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noggin

Will 2009/2010 Be An Historic Winter?

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If this kind of rubbish comes off from the 18Z GFS run:

post-2844-12648092248388_thumb.png

If that verifies then we will be taking notes :yahoo:

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The cold and snow I've had so far has been excellent, but what's really impressed me about this winter is the distinct lack of mildness since the cold started in the run-up to Christmas. Though the cold spell we had from mid-December to mid-January was certainly wintry enough to be called "old school", it was nothing special compared to other such spells the country has experienced in previous winters, many of which have been completely forgotten. It certainly didn't beat the severe cold spells of December 1981 & January 1982 - but the lack of very mild weather when it hasn't been that cold has helped keep the CET figures down, the period from mid-December to mid-January being comparable with that of 81/82 (which had a significant mild interlude around New Year).

In recent winters we've struggled to achieve cold months and cold winters overall, as any cold which has taken place has been cancelled out completely by mildness - January 2009 saw the coldest period of weather for some time, managing even to make the first ten days of the month average below 0C, but even then the monthly CET was "ruined" by just two or three days of mild temperatures. This time round, we've had mildness but it has been fleeting, and even the mildness itself has not been particularly mild (just a bit above average). It's quite telling that much of the country hasn't seen 10C since early December. Even in this mild corner of the kingdom, Crosby hasn't hit 10C since 10th December and balmy Liverpool Airport has reached the figure just once. The general coldness with brief milder incursions is in contrast with the general mildness with brief colder incursions we've become used to when it comes to winter in this country - a classical cold winter setup.

As kold weather has pointed out, we won't need these doomsday charts to entail for February to end up on the cold side and the winter quarter to log an impressive CET (though they would certainly help!) - we just need the truly mild air to stay away.

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Dec 81 - Jan 82 1.45c

Dec 81 - Feb 82 2.5c

Dec 90 - Jan 91 3.8c

Dec 90 - Feb 1991 3.03

Dec 95 - Jan 96 3.3c

Dec 95 - Feb 96 3.03

It's still far from certain whether we're going to beat those two winters or even 1996/1997.

Thanks for digging out the data for those winters. I agree that the way the models are currently looking for early February, far from certain we'll match or beat any of those, but it's still all to play for with so much variation in the models and forecasts recently. If the predicted blocking mentioned in the technical model thread does occur and is in a favourable position for us then the 81/82 figure may be within reach.

If February does bring a SW flow and we end up with a high CET it would be a shame, but at least we should record an exceptional (by recent standards) figure for January - and for me it's certainly been the snowiest period I can remember, with 15 days of lying snow and several significant falls. 1982 was snowier here in SW Wales but I was only 3 at the time! Reading some of the posts on here I think my location has been more favourable for snow than some.

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If February pans out mild the this winter won't be that historic, but will still be referred to as a good winter due to the prolonged cold and snow in December and January. If it is cold however then it most certainly will. The winter of 1996-1997 didn't manage a complete wintry three months.

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Of course it will.. some areas in England had lying snow from mid December to mid January.. that is pretty damn spectacular. To have almost a month of cold weather is very rare and quite amazing. Down here in London we were barely reaching 0C on quite a few days, when the average is about 7C. Even the weather we are having now is colder than average, not mild at all.

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Hi,

So if February was mild or milder than January or February would that be the same as saying that Summer 2006 was not a "historic summer" in the same way that say 1976 was because of the relatively poor August, and if that is the case that if we do get a mild February would it be the winter equivalent of Summer 2006 with a warm first 2/3s of summer and an average end?

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Hi,

So if February was mild or milder than January or February would that be the same as saying that Summer 2006 was not a "historic summer" in the same way that say 1976 was because of the relatively poor August, and if that is the case that if we do get a mild February would it be the winter equivalent of Summer 2006 with a warm first 2/3s of summer and an average end?

Despite the average August, Summer 2006 was still the fifth warmest on record. Furthermore, the extended summer (May-September) was the warmest on record.

This winter won't even make the Top 50 unless the cold returns in February.

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Historic winter?? nothing short of being ridiculous!!

lowest temp was -6.7

snow cover ..about 10cm.

ice days...none.

so whats so special about winter 2010??

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1981/82 had frequent cold snowy weather between 8 December and mid-January, exceptionally so at times. From then on, our lot was a 24 hour northerly in late January, a few brief NW'lys in March, a brief northerly in the second week of April, and a northerly in the first week of May, all of which brought wintry showers quite widely but no widespread lying snow at low levels on any of those occasions. February was mild, and Spring 1982 was one of the sunniest of the century.

So was 1981/82 not an historic winter? I think many would have their doubts about that assessment.

I think if we get any more significant wintry spells this winter it will end up right up there with 1981/82- and anything prolonged or repeated could bring us ahead of it.

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I don't think I can call this winter "historic" unless February puts us back in the freezer, a scenario which even if it occurs at all is being increasingly delayed.

This winter will however hold a unique place in my psyche, having restored my faith in the weather's ability to throw up old-school cold spells. If the near-future conjures up more cold (or even severe) winters, I will look back on 09/10 as the start of something special. If the near-future returns us to humdrum mild winters then I will look back on 09/10 as a true anomaly, a rare gift of significant cold in an era of near-autumnal winters. Either way, it will stand out.

Additionally I suppose Scotland could call 09/10 a historic winter, having read that December & January were the coldest combination there since records began in 1914!

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Almost 2 months now of below average to well below average temperatures is a lot to ask for in the UK..even today in the supposed 'milder setup' it was only 4C here, still below average by a few degrees..

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Historic winter?? nothing short of being ridiculous!!

lowest temp was -6.7

snow cover ..about 10cm.

ice days...none.

so whats so special about winter 2010??

It was the coldest Dec/Jan ON RECORD in Scotland!! It reached -8C 4 times 8 miles from the east coast on low ground. It reached -18C in Manchester. There was circa 18 inches of snow in Reading and at one point 18 inches on low ground in central Scotland and also the eastern Borders/Northumberland and Cairngorm had 200cm of snow at one point, not to mention my display picture! Even more impressive considering the winters of the early/late 90s and the 00s.

LS

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I think the answer to the thread question is quite simple.

Unless the more populated areas of the UK see widespread snow beyond the amount which so far has been fairly 'typical' of a snowy winter here in the UK I think the answer will remain No.

But, still like everyone countless posts - there is still plenty of time. Most people on here will agree March and April can bring about a wintry flavour from time to time.

And to end, contrary to how meteorologists call Winter December through February purely for ease of statistics; winter actually runs till around the March 21st period in mother nature and thus today represent mid-winter in that context.

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My index of cold/snow over the UK spans an entire "snow season" rather than just including the three main winter months. On rare occasions you can get prolonged cold snowy weather in November and March. Snow stuck around for a week or more widely in the Marches of 1970 and 1979, and in Novembers 1965 and more locally 1993.

At present we are only slightly behind the winters of 1984/85 and 1985/86, and still have the whole of February, March, April and May to go. It would take a late winter and spring as snowless as that of 1997 to keep this season significantly short of 1981/82. Meanwhile, if we have a completely snowless February and a spring with as many wintry spells as 2006, we'll end up third in the list behind only 1946/47 and 1978/79.

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We may have had a glut of springs in recent years which fell into the "homogeneously warm" category but spring snowfalls have not been entirely absent, even in the warmest ones. Here's a rundown of the snow scores for spring seasons since 1990:

1990 7, 1991 2, 1992 6, 1993 7, 1994 5, 1995 14, 1996 8, 1997 3, 1998 9, 1999 4, 2000 6, 2001 11, 2002 5, 2003 1, 2004 4, 2005 8, 2006 14, 2007 3, 2008 10, 2009 3.

Interestingly, the above strongly suggests that spring snowiness has not declined since the 1990s. The relatively snowy period 1993-96 at the start of my weather records is probably the main reason for my misconception there- it seems spring snowiness showed a step-decline at the same time as winter snowiness, i.e. the late 80s. May be worth extending that series back to 1947 when I get time, but that's a topic for another thread.

Based on that, assuming a snowless February and a "normal" spring by recent standards, we'd see a total similar to 1981/82. Note also that a snowless February is far from being a given- this is more to show that it won't take much to get us above the level of 1981/82.

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Manchester winter indices from 1973-74 to 2008-09

(1962-63: 501)

1978-79: 262

1985-86: 159

2009-10: 159 (up to 31st of January)

1981-82: 149

1976-77: 141

1984-85: 140

1995-96: 135

1990-91: 126

2008-09: 105

1986-87: 100

1977-78: 90

1980-81: 90

1982-83: 85

1983-84: 82

1993-94: 78

2000-01: 77

1996-97: 72

1979-80: 66

2005-06: 59

2001-02: 50

2003-04: 50

1998-99: 47

2004-05: 47

1994-95: 45

2002-03: 44

1992-93: 43

1999-00: 42

1975-76: 41

1991-92: 40

1987-88: 37

2007-08: 37

1973-74: 30

1974-75: 26

1989-90: 26

1997-98: 25

2006-07: 21

1988-89: 20

Even if we get an exceptionally mild February on the scale of 1998, the index for this winter is going to be over 100

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yes Kevin-a pity more don't attempt the scientific approach as you do to showing just what a winter or summer actually is/has given. fairly easy for any of us in winter although summer not so easy if, like me, you have no sunshine measure nor anything close by.

Just using basic statistics for here and this winter, and I suspect much of central and eastern England will show similar, is way ahead in terms of air frosts, snow days and depth to anything I've recorded in 14 years. Its looking like temperature wise back to 81-82 and for snow depth 1987.

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Of course it will.. some areas in England had lying snow from mid December to mid January.. that is pretty damn spectacular.

Hear hear!

Well said that man.

Once again we find people quoting this winter as "nowt special" entirely from an IMBY perspective rather than a national one. It is a fact that great swathes of the country have had a severe December/January combo, and for people to say "what bad winter?" and such like, makes them look a bit ludicrous.

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How come people have started denying it was cold, is this fashionable now? Here in my portion of Lancashire you can usually count the number of days with lieing snow on one finger, this year I would have to be wearing sandalls and stood next to someone else (we had 27). Plus, the temperature was sub -10 for 3 nights on the bounce and fell to -16 locally, major watercourses froze and ice days were ten a penny. Now, this is not what normally happens. Plenty of places in Northern England had lieing snow for over 30 days consecutively and in some places in Scotland it still hasnt melted! Plus, if that isnt enough evidence, we're gonna end up with a CET for December 17 to January 31 of about 1.5. Thats cold. When this second blast from the east comes in and we end up with a cold February and colder stats than even the fabled 80's winters, maybe then people will acknowledge it!

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If this second blast from the east comes in and we end up with a cold February and colder stats than even the fabled 80's winters, maybe then people will acknowledge it!

Fixed it for you. tease.gif

One can't deny that it's been very cold and snowy overall, but to me the phrase "historic winter" makes me think of such luminaries as 1740, 1895, 1947 and 1963. So far this winter can be boxed in on a lower tier with the likes of 1978/79 and 1984/85, so not really historic as far as I'm concerned but certainly commanding a reasonable degree of respect! Obviously in the context of more recent lacklustre mild winters it's been a wonderful experience, but that doesn't equal "historic" for me.

Is this really just an argument of semantics?

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Fixed it for you. tease.gif

One can't deny that it's been very cold and snowy overall, but to me the phrase "historic winter" makes me think of such luminaries as 1740, 1895, 1947 and 1963. So far this winter can be boxed in on a lower tier with the likes of 1978/79 and 1984/85, so not really historic as far as I'm concerned but certainly commanding a reasonable degree of respect! Obviously in the context of more recent lacklustre mild winters it's been a wonderful experience, but that doesn't equal "historic" for me.

Is this really just an argument of semantics?

I would place 1978/79 with the other group of winters esp for the North of the UK. The number of days snow lying was higher at several sites. Over 100 days snow lying occurred in the snowiest parts, that wasn't achieved in 47/63.

Here I've never felt conditions were that severe this winter, prolonged yes. Widespread blizzards is an element missing from this winter, so far.

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. So far this winter can be boxed in on a lower tier with the likes of 1978/79 and 1984/85,

I think winter 1978-79 is above winter 1984-85 and fairly comfortably at that.

It certainly is with the Manchester Winter Index.

1978-79: 262

1984-85: 140

Also ahead as regards to frequency of snowfall, snowfall amounts, frosts and temperatures.

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Fair enough, 78/79 was notably colder. I'd definitely compare it more to 84/85 than the likes of 62/63 though.

I've made a vague attempt at pigeonholing cold winters into categories, but obviously such a system would have to be much more complex to be reliable. I don't know for instance how 81/82 would fit in, as the first half of winter was certainly historic but second half essentially nondescript: the cold this winter has been less severe but more prolonged.

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