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johnholmes

Winter Summary 2010-2011

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How was your winter?

I would assume most had a similar pattern to this area. A record or near record cold and snowy December. A January that was fairly above average for temperature and below for frost and snow with February another record or near record month. This time for high temperature values and very low numbers of days with frost or snow?

My own summary is below

Winter 2010-2011 statistics

A VERY variable winter, the coldest, snowiest December since 1981 for Doncaster followed by 2 not very wintry months.

The bare statistics show it was the least snowy winter since I started doing observations in January 1997. An average of 4.0 days per month, from 9 in December to 2 in January and 1 in February.

Thanks to the very cold period in December it was the joint second coldest winter since 1997-1998, winter 2009-10 being 1.5C colder. The winter mean 2010-2011=4.3C. The average from 1997 is 5.2C.

February had a mean temperature of 7.6C; only 1998 with 8.8C has been warmer. In the RAF Finningley records 1942-1995 no February recorded higher than 7.3C (1945), the next highest was 6.9C in 1969, so the mildest February for over 60 years of records.

Using the Manchester winter index (Mr D) gives a value of 54.4, the 13th in the period 1942-2011.

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The Winter had a classic cold spell in December and that is good enough for me. Here in Glasgow, we had a decent cold/snow spell in early January which was better than what we got from some of the winters in the past 10 years. Personally, I would have liked to have a consistently cold and snowy december rather than two prolonged spells and some cold spells in January and February (3-4 days) bringing large accumilations. For some, this winter may have overall been disapointing but for myself, it was one of the best winters I have ever experienced with the cold sell in December and decent snow in January which surpassed all snow events in some of the winters I have experienced before.

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To make it easier I will just rate each month.

November:

Snow: 4/10

Cold: 6/10

December:

Snow: 7/10

Cold: 10/10

January:

Snow: 3/10

Cold: 4/10

February:

Snow: 0/10

Cold: 0/10

Summary

November was a fun and mixed month with mild until mid-month when an Easterly took hold. We did get some snow at the end of the month, but for that reason, it was a poor month for snow overall, but for cold, brilliant.

December was my favourite month. We had lots of snow falling, even if it was only 2 or 3 events, it lasted also the entire month. It was also the coldest December I have ever seen in my life, the coldest month I have ever seen as a matter of fact. I also recorded a new low of minus 11C, which for my area, is astounding.

January was ok. After a brief break from the icy grip of Winter, we headed back into the freezer for another round. We didn't get much snow in January, only a couple of inches on the 8th, but the cold did last a couple of days. An average month overall, but nothing compared to last January which battered this month ten-fold.

February was the poorest month I have ever seen. Not just in terms of mildness, but in terms of blandness and consistency throughout. Cloudy conditions didn't cut it for me. This month, I actually hated. I recorded no airfrosts aswell as no snow. My minimum was not below 0.5C. Which for a deep winter month, is utter crap.

So long Winter, hello March. I know you have another round in you, you have not let the UK out of your icy sights just yet. I feel it. Now deliver, show all of the moaners on here what you are made of! Woo!

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November:

Snow falling 3

Snow lying 4

Max 3cm (30th)

December:

Snow falling 12

Snow lying 21

Max 15cm (22nd)

January:

Snow falling 1

Snow lying 1

Max 2cm (7th)

February- no snow at all. And only 2 airfrosts.

Total snow falling so far 16, snow lying 26. Even if March sees no lying snow 26 days beats the previous highest since 1988, which was 1995/6 with 21 days (December 2010 equalled this). The maximum depth equals that of 1995/6 as the most since Feb 1991. Locally Dec 2010 was the coldest month since Jan 1963, not Feb 1986.

Looking at old records, this was probably the snowiest winter round here (in terms of days with snowcover) since at least 1981-2, possibly even the 1960s. And it achieved this despite being completely snowless after January 7th! A remarkable winter in many ways.

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This is how I have seen winter here:

End of November into December: This was a very exciting periods, there was quite a few days with snow which was fun, and one evening Thunder snow out to sea with amazing Lightning strikes. 1st and ND of December was amazing especially Wednesday night into Thursday which ended up giving the most snow Ive ever seen in my life over over a foot and huge snow drifts. I remember band of snow developing to the east and just continued to grow and hit around 9pm and didn't stop until Thursday afternoon :D

Threw the rest of December it actually remained very cold and there was another period of snow threw mid month which gave a few cms on a Saturday and Sunday, unfortunately this was the last of the snow :(. Christmas period was very cold with very low minima's with a -8 being recoded :).

Into January: This ended up being a mild month and quite a quiet month with not much to talk about, apart from one of the days having light snow falling in the morning but didnt do anything. There was also one day where there was lightning and thunder out too sea, and couple more wet days and windy.

February: This was a very mild month but quite interesting at times, there was 2 days where we had thunder and lightning, one was on a Monday afternoon during mid month, and one the Saturday just gone which was very nice hear and see. Quite a few days with rain and wind at beginning of the month too, but there have been days with just cloud and some nice days too.

All in all I think its been an interesting winter, especially December with the snow and extremely low temperatures. January quiet and mild, February very mild but with more stuff to talk about than January. If I was to rate this winter I would give it 7/10, mainly for December and the thunder towards end of February.

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December

Mean Maximum 3.3c; 4.8c below normal

Mean Min -1.5c; 4.6c below normal

Mean +0.9c; 4.7c below norma

January

Mean Max 6.9c (-0.2c)

Mean Min 2.8c (-0.2c)

Mean 4.8c (-0.2c)

February

Mean Max 9.9c (+2.7c)

Mean Min 4.5c (+1.4c)

Mean 7.2c (+2.6c)

Winter Mean 4.3c (-0.8c)

Winter was colder than normal but not excessively so. Winter 2009/2010 was much colder at 3.1c (-2.0c)

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Well winter has been a disapointment for my self and one of the least snowy winters I remember ever discounting november which was a good autumn month for snow Only.

December:

Snow: 4/10 (generous score because I have never seen 2 inches of snow last for so long)

Cold: 10/10

January:

Snow: 0/10

Cold: 3/10

February:

Snow: 0/10

Cold: 0/10

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Statistics for Cleadon, Tyne and Wear:

December

Mean Max 2.7°C (-4.7°C)

Mean Min -2.9°C (-5.4°C)

Mean -0.1°C (-5.1°C)

Precip 45mm (78%)

Days of sleet or snow falling: 12

Days of snow lying: 21

January

Mean Max 6.3°C (-0.3°C)

Mean Min 1.3°C (-0.3°C)

Mean 3.8°C (-0.3°C)

Precip 22mm (41%)

Days of sleet or snow falling: 3

Days of snow lying: 1

February

Mean Max 8.8°C (+1.7°C)

Mean Min 3.5°C (+1.8°C)

Mean 6.1°C (+1.7°C)

Precip 61mm (156%)

Days of sleet or snow falling: 1

Days of snow lying: 0

Overall it was not as cold or snowy as the winter of 2009/10, but the second coldest in a record going back to 1993. December set a bucketload of new site records- owest mean max, mean min, mean temperature, absolute minimum, total days of snow lying, deepest snow cover, and deepest snow cover on Christmas Day. The 2010/11 season (October to May) is, however, guaranteed to have more days of snow lying than 2009/10 because it is already on 28 days as opposed to 2009/10's 27.

My personal ratings for the months in Cleadon were Dec 8.4 (the highest of any winter month since I began observing the weather), Jan 5.3 and Feb 4.2, but in Norwich they were Dec 5.5, Jan 5.0 and Feb 3.8. Norwich consistently had less sunshine (especially in December) and also had a lot less snow in December, and what fell tended to turn to ice quite quickly, in contrast to Cleadon where the snow only turned icy very briefly during the month's two thaws (9th and 27th-29th).

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I use three indexes for working out a rating for each month, they are as follows, assessing the month with regards to:

DECEMBER

Cold: 9.4/10

Frost: 9.6/10

Snow: 5.0/10

Overall: 8.0/10

JANUARY

Cold: 6.6/10

Frost: 4.8/10

Snow: 1.3/10

Overall: 4.2/10

FEBRUARY

Cold: 3.2/10

Frost: 0.8/10

Snow: 0.0/10

Overall: 1.3/10

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December was the coldest I've seen in my life and very likely the coldest the town has seen in it's existence.

The previous minimum temperature was broken by 0.3C, -10.5C being the new set record here although whether the town centre reached -10C remains to be seen.

The maximums in December were not too cold with the coldest maximum being a mere -0.8C.

That said December was record breaking here, not just record breaking for the month but record breaking for winter too

January and February were much milder.. the high temperature was 15.2C in February, and 14.9C in January (I think, Ill have to look at records again), the lowest temperature over January was -3.8C recorded in january. In February the lowest temperature was -0.3C

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Using Mr_Data's formula to derive a Cleadon equivalent to the Manchester index, 2010/11 came out with a score of 116, which is about level with 1995/96 (117) which was the second highest of any winter going back to that of 1992/93. However, this is well down on where it stood at the end of December 2010 (193). 2009/10 (215) remains well out in front.

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Using Mr_Data's formula to derive a Cleadon equivalent to the Manchester index, 2010/11 came out with a score of 116, which is about level with 1995/96 (117) which was the second highest of any winter going back to that of 1992/93. However, this is well down on where it stood at the end of December 2010 (193). 2009/10 (215) remains well out in front.

How is your Cleadon Snow events count doing so far?

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This isn't using statistics as such, and I'm giving score bias to the earlier months as it is normally expected that they're warmer.

December:

Snow - 10/10 - 60cm of level snow going into the start of the month? 24 days of lying snow? Yes please!

Maximum Temperatures - 10/10 - A -6.6C max in Buxton. While it was -7C in the early afternoon there, it was -11C in a nearby valley, according to the same car thermometer, so I'm assuming an inversion lasted all day, meaning that astonishingly low maxes were possibly recorded. There really needs to be a Met Office station in a Pennine or Peak District valley.

Minimum Temperatures - 10/10 - Not too impressive on the hills, but a roadside thermometer in a frost hollow near Alfreton, between Derby and Chesterfield, recorded -20.5C, which warrants a 10/10 for the entire month on it's own. Truly nostril-hair freezing stuff.

Sunshine - 7/10 - Cloudy after Christmas but some wonderfully clear days with little wind.

January:

Snow - 3/10 - Snow fell on around 2/3 days, but it was merely frontal snow, so was followed by mild air and never lasted the entire day.

Temperatures - 6/10 - There was a distinctly dry cold in the anticyclonic spell at the end of the month, bringing an ice day or two.

Sunshine - 3/10 - A very cloudy first half. 38 hours of sunshine.

February:

Snow - 1/10 - No settling snow at all below 200m, and only temporary coverings above that. Truly dire.

Temperatures - 2/10 - Unlike the rest of the country, 10C was only reached in Buxton in the last week of February, although many 9C maxes were recorded. However, temperatures failed to get below -1C at all.

Sunshine - 2/10 An average of one hour per day, most of which was recorded on just a few days, with a week of no sun whatsoever and omnipresent fog.

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How is your Cleadon Snow events count doing so far?

I might be confusing people with the various indexes and stuff floating about! My "Winter Snow Events" analysis is a UK-wide thing that looks at a "snow season" rather than winter quarter (i.e. snowfalls within the period September to June), I conducted research on UK snow events from 1947 to 2009 a couple of years ago (drawing on various sources including Richard Wild's snow accounts in the Journal of Meteorology and the Met Office's snow reports booklets) and gave winters a score based on grading individual snow events according to how widespread and significant they were. No such system can be perfect of course, but I think the figures should give a reasonable indicator of how "snowy" a winter across the UK as a whole was.

2010/11 is currently sitting on 38, which is above the long-term average and the second highest since 1985/86, but to beat 2009/10 (58) we would need the snowiest spring quarter across the country as a whole since 1947, which is already looking very unlikely.

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A contrasting winter here as follows:

December - a wonderful month in terms of severe cold, we recorded 17 ice days with a run of 10 ice days between 17th-26th December with a low minimum on the 20th of -12 degrees nothing exceptional but notable all the same. In terms of days of snow lying we recorded 21 days. Amounts of snow were rather dissapointing compared to many parts, the largest falls occuring on the 4th where we recorded 4 inches and then on the 27th when we saw 3 inches - nothing compared to Dec 2009 when we saw nearly a foot of snow fall on the 20th/21st.

We also saw our second white christmas in a row, a wonderful day with snow falling heavy for a couple of hours around noon. The river kent froze in parts in the run up to christmas for the first time since 1981/82 and even patchy ice developed on lake windermere. If only the month could have started 5 days earlier it would have been an incredible month with the cold and snow lasting right through to new years day, alas the last four days of the month were dreary with overcast skies and mild mucky conditions with a rapid thaw. The month as a whole was very dry and very sunny - two bonuses for Dec which is renowned for being a wet and dull month usually.

January - a fairly decent month for cold weather with over half of the days starting off with at least a ground frost. We managed an ice day on the 21st. It was very poor for snowfall just one day with snow falling on the 7th but nothing settling and we saw no mornings with snow cover. It was also a preety dull month with a very wet spell between 10-16th.

February - very poor in terms of both cold and snowy weather. Probably the worse since 1998 in this respect. Very few frosts, I think we had about three and we managed one morning with snowcover on the 19th. Also an exceptionally dull month in the main and a wet one with frequent low cloud brought in by mild southwesterlies - a month to forget.

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February 2011's sunshine maps are in:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/anomacts/2011/2/2011_2_Sunshine_Actual.gif

...and national and regional sunshine stats:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/datasets/#

It was the dullest February since 1993 across the UK as a whole, but in East Anglia it was the dullest since 1966. Overall the winter quarter was the dullest in East Anglia since 1971/72. In contrast, England E & NE (encompassing Tyne and Wear) had near average sunshine thanks to a sunny December, so the stats certainly bear out my suggestion of a winter to remember in Tyneside but a winter to forget in Norfolk.

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My statistics for central Reading for winter 2010/11:

Average maximum: 6.5

Average minimum: 2.4

Average for season: 4.4

Mildest day: 13.7 (Feb 24)

Coldest day: -1.9* (Dec 3)

Mildest night: 12.0 (Jan 13)

Coldest night: -9.4* (Dec 20)

Air frosts: 28 (21 of these in December; none in February)

Ice days: 5 (all in December)

Days with snow falling: 7 (all in December)

Days with snow lying at 0900: 7 (all in December)

Maximum snow depth: 6cm (December 19)

*Coldest on record (since 2002)

Overall a colder than average season, with suppressed daytime maxima and near average minima. As with other reports, a record-breaking cold December followed by an average January and very mild February. Rainfall was well below average in December, above average in January and close to average in February. All months were duller than average, continuing a notably long run of dull months in this region beginning in July 2010. There were two significant snowfalls - on Dec 1 and Dec 18/19 - but snow depths were unexceptional here and easily surpassed by the event of 6/7 January 2010.

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December

Mean Max: 2.1C (-5.5C)

Mean Min: -2.4C (-4.9C)

Mean: -0.1C (-5.2C)

Air Frosts: 20

Snow Falling: 13

Snow Lying: 24

Precip: 53.2mm (72%)

Sunshine: 65hrs (138%)

January

Mean Max: 6.6C (-0.2C)

Mean Min: 1.6C (+0.1C)

Mean: 4.1C (-0.1C)

Air Frosts: 9

Snow Falling: 2

Snow Lying: 0

Precip: 17.6mm (35%)

Sunshine: 60hrs (109%)

February

Mean Max: 9.0C (+1.5C)

Mean Min: 4.2C (+2.6C)

Mean: 6.6C (+2.0C)

Air Frosts: 1

Snow Falling: 1

Snow Lying: 0

Precip: 52.8mm (138%)

Sunshine: 56hrs (79%)

With a winter index of 121, this winter was beaten only by 1995/96 (144) and 2009/10 (197) since 1987. For falling snow it was 8th place in the same time period but the 24 days of lying snow (all in December) made it the best since 1986. It was the first time both January and February both had no lying snow since 1998 and both months had the lowest combined total days of falling snow since 1988/89. For air frosts it was the 5th highest total since 1982 on 30 days, though February on its own was the joint lowest on record.

The mean temp of 3.5C (-1.1C) was beaten only by 1990/91, 1995/96 and 2009/10 since 1987 and with 123.6mm it was the driest winter since 2006 with January being the driest since 1997. December was the coldest on record and coldest month since February 1986 (the only other sub-zero month Ive recorded). February was the joint 4th mildest. The min temp on 21st December of -11.4C was the lowest since February 1986 and the max temp of -3.4C on the same day was the lowest since December 1995. December had 7 ice days, the most of any month since I began recording in 1982. It also contained more days with min temps below -5C than the previous 17 years put together.

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