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cyclonic happiness

The Great Midlands Blizzard 9th December 1990

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It was the Motorbike Show at the NEC that year (it used to alternate between London and Birmingham).

The snow only became serious later in the day so an unusual number of bikes were caught out trying to get home and had little choice but to abandon machines.

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I believe I was also at the NEC onthat day-we left in rain and sleet and got back home in good time,however one of the reps I knew had to stay to clear his stand and got stuck must of the night north of Birmingham.

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From recollection it was the first time the motor show had come to the NEC in Birmingham.

Heres a walk down memory lane from me........

Living by the NEC (Solihull) at the time most of the area had thundersnow (flashes of blue lightening before the storm began)at about 23.00 on the friday evening. It snowed all night here with huge wet flakes, until next morning there was 10-12 inches of snow by 08.00...

HOWEVER, It continued snowing heavily and when it finally abated at about 13.00 hours there was 18-20 inches on the ground.

As people have remarked the worst area was a strip about 25 - 40 mles wide starting in the Northeast England moving down to the West Midlands from roughly Hinckley westwards to Birmingham. Places outside that area received no snow. as a small low moved in to North East England from the NNE off the North Sea. I remember the local met forcast at 10:00 suddenly issueing a sever warning for this area.

The major problem it caused was because the people outside this area coming to the NEC were unaware of the conditions that morning in the Central Midlands belt and so set off. The M6 to the East of the NEC rapidly became totally blocked towards Coventry and it took about 24 hours to re-open up to the Coventry Service area. Many people were stranded overnight on that section of about 5 miles and were sheltered at the Corley Service area. As Bish has said the views where stunning with snow totally covering shrubs 18 inches high in my garden

I have some manual photos and they are stil staggering to look at how little was visible out of my back windows due to the depth of the lying snow, with lots of branches broken off.

Don't know if anyone else has any memories?

I think it was one of the best half dozen events I remember in my 68 years of life, and yes I was

blocked in for 2-3 weeks on the Lincolnshire Nottinghamshire border (Near Retford) in the 47 Winter. I can remember the snow being over the hedges when I was taken out sledging with my family in that event.

MIA

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I have some manual photos and they are stil staggering to look at how little was visible out of my back windows due to the depth of the lying snow, with lots of branches broken off.

Thanks for the great contribution MIA. Looks like you have very similar recollections as mine regarding things like tree damage.

And of course, only a few weeks later we had the famous February 1991 easterly - indeed a classic winter for this area. Interestingly enough, despite all the snow from these two events, I don't think it was an especially cold winter CET-wise?

Bish

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Not just the Midlands were effected. Northern England aswell. Winds here appear to have been stronger here with a gust to 85mph at Warcop Range.

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You certainly have a good memory MIA of 1947, I have vague recollections of constant snow, cold, shortages of fuel, lights constantly going out and just enough coal, topped up with wood from the colliery to keep just one fire going which was also used for the oven alongside it.I was 8 at the time.

I digress-back to the subject.

I was at RAF Finningley close by Doncaster and attended the Officer Mess Xmas Draw. Pouring with rain and no forecast of snow to be met by howls of derision as we came out with about 2 inches of slush on the ground!

I was due to take a friend back to Anglesey on the Sunday, the event was a Friday night. The A1 and M1 south of Doncaster were closed leaving the only way open over the Peak being the M62 as the A57 and A 628 were also shut. My mother lived outside Chesterfield and even on the Tuesday, the village is about 500ft, I was unable to get there. Thursday was the first day open into the village.

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I had 31cm in E Coventry, I know the west of the city, Solihull and Kenilworth had more, with greatest depths of LEVEL snow over 40cm.

Some depths of level snow from 'COL' Dec 1990 accounts:

Coundon Coventry: 28cm, drifts of 2 feet

Knowle: 42cm, many drifts of 3 feet.

Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs: 28cm, 2 metre drifts

Middleton, Derbyshire: 38cm, 3 metre drifts

Willenhall, W Mids, 23cm, 2 feet drifts across drives and lawns,

This illustrates the difficulties in obtaining measurements of level snow following a blizzard.

Edited by TonyH

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I had 31cm in E Coventry, I know the west of the city, Solihull and Kenilworth had more, with greatest depths of LEVEL snow over 40cm.

Some depths of level snow from 'COL' Dec 1990 accounts:

Coundon Coventry: 28cm, drifts of 2 feet

Knowle: 42cm, many drifts of 3 feet.

Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs: 28cm, 2 metre drifts

Middleton, Derbyshire: 38cm, 3 metre drifts

Willenhall, W Mids, 23cm, 2 feet drifts across drives and lawns,

This illustrates the difficulties in obtaining measurements of level snow following a blizzard.

Wow, that is truly amazing - my hometown was literally the #1 place to be for snow depth!

It's funny, over the years I'd started to convince myself that my memory was exaggerating things, that this event couldn't possibly have been quite so severe as I recalled. And then I discovered this wonderful little thread, & realized I was right all along smile.png

Bish

Edited by Bishop Brennan
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I remember this, my Dad lives in Leicester, and I live near Birmingham, I had gone over there for the weekend, never saw it coming! Got up on the Saturday morning and couldn't believe my eyes! We had no shopping in, or toilet roll!! I walked to the nearest co-op in Leicester forest East, having to lift my legs out and over the snow for each step as someone else mentioned. Ended up stuck in Leicester until the Tuesday as it was so bad couldn't get the car off the estate!

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5 hours ago, nats said:

I remember this, my Dad lives in Leicester, and I live near Birmingham, I had gone over there for the weekend, never saw it coming! Got up on the Saturday morning and couldn't believe my eyes! We had no shopping in, or toilet roll!! I walked to the nearest co-op in Leicester forest East, having to lift my legs out and over the snow for each step as someone else mentioned. Ended up stuck in Leicester until the Tuesday as it was so bad couldn't get the car off the estate!

Nat....

For this event there was about 6 hours of warning for some sort of snow event.

It was only 2 hours before that they suddenly issued an emergency warning for warwickshire on the media.

Most people were already in bed.

Sure proves it can happen.

If only....:D:nea::yahoo:

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50 minutes ago, Midlands Ice Age said:

Nat....

For this event there was about 6 hours of warning for some sort of snow event.

It was only 2 hours before that they suddenly issued an emergency warning for warwickshire on the media.

Most people were already in bed.

Sure proves it can happen.

If only....:D:nea::yahoo:

ah, the days when we could ask for a live break into local radio and tv programmes for what was called a 'Flash' message

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Great memories of this event, living near the south-west outskirts of Birmingham (3 miles from Halesowen), aged nearly 16.

Friday evening ( 7th ), overcast with drizzly rain and relatively little wind. The lights in the house kept blinking after about 9 pm ! Went to sleep about 11 pm, then woke to a loud thunderclap just before 2 am. Looking out of my bedroom window, already several cm of lying snow, and poor visibility due to heavy falling snow.

Back to sleep, then awoke 8 am to nearly a foot of level snow with higher drifts. Much of the daylight hours of that Saturday 8th kept blizzard conditions going in a strong northerly or NNE wind, and some huge drifts round the sheltered edges of the local playing fields developed to around four feet.

Small icicles also formed from the bases of fascia boards and guttering during the course of the day.

We spent much of the Sunday 9th clearing our cul-de-sac of snow in the lighter north-easterly winds, and some quite pleasant sunshine, but then misty, wet conditions ran up from the near continent on Monday 10th to shift a fair amount more of the snow, or turn it to slush.

Despite much milder weather in the last ten days of the month, odd piles of cleared snow could still be found in country lane ditches of north Worcestershire a few days after Christmas :)

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I was thinking about this the other day and its the only time I`ve seen a full days blizzard from a wind coming in from the NW here as funneling down the valley.

I`m not sure how the midlands got a blizzard looking at these charts for wind strength I mean look they would be light in the low centre.

Rrea00119901208.gif Rrea00119901209.gif

Edited by Snowyowl9

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I remember this very vividly as an 18 year old. I was living in Tipton with my parents at the time and had just begun a new job in Tividale as a Lab Assistant. I had  plenty of disposable cash so on the Friday night I headed out to the local shangri-la that was Bentley's Wine Bar, Dudley.My memory is a little sketchy of the early part of the evening. I remember it was very cold ( it had been frosty on and off for a couple of weeks or so) and I had brought a new winter coat which I wore that night. Some of my mates didn't bother; they were just in ordinary shirts. As you do.

By midnight it was cold and there were flakes of snow beginning to fall  as we left the bar. It hadn't stuck by then and had been falling for about 30 mins at that point. We all got into a taxi and headed a couple of miles down the road to an Indian Restaurant we used to use (in Great Bridge). The journey took 10 minutes, but by then the snow flakes were larger and beginning to stick. We came out of the restaurant about 1.30 and it was whited over everywhere and very cold. I walked back home through that eerie silence you get when snow is sticking. It was also starting to swirl around as the wind started to strengthen.

I went to bed when I got in (around 2am). The following morning I woke to 3-4 foot drifts outside. What had been a thick dusting turned into a blizzard over night. There was chaos on the roads and railways. West Bromwich Albion's home game v Portsmouth was called off in the morning. I vividly remember watching Blackadder Goes Forth that morning as the snow settled ( I taped it the night before- it was a re run from the previous year). I also vividly remember The Farm being high in the charts with "Altogether Now"- the song about the Christmas Truce in 1914. The song was obviously being played on the radio a lot at the time. I may be wrong about some things, but these are my memories from that night. 

The following day the stranded people on the M6, M42 and A45 made the news. 

Postcript: I now live in Bentley Heath, near Knowle, photographed above. It is very cold here this evening - -4. 

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Remember this even though, as living in the North West, we weren't affected. Racing from Cheltenham was abandoned, so Grandstand had to 'fill' - and as somebody has already said, there was a Rugby League match on from Widnes live on BBC TV. I seem to remember it being cold, and the sky looking as if we were about to get a deluge of snow - and nothing happened. It was only the news reports over the weekend that made it clear how much had fallen in other parts of the country.

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Crikey, a year ago this thread stopped. I wonder if we will get the same on  7th December 2017.....probably not.

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Well , in hindsight, we did get this on December 10-11th! Not 7th. Almost. I saw on my original thread I talked about TV programmes that night. Well, I've just finished watching the UK version of House of Cards - which originally aired 18 November to 9 December 1990. So, the final episode was on during the Sunday Evening when the snow had fallen. That made me think back to this thread and weather event. 

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Hi, I've been reading the posts on this thread since the heavy dosage of snow in December and it certainly makes interesting reading. I have resided in Wolverley near Kidderminster all my life, and the recent snow was the deepest I can remember there in my lifetime, topping that of even the snowfalls of 2009-10 in my opinion. I have only rose tinted memories of the 1990-91 winter though, and none of the December blizzard on the day it happened (being just a nipper and all that). So in light of the December 2017 snowfall, I'm interested to gauge how it compares to the snowstorm of December 1990 and the snowfalls of 2009-10 in the eyes of others. Was the recent snow a comparable event or was 1990 worse around that area?

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