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December 1981

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Surely no one in their right mind would want a repeat of this December. Fortunately I missed most of it whilst enjoying the balmy climate of the N. Atlantic. Anyone any memories of this or even comparable Decembers? I expect this has been posted before, if so, apologies for the repetition.

Temperature

Generally. this was the coldest December since 1874 or 1878 in the north and since 1890 in the south, mean temperatures being 5 °C or more below average at some places in Scotland and central England. But in the Channel Islands, Cornwall and parts of Devon. where mean temperatures were less than 2 °C below normal.

December 1976 was colder while that of 1950 was also colder than this at most places in the extreme south and west of the United Kingdom. After a brief mild spell early in the month. the temperature reaching 15.0â€C at Dyce, Aberdeen early on the 3rd. all districts became very cold from the north by the 8th. Although the extreme south and west had near-normal temperatures at times it was the 28th before milder weather extended northwards to all parts.

Frost was very severe and continuous at times, especially around mid-month over inland central and northern areas. Temperatures of below -20 °c occurred in some low-lying parts of the western Midlands and North Wales during the night of the 12/13th; at Shawbury (Shropshire) following a minimum of -22.6 C and a maximum of -12.1 C on the 12th, it fell to -25.2 °c. a record low for England and Wales in any month. but one which was to stand for one month only.

Snow

This was the snowiest December generally since 1878 although 1950, in the extreme south and west and 1976, in parts of the north, were snowier. Snowfall was quite heavy with drifting at times, causing considerable disruption to road. rail and air transport particularly on the 8th and 11th in the south, the 13th and 14th over central areas, having turned to rain in the south. and on the 20th and 21st over eastern England and high ground in the north of Britain. Accumulations of snow exceeded 20 cm. particularly in many central and hilly northern areas, and included 26 cm at Heathrow Airport, London on the 11th, 31 cm at Shrewsbury on the 14th, 91 cm in the Pennines above Hawes (North Yorkshire) on the 14th, 25cm at Poolewe (Highland Region) on the 18th and 33 cm at Lincoln on the 22nd. As a consequence hospitals were kept busy with hundreds of broken limbs, many sporting fixtures were cancelled or postponed while severe losses to wildlife were reported to include rare species such as the Dartford Warbler. But in the extreme south and south-west there was little snow and a general thaw spread northwards late in the month.

Edited by weather ship
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Surely no one in their right mind would want a repeat of this December. Fortunately I missed most of it whilst enjoying the balmy climate of the N. Atlantic. Anyone any memories of this or even comparable Decembers? I expect this has been posted before, if so, apologies for the repetition.

Temperature

Generally. this was the coldest December since 1874 or 1878 in the north and since 1890 in the south, mean temperatures being 5 °C or more below average at some places in Scotland and central England. But in the Channel Islands, Cornwall and parts of Devon. where mean temperatures were less than 2 °C below normal.

December 1976 was colder while that of 1950 was also colder than this at most places in the extreme south and west of the United Kingdom. After a brief mild spell early in the month. the temperature reaching 15.0â€C at Dyce, Aberdeen early on the 3rd. all districts became very cold from the north by the 8th. Although the extreme south and west had near-normal temperatures at times it was the 28th before milder weather extended northwards to all parts.

Frost was very severe and continuous at times, especially around mid-month over inland central and northern areas. Temperatures of below -20 °c occurred in some low-lying parts of the western Midlands and North Wales during the night of the 12/13th; at Shawbury (Shropshire) following a minimum of -22.6 C and a maximum of -12.1 C on the 12th, it fell to -25.2 °c. a record low for England and Wales in any month. but one which was to stand for one month only.

Snow

This was the snowiest December generally since 1878 although 1950, in the extreme south and west and 1976, in parts of the north, were snowier. Snowfall was quite heavy with drifting at times, causing considerable disruption to road. rail and air transport particularly on the 8th and 11th in the south, the 13th and 14th over central areas, having turned to rain in the south. and on the 20th and 21st over eastern England and high ground in the north of Britain. Accumulations of snow exceeded 20 cm. particularly in many central and hilly northern areas, and included 26 cm at Heathrow Airport, London on the 11th, 31 cm at Shrewsbury on the 14th, 91 cm in the Pennines above Hawes (North Yorkshire) on the 14th, 25cm at Poolewe (Highland Region) on the 18th and 33 cm at Lincoln on the 22nd. As a consequence hospitals were kept busy with hundreds of broken limbs, many sporting fixtures were cancelled or postponed while severe losses to wildlife were reported to include rare species such as the Dartford Warbler. But in the extreme south and south-west there was little snow and a general thaw spread northwards late in the month.

yeah, that sounds like an absolute chuffing nightmare.

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Surely no one in their right mind would want a repeat of this December.

You've got to be kidding, haven't you? :lol:

I'm waiting for a December even half as good.

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Surely no one in their right mind would want a repeat of this December.

Too right! How dreadful. I just wonder what the temperature in our house in Buxton would sink to if we had feet of snow and -20°C. Probably would get below freezing inside. Imagine the heating bill. In fact, the heating would probably fail in our house. And, not being able to get to work, the general inconvenience and hassle as well as the dangers, given how ill equipped he UK is for such conditions. But worst of all, the sheer physical pain of the absence of heat energy (which is all the cold is, of course) would really, seriously see me fly abroad on what little savings I have, even if it sinks my credit rating! Just so long as the snow has not shut all the airports down. Brrrr. Nothing worse. How anyone could want this, I will never understand.

Edited by RichardR

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I'll hold my hand up and say a big YES PLEASE to a repeat.

That winter is by far my favourite of all time (1947&1963 happening before my time). I was still living at home in the Cotswolds in 1981, the drifts cut the village off for days and it was cold, bone chillingly cold - no central heating or double glazing, just a fire in the sitting room.

One of the most enduring memories of that year is of Christmas Eve, snow deep and crisp and even. I was a Young Farmer and our annual Christmas Carol charity drive always reached a peak on Christmas Eve, we were expected at numerous gatherings, losing all those donations was unthinkable, especially given that 50% would be going to the elderly in vouchers from the local coal merchant. We had to do it so we all donned skies and set off around the countryside, it was fantastic fun. Emerging from church after Midnight Mass and looking at all our skies propped up against the wall was a surreal experience.

http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/philip-eden/Snowiest-of-20th-century.htm

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Yes I remember it well-too well really. I was a forecaster at Manchester Airport. We had responsibility not just for that airport but 17 others from the Scottish Border down to Birmingham. One or other seemed to constantly need warnings of snow and/or severe frost for most of that month, at any rate from before the end of the first week. Just getting to and from duty was a sometimes quite long journey although the distance was only about 6 miles. I cannot remember how many times Manchester closed, at least for brief spells, whilst the ground crews battled to shift the white stuff of the runways, taxiways and parking bays.

A truly epic month for sure. I had a Mini at the time and it froze solid in the night of, I think, 12th, thanks to me putting the hand brake on after being out in mid afternoon before my night duty, and the slush then freezing the cables solid. It took nearly 20 minutes of boiling hot water direct from the central heating boiler to free it.

I'm sure Kevin (Mr Data) can post masses of old Manchester Evening News stuff on this period.

Edited by johnholmes

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I remember entire lorry and bus depots grinding to a halt because the diesel had frozen, we lit camping stoves under the tractors to get them going.

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I'll hold my hand up and say a big YES PLEASE to a repeat.

I'm afraid there is no hope for you jethro. And a young farmer to boot.:whistling:

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I was at 6th Form college.

Remember the cold snap around the 10th December and bus skidding on the road (I was on the bus).

I don’t remember there being any snow on or around Chrismas (I lived in Surrey then) . I might be wrong

Jan 82 was colder ?

I am more then happy for a repeat (we can work from home now in bad weather)

Back then I use to record the weather of the radio 'London Volmet South' which later had a north . Who got remembers that. It just repeated the weather. I did have a big radio so maybe not for my ears

Gave temps DP, Air pressure type of weather wind direction

I still have pages of the stuff in the atic

Edited by stewfox

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Working from home is all very well in the sense that you can probably afford the heating bills but it seems four million of the poorest pensioners look set to lose two thirds of their cold weather payments. The government has set the emergency weekly payments for pensioners at £8.50 a week for this winter rather than the £25 they received in the past two years. I imagine many wouldn't survive that severe cold.

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I'm afraid there is no hope for you jethro. And a young farmer to boot.:whistling:

So true, in so many ways........:p

It really was a magical winter though, echo your thoughts re:winter fuel payments.

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Ah, the good old days when everyone made an effort to get in to work no matter how bad conditions were, and schools across the country didn't close at the sight of a few falling flakes.

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I was 11 at the time i remember reading -25C on the outdoor thermometer which my mum had brought back from finland (her being finnish) and her saying i thought it was a bit nippy. This was near Moreton in Marsh in the cotswolds!

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While there's nothing wrong with discussing the adverse impacts that such severe months can have, and stressing the point that many of the most affected need to be considered and helped as much as possible, I think we could do with less of the strong accompanying attacks on the people who enjoy such months, they risk inciting flame wars.

As for the month itself, Dec 1981 got off to quite a slow start, with high pressure in charge, there was then a brief surge of Arctic air on the 4th/5th, and what followed between the 6th and 9th was somewhat unusual, with Arctic air only slowly pushing its way south in association with a very sluggish north-westerly flow.

The rest of December 1981 had a lot in common with the synoptics of late December 2009. Highest pressure was often sat well out to the west of Greenland, with the main branch of the jet well south, and Arctic air trapped over the British Isles, often with unremarkable 850hPa temperatures (quite often they rose above -5C over large areas) but stagnant cold air at the surface resulted in very low temperatures. As Atlantic systems pushed against the cold air from time to time, they gave many big snowfalls, which sometimes turned back to rain towards the SW.

Like December 2009, December 1981 also had a widespread snow cover on Christmas Day (possibly more widespread than in 2009) but snowfall on the big day itself only occurred over limited areas of the country and so the bookmakers didn't have to pay out.

I hadn't been born yet in December 1981 so, for better or worse, I haven't experienced a month quite like it, but I suspect that 18-25 December 2009 may have provided northern districts in particular with a taster of what it was like.

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Amazing how it is known and was a spectacular month, yet hardly no snow pictures.anyone got any or is there some on the net?

There is this home footage on youtube

I think mid-December-mid January came close to matching this month in the north.

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I think we could do with less of the strong accompanying attacks on the people who enjoy such months, they risk inciting flame wars.

I'm at a loss to see where this is occurring Ian?

People are saying they either want another one or would prefer not to have another one, I see no 'accompanying attacks' which you quote.

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I think for instance "surely no one in their right mind would want a repeat of this December" and a couple of other similar comments come across as somewhat strong. I think we've had these arguments before (e.g. being heartless and selfish for enjoying snow in May) so I'd rather not continue that particular argument.

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I think for instance "surely no one in their right mind would want a repeat of this December" and a couple of other similar comments come across as somewhat strong. I think we've had these arguments before (e.g. being heartless and selfish for enjoying snow in May) so I'd rather not continue that particular argument.

I think many of us know your views on what you think should and should not appear Ian! Why not just leave things I see no one getting upset so far.

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The point "surely no one in their right mind would want a repeat of this December" is essentially saying "surely no one in their right mind would want a repeat of this month for any winter month"?

Thats what that comment boils down to me but I don't think you will get an overwhelming supportive response to it!

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Had a light dusting of snow on a Tuesday night - I think about 8th December. My Mum sais it was too early in the winter to last...! The rest is history and there was snow on the ground until after Christmas. I think we had 4 days without snow until the great January blizzard which was better than everything in December - those were the days....I even kept my own weather readings then and ran the school weather station.

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I'm sure quite a few would want a repeat of this month as we all know.. :whistling:

I'm not actually sure I would though, because looking at the records, although quite 'good' it was not nearly that remarkable down here. http://www.tutiempo....-1981/38390.htm and watching many others get plenty of snow and temps below -20C while I don't get below -7C, get milder weather at times and miss out on quite a bit of it might cause me to turn slightly green.

Edited by StormMad26

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What about this -

1990 (December):

1. A low formed dramatically over central England on the 7th, large quantities of RAIN, turning in many places to SNOW, fell on its western and northern flanks. On the 7th and 8th very HEAVY SNOW fell over northern England, Wales, the Midlands and south west England, with heavy drifting in GALE FORCE WINDS, causing considerable disruption to traffic and cutting power lines. The snow did not freeze, however, but melted very rapidly during the next few days, as the temperature rose a little. By late on the 8th, many parts of the Midlands had 20 cm or more of LYING SNOW, Acocks Green, Birmingham reported 42.5 cm on the 8th. The Peak District had 38 cm at Middleton and 25 cm at Winksworth, while in Newcastle under Lyme 28 cm was recorded, and many other places had more than 20 cm. DRIFTS up to 60 cm on motorways in the Derby area, and at Carlton in Coverdale, near Leyburn, a report of 240 cm. SNOWFALL on the 9th in the Dorchester (Dorset) area in 1990 was the heaviest pre-Christmas fall in that area since 9 December 1967.

2. A notable outbreak of TORNADOES on Christmas Day, when a number of tornadoes were reported between Devon and Lincolnshire. On the Severn Bridge (the only one extant at that time), a GUST of 92 kt was recorded on the 25th. On the 29th in 1990 a WHIRLWIND caused extensive damage to houses in South Wales.

Now this is the sort of December i would like, from a selfish point of view. :mellow:

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Mind, hail about 4cm in diameter was reported at Crewkerne on the 14th. I know, Somerset not Devon.

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That was my first weekend in my bachalor pad. Woke up to no power and evacuated back home - took 3 hours to do 6 miles.

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