arctic air mass came in behind the last of the fronts.  For Scotland, it was brighter while turning increasingly cold as the north-westerlies were replaced by a direct northerly flow.

    ERA_1_1959010700_1.png

    From the 8th to 11th it was generally cold and sunny for most with a northerly flow but there was frequent snow for northern Scotland and some troughs in the northerly flow brought snowfalls to other parts of the country as well.  Maxima were widely below zero.  On the 11th/12th a low pressure system intensified in the North Sea as less cold air entered its circulation, bringing widespread snow but many areas reported a wintry mix for a time as the less cold air took hold.  This might have resulted in the snow cover turning more icy as the cold air quickly re-established afterwards, but areas that had snow cover generally held onto most of it.

    ERA_1_1959011000_1.png

    ERA_1_1959011200_1.png

    Then from the 13th-15th the cold air intensified, with depressions bringing precipitation - probably again snow on its northern flank - into southern areas at times, and cold sunny weather elsewhere, with sharp night frosts and freezing fog.

    ERA_1_1959011512_1.png

    The northerly flow finally ran out of steam on the 15th/16th, and this was followed by a temporary change to much milder weather as pressure built to the south-east and we got southerly and south-westerly winds, bringing increasingly wet and windy weather.  However, pressure remained high over Greenland.

    ERA_1_1959011912_1.png

    Then a cold, showery north-westerly set in with sunshine and wintry showers, although snow cover from this wasn't particularly widespread.

    ERA_1_1959012312_1.png

    Then the last week was anticyclonic and quite cold.  Most areas again had plenty of sunshine during this spell, with high pressure favourably placed to bring little in the way of cloud, but frost and fog occurred widely at night.

    ERA_1_1959012812_1.png

    This led into a very anticyclonic February, although in February a slack south-easterly flow often brought more in the way of cloud into many parts of the country.

    Overall January 1959 remains the sunniest January on record for the UK as a whole, assisted by the high frequency of cold, clear northerly and north-westerly types and the anticyclonic last week.  The cold first half brought 10-15 days of lying snow to a large portion of the country, and northern Scotland was particularly snowy.

     

     

    Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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