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October 1880 Snowfalls

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Here's a letter sent to the Times in October 1880 listing dates when the first snowfall was noted in and around London in the 19th century. This letter was sent following a snowfall in the south of the UK caused by a Channel low on the 19th and 20th October 1880.


Camden Square: A thick covering of snow on the ground on the 20th

Strathfield Turgiss: Earliest snowfall since records began in 1856

Hitchin: Snow on the the 20th, the earliest known

Banbury: Snow on the 20th

Culford: The fall of snow on the 21st was not so heavy here in many districts.

North Shields: Snow on 5 days after 19th

York: Snow and hail on the 20th

Braemer: Snow fell on the 18th

Portree: First snow and frost on the 20th

Sandwick: Ground covered in snow on the 19th and 20th

Braemar recorded a minimum of 11F on the 20th.

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1862-3: No snow recorded at all? That would be remarkeable today even in London, 140 years ago it must have been unheard of.

Looking at the only records I can find for that winter (from Armagh observatory, which I thought might record snow while London missed it if there were lots of cold N or NW'lies) it seems that it was near constant S or SW'lies: December had 20 days with wind between S and W and the lowest temp all month was 32F;

January 24 days and only one cold day- the 6th which had max 36F and low 24, and no precip; the brief spell of N'lies from 7-10th saw max around 43F

February 25 days, and the rest were all between S and E or calm. Lowest temp was 31F.

Apart from a couple of notes mentioning snow visible on nearby hills (3rd Feb and 4th Jan) there's no mention of the white stuff there either. Was this winter even worse than 1991-2?

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In December 1880, following those October snowfalls, a letter by George D Brumham was written to the Meterological magazine explaining his prediction that the winter of 1880-81 was likely to be below average. The reason given was that only 1 out of 11 instances of snowfall falling in the London area during October was followed by a mild winter.

The instances of the London October snowfalls and the following Greenwich winter mean temp, the winter average given was 4.0C

29th Oct 1810 2.8C

21st Oct 1819 1.7C

22nd Oct 1820 3.1C

20th Oct 1825 3.4C

7th Oct 1829 1.2C

29th Oct 1836 3.8C

12th Oct 1838 3.3C

18th Oct 1848 5.7C

22nd Oct 1859 2.9C

27th Oct 1869 2.9C

30th Oct 1878 1.3C

It turned out that the winter of 1880-81 had a mean of 3.1C

Edited by Mr_Data

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