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Favourite Unexpected Snow

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My most unexpected snow has got to be on 5th January 1998, pictures in staffordshire newsletter about it, 'snow Joke for met men' amazing snow started after lunch after morning rain, biggest flakes I think Ive ever seen, got around 2 inches in the end, (although all thawed during the night of the 6th)

5th Jan 1998 looking back at archive looks very un snowy, dont have archive charts for midday, I think I remember some sort of low developed and ran through the midlands at around midday

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For me the 6th December this year sticks out for the sheer chaos it caused. It was expected to snow but instead of a cm we ended up with 10cm and traffic across Scotland ground to a halt.

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The nearly 20cm that fell from 3-9am on the 20th December this year - was forecast up to 5-10cm though but was nicely more intense than forecast and for once I was in one of the best spots!

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12th February 2009 - The third poor winter in a row up here with only 2 significant snow events before the 12th February, each thawing or turning to ice after just one day. However, by the 12th February it looked as though the 10+ day cold spell would come to a rubbish end with a few flurries forecast followed by drizzly showers, but instead there was 8cm of snow. Then I went up to Cragside near Rothbury in Northumberland on the 14th and there was 8 or 9 inches there. Obviously that wouldn't seem as good now that I've seen a foot of snow in Newcastle two winters in a row!

Having said that, the 25th November 2010 was quite good as the deep cold from Scandinavia hadn't set in yet so I thought there would be just temporary accumulations, but I got 10cm overnight, then during the evening of the 26th not much snow was expected, but a band of intense snow developed and dropped another 10cm. The snow lay for 16 days, and the total depth reached 40cm at one point.

However, my favourite event of all time has to be the 29th November 2010. Snow had been expected for a few days, but as the event got nearer it seemed as though it would be too marginal, and the 20-25cm of snow would be washed away by sleet. However, I woke up at 6am to the sound of very loud thunder, and a further 10cm had fallen, bringing the total to well over 30cm. More thundersnow occured during the day, and there was 37cm by the evening. There was a short spell of sleet in the evening, but the snowcover wasn't damaged too much, and it was topped up by further significant snow throughout the week.

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Even today I can still remember waking up on the morning of 20th November 1988 and being absolutely amazed to see so much snow so early- a good 3-4 inches as I recall, and completely out of the blue as I don't remember any forecast for it.

12th March 2006 in recent times; the forecast the night before was for a mix of rain, sleet and possibly snow IIRC, expected a few hours of sleet at best, woke up to 5 inches of snow.

Honourable mention to 17th Dec 2010, 2-3 inches from "a chance of an isolated snow flurry" is impressive for this area, especially as it was topped up over the next few days.

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Very recently christmas day this year. I looked at the developments to the NW of Scotland on Christmas Eve and although I thought there was a very outside chance of a very light dusting from the weak frontal feature I didn't really expect anything from it believing it would have died of death by the time it reached us and and precipitation would be to the NE of the Pennines. However, I went for a walk at 10.30am and there were some light flurries in the air and the skies had an air of imminent snow showers. I could see the clouds rolling in from the NW over the fells and thought we could be about to see a snow shower. Instead we had an hour or so of quite moderate snow with big flakes which although only deposited a couple of cms came as a major surprise. The whole event was exceptionally localised and developed due to the local topography none of the forecasts predicted it.

It is these events which affirms my view that we do have a true micro climate here in the Lake District and often our best snowfalls are those which are not forecast but which spring out of nowhere. The synoptics for next week shout sudden unforecasted heavy snow here.

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For me, it was mid March (the 15th I think) 2001... I was at Exeter University then and one of my friends was celebrating her 20th birthday in the basement of the City Gate. At about 11pm someone threw a snowball at me inside! We all went out to find it snowing quite heavily - in the end 2 inches had fallen across the city...

The future Mrs Plum and I got up early the following morning to make snowmen in the nearby park - a good thing to because the spring sunshine had melted it away by lunchtime!

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Heres one for the oldies like me,way back at the end of January 1956 ,the weather had been mild for some time but from about Jan 24th the Met Office had been warning in their outlook that colder air might come into the South-east,this was not realised and it was not mentioned again,on the morning of the 30th the weather in Sunderland was mild and cloudy with the 9am temperature recorded at 10c at the mowbray park weather station.

I observed what I would still call low cloud or mist racing in from the east and in no time at all a heavy drizzle was falling driven by an increasing easterly wind. This continued until 10am when the weather cleared to a cloudless sky,I ventured out as all the bushes had what appeared to have water droplets hanging from them,imagine my surprise to find that they we all frozen,the officially recorded temperature at 10am (mowbray park)was 0c,the cold front that went through continued westwards giving snow further inland as it made its way to the west coast. The following day was one of bitter cold with widespread snow showers and the temperature in mainland Britain did not exceed freezing point.

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April 5-6th 2008 was a good one. There had been mention of snow in the forecasts but I just thought "not here it won't", with a snowless winter still fresh in the memory (including a rain event which produced a White Easter in many other parts of the country just previously). However, I looked outside around about 12:30am (can't remember what for) and it was falling quite heavily and settling everywhere (at least an inch or so). It gradually thawed during the following day, though snow showers still fell. That was the first time I ever saw lying snow in Liverpool in April.

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This is an easy one to answer.

I will have to check the exact dates tomorrow but my favourite has to be around the mid 80s. Woke up one morning at 7am expecting snow and went back to bed bitterly disappointed because we didn't have any. Woke up again at 9am to be greeted to about a foot of lying snow. Around 11am another prolonged spell of snow gave another heavy fall.

This was all caused by heavy prolonged snow via an E,ly. I have a feeling it was Jan 1985 and im sure it was a Saturday. Those were the days when E,lys had a real bite!

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The ones that stick in my memory are:

April 14th 1999 - a good 3 inches or so of snow overnight and early morning, of which a quarter was still left the following morning before thawing completely.

March 21st 2001 - after a cold spell from the east, before it got milder, there was heavy snow all afternoon that led to about 2-3cm lying by the end. It thawed overnight though.

March 12th 2006 - as has been mentioned, was expecting a little bit of rain but that was it. Having people over for dinner, they said they saw gritters going around driving to our house but I didn't believe it would snow (we had had one dusting the week before). Then woke up to an albeit mere 2cm but everything white: trees, plants, fences etc. Again, it had mostly thawed by mid-afternoon.

December 17th 2010 - wasn't expecting snow to fall until showers arrived later in the afternoon. Instead, woke up to about 4-5cm of snow that had recently fallen. It was then nciely topped up the following night and again on Monday 20th.

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The ones that stick in my memory are:

April 14th 1999 - a good 3 inches or so of snow overnight and early morning, of which a quarter was still left the following morning before thawing completely.

March 21st 2001 - after a cold spell from the east, before it got milder, there was heavy snow all afternoon that led to about 2-3cm lying by the end. It thawed overnight though.

December 19th 2004 - having gone to bed the night before listening to heavy rain drumming on the skylight window, it did appear to get lighter and eventually stop before I went to sleep. Then the following morning, I woke to a picture perfect covering of snow about 3-4cm deep. Light snow was still falling before the sun came out all day. Now this was a real surprise!

March 12th 2006 - as has been mentioned, was expecting a little bit of rain but that was it. Having people over for dinner, they said they saw gritters going around driving to our house but I didn't believe it would snow (we had had one dusting the week before). Then woke up to an albeit mere 2cm but everything white: trees, plants, fences etc. Again, it had mostly thawed by mid-afternoon.

December 17th 2010 - wasn't expecting snow to fall until showers arrived later in the afternoon. Instead, woke up to about 4-5cm of snow that had recently fallen. It was then nciely topped up the following night and again on Monday 20th.

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My two favourite unexpected snowfalls was 20th December 1993 and the 15th April 1998 . The previous weekend to the 20th of December had been very mild and although the forecast said it would turn colder in the run-up to Christmas, I didn't expect snow to fall and lie that evening.

The snow really came down on the 15th of April 1998 one in the evening. It was wet at first but as it got heavier it stuck to rooves, grass etc was covered in snow.Seeing flowers in bloom covered in a mantle of white was very strange.

Two snowfalls that I expected to turn to rain were the 4th of January 1986 and 22nd February 1994 ones. I went to bed the night of the 21st Feb with snow falling and I expected that when I got up it had turned to rain. Got a surprise when it was still snowing with a good covering.

The 4th of January one was a Saturday and it started snowing in the early afternoon and it remaind as snow until it stopped in the evening. Again it remained as snow instead of turning to rain as forecasted.

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The south usually gets pretty good media coverage so unexpected snow is perhaps rarer. But I remember March 2004 at night the prediction was for rain for the south and snow for more Northern areas of England. Instead there was heavy snow about 2ish AM which ammounted to 3cm of level snow. By 7AM it had all gone so most people probably never even knew it happened.

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1. March 12th 2006 like some others above. Had to cancel my daughter's birthday party. Approx 6 inches of snow. More in Perthshire where some of the guests were coming from.

2. Feb 12th 2009. Towards the end of what had been a bit of an anticlimax of a cold spell.Cold air hung on in the extreme East to give 6" of unexpected snow.

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Boxing day, 1962, leaving a family Xmas party to walk home with my parents and seeing 4 inches of the white stuff by about 10.00 that evening. By the morning we had about 2 feet (60cm). It was unexpected because I was a kid and didn't listen to the weather forecast, and we had no TV. Having said that, all the adults seemed a bit surprised too, so I'm not sure how widely the snow was anticipated among the general population. Anyway, that snowy evening led to two and a half months of non-stop snowy bliss. Remains unsurpassed.

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December this year... Large band popped up from no where, gave around 10cm of snow. Unexpected, only expected around a cm at best.

Good times. :):D

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The 23rd November 2008 in Norwich was a notable example- there had been sunshine and snow showers the previous day but the GFS had consistently suggested a snow to rain event on the 23rd, though the Met Office had issued warnings for heavy snow. In the end, a good two inches fell on top of the previous snow bringing the depth to 8cm.

The snowfalls of the 2nd/3rd and 5th/6th February 2009 in Exeter also warrant a mention since I'd assumed that it wouldn't snow at all while I was in Exeter, considering that they hadn't had any significant accumulations there for seven years on the trot. There was an inch from an easterly on the 2nd and then, remarkably, snow showers continued on the 3rd from a cyclonic south-westerly which "returned" the continental easterly air around a depression and up from the SW. Similarly, I expected the frontal battleground on 5/6 Feb to be rain, especially as it had snowed just a few days earlier and this was Exeter, but no, much of it fell as snow and gave 2-3 inches.

I wasn't there to experience it but I recall being astounded on the 25th November this year when in Cleadon the wind picked up off the North Sea (which normally guarantees a quick transition from snow showers to a rain/hail/sleet mix at that time of year) and yet showers remained as snow with just a slight thaw during the clear intervals in between showers, indeed the temperature got no higher than 3.3C all day.

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December this year... Large band popped up from no where, gave around 10cm of snow. Unexpected, only expected around a cm at best.

Good times. :):D

Was that the one when I predicted a good few inches, with up to 15cm in some areas? whistling.gif

;)

I don't remember things very well, but it'd be the November 26th Snowfall here, which dropped 4 inches in 2 hours. No mention of it the day after in the Media...

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  • High pressure in the driving seat until at least the end of May

    High pressure continues to dominate our weather until at least early next week, with most staying dry and fine. The warm conditions will spread north, and the highest temperatures will transfer to the west as the high moves east and eventually over Scandinavia. Read the full update here

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