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The Uk's Most Distruptive Snowfalls


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Posted
  • Location: Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire
  • Location: Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire

    What are the most Distruptive Snowfalls ever to have hit a council, motorway, city, or nation in each of the months where snow is possible [October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May]

    I don't have the greatest knowledge of great snowfalls before the 21st Century let alone more obscure snowfalls only affecting a particular council or area so I would give my verdict on these events based only on my knowledge.

    October: Southern Snowfall 2008?

    I'm unaware of any October snowfalls other than this and even this event probably didn't bring any distruption.

    November: Convective Easterly in North East England and Scotland in 2010.

    I can't think of anything more severe than this. 1-3ft of snow across much of North Eastern England aswell as much of Eastern and Central Scotland.

    December: Central Scotland Snowfall, December 6th 2010.

    There may be events in the past that were more severe or even the snowfalls in the south later on that month, but I've never seen anything like this snowfall in my life. The entirety of the most populated area in Scotland had a stalled front that dumped 10-20cm of snow. With hundreds to thousands of travellers stranded on the motorways aswell as countless number of abondoned cars on other roads, I've never seen a snowfall as bad as this. The Scottish Transport Minister resigned as a result of this event.

    January: 1987 Convective Easterly in the South.

    I don't think that there's any argument about this, considering how many of the southern members here recall how amazing the event was with many hours of heavy snow resulting with deep accumilations. I'd love to hear your memories of this event.

    February: 1991 or 2009?

    1991 is considered a similar event to 1987. But I feel that 2009 was slightly more distruptive considering the public's idea of snow had changed over the snowless winters and this resulted in mass distruption and cost the government a billion.

    March: Frontal Snowfall of 2006?

    Still, I have no real knowledge of great March Snowfalls but this event dumped 20-40cm to quite a few places in the north.

    May: 1997

    There was then a notable snowfall in the north on the 6th, particularly affecting north Wales, but with some snow as far south as Derbyshire, with even Bewdley (Worcs) seeing an hour or so of snow. North Wales was covered with snow: the Vale of Clywd was particularly badly hit, with up to 15cms in places. Schools were shut, and traffic disrupted as the A55 was affected.

    Let's see what additions we can get.

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    Posted
  • Location: winscombe north somerset
  • Weather Preferences: action weather
  • Location: winscombe north somerset

    yes 30cms in 24hrs down near exeter at minus 3 with gale force winds ,feb 18th 1978 ,white hell was headlines . also march 4 th 1947 , south of bristol 40cms at minus 2 vast drifts , april 1908 a couple of exceptional deep fals especially in oxford cambridge bristol ,also low temp for late in season ,the victorian blizzards in the 1880s not sure which year , 60cms quite widely across southern britain .cheers legritter

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    Posted
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.
  • Weather Preferences: Heavy disruptive snowfall.
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.

    Great thread and i will make a post on this subject at some point over the next week when i have got more time, i may even do my top 10 or even 20 of all time.87 and 91 still tops for me but as you say 2009 unexpected, if i had been here then rather than Manchester, that may have been up there with them.

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    Posted
  • Location: Bedford, Arguably The South East Midlands
  • Location: Bedford, Arguably The South East Midlands

    i was to young to remember 87 or 91 but the most disruptive snowfall i can remember was just last year when i had 7 inches here in bedford, which is only about 90ft above sea level, so it has been poor for snow here for most of my life, and just shows how rare deep snow is here

    Edited by Snowy Easterly
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    Posted
  • Location: London Waterloo 0m/ Leeds Bradford Airport 200m
  • Location: London Waterloo 0m/ Leeds Bradford Airport 200m

    Probably for Yorkshire/Lincolnshire December 1st 2010. Snow started around 10 am here, by then most were at work, after an hour of snowfall in Leeds people began to leave work early...

    Buses were struggling, the one on the left is in the wrong lane!

    62137646.png

    After 3 hours of snowfall the city was gridlocked..

    76225392.png

    Snow only fell from 10-2pm, so only 4 hours yet caused massive problems, shops shut early, trains canceled, buses canceled etc.

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    1881snowa057.jpg

    The white shading are for depths of 12 inches and greater

    The vertical shading are for depths of between 6 and 12 inches

    The horizontal shading are for depths of 6 inches and less

    http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/49788-the-times-the-great-blizzard-of-january-1881/

    Just a few more

    1ft snow in 7 hours in London

    http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/61989-the-times-the-great-london-snowstorm-1ft-in-7-hours/

    3ft snow drifts in Manchester: Feb 1900

    http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/62775-3ft-drifts-in-manchester-city-centrefebruary-1900/

    Late Feb-early March 1909 snowfalls

    http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/70994-the-snowfalls-of-late-february-early-march-1909/

    The late February 1933 event

    http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/62938-biggest-weather-event-of-the-1930s/

    Edited by Mr_Data
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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth
  • Weather Preferences: Snow. Winter. Dry cool Summers
  • Location: Bournemouth

    Not sure if this is the right thread but

    91. I was working and living in the Cotswolds Nr Stow on the Wold. From memory it was a Friday night when the fun started. I was an assistant restaurant manager at the time and the Hotel was quiet due to us having a large party arriving on the Saturday. I remember saying to the General Manager that we were going to get some Snow during the night and it could be a lot. He said that as it was raining at the time it would not be a problem as it would not stick. Love it when I hear people say this now, always makes me smile.

    In the morning there was a knock at the door and it was the restaurant manager. She could not move her car due to a snow drift and asked if I would take her to the hotel which was about a mile away. My car was clear as the snow had blown to other parts of the car park.

    We set of and had travelled about three quarters of a mile when we came to a drift which was right across the road. I tried to ram through it but that was it, we were going no further. The quarter of a mile walk left I will never forget. I love snow but on this occasion I was genuinely frightened. It was absolutely freezing. Driving snow and strong wind, I could feel myself slowing as my body temp feel.

    We got to the hotel and from memory it continued to snow for about another 3 hours. The depth of the snow was not huge, maybe 10 inches but the drifts were incredible. When it had calmed and the snow had stopped, myself and a couple of chefs when to get my car. At first I thought it had been stolen as we could not find it anywhere and then one of the chefs said I think we are standing on it. He was indeed correct and it was a foot beneath us. This is no exaggeration I promise. We started to dig it out and thankfully a tractor came a long and pulled it out.

    We managed to get it back to the hotel. The party for about hundred and fifty did not come. There were four guests and twenty live in staff and we were in the hotel for the next day or so completely cut off. I spoke to the head chef and asked what we should do with all the food. He asked us to freeze what we could and we may as well eat the rest. We had a great time. Loads of food, stuck in a big country house with huge log fires and twenty foot drifts to look at. The four guests joined in with us and I think they will remember their stay for a long time too.

    On the Saturday we had two people arrive on Ski's asking if they could have lunch. We clearly told them no, well we were to busy, 20 foot drifts to look at!!

    Edited by snow drift
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    Posted
  • Location: London, UK
  • Location: London, UK

    Feb 2009 was the worst in London, as buses completely stopped. 2010 stuff was still chugging along all the time. Nov/Dec 2010 was prolonged, that's the only thing, any snow in west end melted anyway when I traveled to work.

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    Posted
  • Location: Stoke Gifford, Bristol
  • Location: Stoke Gifford, Bristol

    If one looks through any local newspaper archives the south west has been hit by some severe blizzards over the last couple of centuries.

    My own memories are of Winter 78/79 (the most severe for blizzards in Bristol), 81/82 and January '87.

    We were paralysed by a ferocious blizzard the day before New Years Eve 1978 - quite strong easterlies, heavy powder snow, below zero temps - drifts up to 3 feet in the Bristol suburbs - out in the country there were drifts up to 8 feet high i believe.

    Then during January('79) of that winter we had a number of blizzard events.

    81/82 - winter came early - first Sunday of December - blizzard sweeps in from the south west as a depression hits the cold air. a number of major snow events that winter.

    Mid-January '87 (can't remember the exact date) - a severe blizzard hit Bristol, below zero temps - almost a 24 hour event if i remember rightly - some of the outer suburbs were cut off for a couple of days.

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    Posted
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago

    Feb 2009 was the worst in London, as buses completely stopped. 2010 stuff was still chugging along all the time. Nov/Dec 2010 was prolonged, that's the only thing, any snow in west end melted anyway when I traveled to work.

    Feb 1991 was definitely worse (I realise that some may be too young to remember it!). Deeper snow, colder temperatures, and it stayed longer. This was the classic "Wrong type of snow" that brought trains to a halt. The February 2009 event may have been a surprise to some (not to those on here of course), but it melted extremely quickly as far as I recall, and roads were soon cleared. Of course, the last two Decembers and January 2010 smash February 2009 (but that is off topic for this thread).

    From my memory in the Reading area, the following are the most memorable and disruptive:

    October: 2008. Also the only snow I've seen here in October. Most caught by surprise and as a result there were long delays to rush hour traffic.

    November: Struggling on this one. Not sure I've seen disruptive snow in Reading in November. I'm sure someone can help me here?

    December: 1981, followed by 2009. The snow of December 2009 was memorable as it started as rain, washing away the grit from the roads, and then turned rapidly to snow creating a layer of ice underneath. About three to four inches fell, so not that much, but most were caught unawares and the lack of grit led to abanded vehicles on every hill. It took my then heavily pregnant wife six hours to travel the three miles from Junction 11 of the M4 to Tilehurst.

    January: 1987. King of the lot of course, and still the deepest snow I can recall as well as the coldest.

    February: 1991 as mentioned above.

    Nothing stands out for me from March onwards. I guess that as it is less likely for snow to stick around I tend to take less notice. For me, if snow melts from the roads after a few hours, the disruption is largely minimal. To cause real disruption it has to stick around for a couple of days. That is why I tend not to remember frontal events where a few inches fall before turning to rain and thawing.

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    Posted
  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms and heat, North Sea snow
  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    March 1979 was exceptionally bad in NE England - a blizzard lasting from the 16th until the 18th gave 50cm in Newcastle with enormous drifts. I'm sure that must rank fairly highly for March snow events.

    Last November we did see very large snow accumulations, but the roads coped surprisingly well - probably no worse than when we see a 4 inch fall.

    Edited by alza
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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    March 1979 was exceptionally bad in NE England - a blizzard lasting from the 16th until the 18th gave 50cm in Newcastle with enormous drifts. I'm sure that must rank fairly highly for March snow events.

    Last November we did see very large snow accumulations, but the roads coped surprisingly well - probably no worse than when we see a 4 inch fall.

    I was going to mention March 1979 which hit the NE particularly hard.

    Other severe snowstorms not always mentioned as they occured outside the famous winters of 46/47 and 62/63 which were bound to have caused problems include: (all quotes taken from the excellent book 'the weather of britain by robin stirling)'-

    9-13 March 1891 - the SW being hardest hit average of 24 inches in Devon and Cornwall

    23-26 Feb 1933 - Yorkshire hardest hit 30 inches in Harrogate.

    26 January 1940 - much of central northern england saw between 1 and 2 feet of snow

    25-29 Jan 1945 - South Wales to Yorkshire 40 inches of snow

    6 Feb 1968 - 12 to 18 inches in populated Manchester and Birmingham

    17-19 Feb 1978 - SW and west country hardest hit

    20-27 Apr 1981- numerous very late season heavy snowfalls must have caused widespread problems with 10 inches falling for example in Sheffield on the 24th. This spell of weather was truly exceptional.

    8-9 Jan 1982 - up to 28 inches in south wales.

    8 Dec 1990 - 17 inches Acock Green

    5/6 Feb 1996 - widely between 1 and 2 feet of snow in Cumbria and SW Scotland with some places seeing more than 2 feet - often not mentioned as most of the snow fell in a fairly thinly populated part of the country, but here in Windermere we haven't seen levels bettered since.

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    Posted
  • Location: Matlock Derbyshire
  • Location: Matlock Derbyshire

    so many to mention but as many have already mentioned 78/79 memorable around here.

    on the way home from school, the lane was blocked with 6 to 8ft drifts, blown through and way over the farmers gates, blocking the road. Had to take a run and jump then just try to roll over and through.

    also 81, some big drifts on the tops, from Bakewell to Chesterfield, on my way to colleage, and drifts in some of the dips were up to 20 feet high.

    i also rember opeing the kitchen door when i lived on the top of Matlock and the snow completly door way. Then my dad went upstaires and had to climb out of the bedroom window into a large drift to get down to ground level, neighbours then had to dig out the house.

    cannot remember the exact year, but i lived up there from 1967 to December 1976.

    Definately been some heavy falls here the years.

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    Posted
  • Location: Whitkirk, Leeds 86m asl
  • Weather Preferences: Anything but mild south-westeries in winter
  • Location: Whitkirk, Leeds 86m asl

    Probably for Yorkshire/Lincolnshire December 1st 2010. Snow started around 10 am here, by then most were at work, after an hour of snowfall in Leeds people began to leave work early...

    Buses were struggling, the one on the left is in the wrong lane!

    62137646.png

    After 3 hours of snowfall the city was gridlocked..

    76225392.png

    Snow only fell from 10-2pm, so only 4 hours yet caused massive problems, shops shut early, trains canceled, buses canceled etc.

    Agreed. I have lived in Leeds all my life and that was the first time I've seen the buses cancelled all over the city due to snow.. but to be fair there was a lot of traffic, about 5 inches fell, and the disruption was really only restricted to that day.. the schools opened pretty quickly and weren't closed for very long at all.. a day I'd say.. the airport had about 12 inches.. but only closed for about 2 days.. compared to most places I'd say we handled the snow well

    Edited by Aaron
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    Posted
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago

    5/6 Feb 1996 - widely between 1 and 2 feet of snow in Cumbria and SW Scotland with some places seeing more than 2 feet - often not mentioned as most of the snow fell in a fairly thinly populated part of the country, but here in Windermere we haven't seen levels bettered since.

    I did experience that one. I was at university in Nottingham at the time and we hired a car to drive to Edinburgh to visit a friend's brother and go to a party. I decided to come off the A1 at Newcastle, and head on the A696 through Ponteland and onto the A68 through Jedburgh. There had been some snow around during that February as many will recall, much of it thawing slowly at lower elevations. However, as we rose up through Jedburgh and beyond, the snow deepened. Once we got past the Catcleugh Reservoir, the drifts were immense. For about two miles before and after the split with the A6088, the drifts were easily three feet over the top of the car. The ploughs had done their job however and had cleared one lane, so we were effectively driving along a cutting in the snow. It was quite eerie as it was late at night by this point, the car headlights reflecting off the snow banks as we continued on. We drove into Scotland (there is a parking area on the border just there, and the ploughs had obviously used it as a staging area as it was cleared) and then headed down the other side. The drifts slowly lessened, although there was lying snow down to fairly low levels (Edinburgh itseld was clear).

    That remains the second deepest snow I've witnessed. Only my February 2007 trip to Mexico, NY where more than 100 inches of lake-effect snow had fallen (level snow up to the eaves of houses!) beats this.

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    I did experience that one. I was at university in Nottingham at the time and we hired a car to drive to Edinburgh to visit a friend's brother and go to a party. I decided to come off the A1 at Newcastle, and head on the A696 through Ponteland and onto the A68 through Jedburgh. There had been some snow around during that February as many will recall, much of it thawing slowly at lower elevations. However, as we rose up through Jedburgh and beyond, the snow deepened. Once we got past the Catcleugh Reservoir, the drifts were immense. For about two miles before and after the split with the A6088, the drifts were easily three feet over the top of the car. The ploughs had done their job however and had cleared one lane, so we were effectively driving along a cutting in the snow. It was quite eerie as it was late at night by this point, the car headlights reflecting off the snow banks as we continued on. We drove into Scotland (there is a parking area on the border just there, and the ploughs had obviously used it as a staging area as it was cleared) and then headed down the other side. The drifts slowly lessened, although there was lying snow down to fairly low levels (Edinburgh itseld was clear).

    That remains the second deepest snow I've witnessed. Only my February 2007 trip to Mexico, NY where more than 100 inches of lake-effect snow had fallen (level snow up to the eaves of houses!) beats this.

    The Borders were hit much less than SW Scotland - the A74 was severely affected with many car abandoned - the front itself tried to move eastwards into Pennine areas but stalled and was forced to retreat back westwards on the 7th - a very unusual occurance however by that time it had weakened substantially.

    I think Wales in particular and parts of the west midlands and hillier parts of SW England also saw a fair bit of snow from the front. Overall it was definately a SW Scotland and Cumbria event. Border News dedicated most of its output on the eve of the 6th to the snow event.

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    Posted
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts
  • Weather Preferences: Rain/snow, fog, gales and cold in every season
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts

    i also rember opeing the kitchen door when i lived on the top of Matlock and the snow completly door way. Then my dad went upstaires and had to climb out of the bedroom window into a large drift to get down to ground level, neighbours then had to dig out the house.

    cannot remember the exact year, but i lived up there from 1967 to December 1976.

    Definately been some heavy falls here the years.

    That could have been February 1969, it's the only year I can think of between the ones you mention when there was a major snowfall with a lot of drifting. Not as severe as 1979 though which, apart from February 1956, which was similar, caused the most widespread disruption to everyday life in this area that I can remember.

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    I remember the snowfall in Cornwall in 1955 but on the whole Jan, and Feb. were worse in other parts of the country especially Scotland.

    'Operation Snowdrop' was the name given to the military operation to deliver food and medical supplies to snowbound districts in Scotland exactly fifty years ago. The RAF operated fixed-wing aircraft out of Kinloss primarily to drop animal fodder, and the Royal Navy flew helicopters from Wick to carry supplies to villages and farms cut off by drifts over 30 feet high. The services flew nearly 300 sorties in all to provide relief to communities in Shetland, Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty, and Inverness-shire.

    The winter of 1955 was the coldest and snowiest between the two Big Freezes of 1947 and 1963, but in many parts of the Scotland it was reckoned to be the worst of the lot. Severe weather lasted from January 4th-22nd, and returned from February 8th until March 11th. The snow in northern Scotland arrived on a gale force northerly wind, and even when the snow stopped falling the wind continued to blow it into deep drifts thwarting all attempts to clear roads, most of which remained impassable until well into March.

    Level snow lay 60cm deep by February 23 over the northern half of Scotland, and was measured at 90cm deep at Drummuir Castle, southeast of Elgin. The wintry weather extended to England and Wales for long periods too, especially during the second half of February with a dramatic snowstorm in Cornwall during the closing days of the month.

    http://www.weatheron...ter-of-1955.htm

    Edited by weather ship
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    Posted
  • Location: Medway - 125m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Hot summers, snowy winters and thunderstorms!
  • Location: Medway - 125m ASL

    In my lifetime probably the early 90's winter snow (can't remember what year) or the 2010/2011 snow.

    Early 90's snow.

    This was one of those times the community really came together. I was a bit too young to remember the details but my parents recall it well. As far as they knew snow was forecast, but it wasn't supposed to be particularly heavy. They woke up in the morning to find at least a foot of snow and it was still pummelling down. On our street at the time there were several self employed labourers so they really needed to get to work. All the men came out to dig out driveways and the road (we lived on a hill so it was impossible to drive on it unless the snow was cleared). They went at it for several hours but the snow was literally falling faster than they could dig so they eventually gave up and decided to have the day off.

    Instead all the kids came out and walked to the top of the hill where there is a big grassy slope and went toboganning and of course all the men and Mum's came and joined in. it was like a scene from the christmas cards where the whole village come out to play in the snow. Apparently there was a grit shortage that year so the gritters were fighting a losing battle with the snow and many of the main roads in our areas were shut because they were too dangerous. I know most people didn't go to work for several days as they simply couldn't get out of our road and even if they could lots of their route was closed anyway. I'm not sure if it caused similar disruption for the rest of the country but I know the roads were badly disrupted in my area.

    2010/2011 snow

    Well this was recent so we can all remember. My area had thigh high snow (we are the top of a hill so it seems to collect there somewhat). The cars were buried up to their doors and you simply couldn't move them. My road and the surrounding ones were closed so you couldn't go to work (oh no, what a shame!). Again the gritters were not prepared so they couldn't deal with the snow which brought most of Kent to a standstill. More sledging fun was had by all. We took some dofgs for a walk which was almost impossible for them but they thouroughly enjoyed it. I don't think I've ever seen snow that deep in the UK.

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    Posted
  • Location: Bedworth, North Warwickshire 404ft above sea level
  • Location: Bedworth, North Warwickshire 404ft above sea level

    Here's a link to the thread I made a few years ago about the great midlands blizzard in 1990.

    I magine going to sleep with rain and then waking up to two and a half feet of snow with 6 foot snow drifts, no power or water and little gas?

    I still think we were suffering a lack of snow because god forgot that night and dumped 20 years of snow in one go lol! :D

    http://forum.netweather.tv/topic/52188-the-great-midlands-blizzard-9th-december-1990/

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    Posted
  • Location: Wimbledon
  • Location: Wimbledon

    Really annoyed I missed most of Dec 1990- I was at Uni in Exeter (where it just rained) and it fell the night before I was supposed to come home for Xmas hols. Of course my dad couldnt get out of the drive in South Staffs and there were no trains to Brum for several days. There was still plenty left when I got home but it was well on the melt. Disappointing.

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