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Favourite unexpected snowfall?

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Find it difficult to say what is my favourite unexpected snowfall, but in the last 3 years there have been a number of unexpected and therefore pleasant snowfall surprises.

Most recently, seeing snow lying on the ground at noon in Barnard Castle on the 27 Oct was a big surprise having left a green Cumbria.

Christmas Day 2010 - an a hour and a half of snowfall in late morning - very unexpected and not forecast, seeing the clouds darken over the central fells was wonderful, we've had snow falling on a number of christmas days, but 2010 was quite special. Unlike other parts of the country we didn't have much snow on the ground, it was a hard ice crusted cover and wasn't covering all surfaces, so the snowfall was great as it covered all the 'black spaces' with a nice white dusting.

Dec 21st 2009 pm - intense heavy convection off the Irish Sea, delivering a few inches of snow, with nearly a foot cover by morning, the forecast said a few isolated showers near the coast only.

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Showing my age now but being a kid in the late 60's and early 70's most snowfalls were unexpected as hearing and certainly watching weather forecasts was quite unusual. One which does stick in my mind, probably because of the timing was Christmas Eve; can't be sure of the year but probably 1970. To this day I can remember sledging with mates down our street' snow coming down in bucket loads and carol singers going around the houses. TBH I still love snow but there is something far more magical about it falling on or around christmas. I even love christmas films which have snow in them.

Obviously still a kid at heart

Another unexpected fall was in early 1982 when a frosty but sunny morning changed into one of the heaviest falls of snow i've ever seen. Without a breath of wind blowing and huge flakes we measured 18 inches of snow in 12 hours and for all North Westerners who say we don't get snow from the East....we did that day.

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Of course all my favourite unexpected snowfalls came before I religiously followed the weather.

14th April 1999 was just incredible, being the first day back at school after the holidays and it was cancelled because, my school being on a 200m hill had more than 25cm of snow!

30th December 2001 was a nice surprise albeit a dusting of only a few centimetres. Shame the rest of the winter was crap.

26th February 2004 sticks out big time as it was the first big snowfall at my secondary school. The day dawned clear and sunny with a hard frost but around midday a fluffy veil of cloud spread down from the north and after a few attempts at flurrying, the heavens opened over Bristol and it snowed good and proper for the best part of 5-6 hours. Of course it was chaos getting home as normally the significant accumulations are found outside the city but this was in the city too.

It is this event that has always confused me when talking about ideal conditions for snow. It was at the end of February, sun was getting stronger and had warmed the air and ground nicely by the afternoon yet as soon as it started snowing, it settled without a problem. Yet, when temperatures are close to freezing and there has been no sun it still manages to fall as rain half the time!

19th December 2004 was also a big surprise as I had gone to bed the night before to the sound of heavy rain on the skylight. Then, the following morning, white covered everything and it was still lightly snowing. I had a good walk on the Mendips that day where it was surprisingly deep!

Since 2004, I have followed the models more and there have been more disappointments than good surprises. 24th January 2007 produced a dusting which wasn't forecast for my area, yet 8th February of that year was very underwhelming. It was nice to see blizzard like conditions on 11th January 2008 after heavy rainfall all morning. It began settling on all surfaces but moments later petered out. I miss the days where ignorance was bliss.

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Feb 18 1978,AT time in Weymouth Dorset, Going to work 6.30 pm heavy rain, Wilst at work went outside 8pm to massive blizzard, The most severe snow I have ever seen, Have been in snow storms in Noway.Scotland,Austria etc, Yet biggest ever snow storm seen was on south coast,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, There is book Blzzard that buried Dorset,

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Feb 18 1978,AT time in Weymouth Dorset, Going to work 6.30 pm heavy rain, Wilst at work went outside 8pm to massive blizzard, The most severe snow I have ever seen, Have been in snow storms in Noway.Scotland,Austria etc, Yet biggest ever snow storm seen was on south coast,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, There is book Blzzard that buried Dorset,

My best snowstorm ever too Cerneman. Hope you enjoyed the book.

Edited by mcweather
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During the evening of November 28th 2010, milder uppers moved in from the North Sea, tied in with a weather system, and the lying snow began to turn quite wet. By late evening there was even a bit of sleet and I had resigned to the fact that the snow was likely to turn slushy, although there was over 20cm of powder snow by this point anyway from snowfalls on previous days. By midnight however some extremely heavy snow moved in from the North Sea, accompanied by thunder and lightning. This continued for the whole of the 29th, giving an additional 15cm of lying snow, with lots more thunder as well. By the end of the day there was about 40cm in Newcastle, and reports of twice that in Northumberland.

That was the pinnacle of the cold spell here, despite starting off quite sleety, and I even thought we were about to see the end of the snowy weather. In fact, that whole cold spell was a shock as I though we would just see something along the lines of February 2005 with some heavy snow, but also thawing in between, whereas we ended up with what was probably the deepest snow since 1979. I suppose it wasn't a total shock as the cold spell had been forecast well in advance, but the severity certainly took me by surprise.

December 28th(ish) 2005 was very good as well - the easterly hadn't delivered very much snow, but a lone snow shower dumped 10-15cm on Tyneside during the evening as the easterly fizzled out, and the following day was severely cold with clear blue skies.

February 12th 2009 was a great day - drizzle had been forecast with a quick end to the cold spell, but by 10:00 it was snowing lightly, and by lunchtime it was coming down thick and fast with a few inches lying. Unfortunately some drizzle that evening initiated a gradual thaw, but a few days later I went up to Rothbury in Northumberland and there was about 8 inches lying there, which was the deepest snow I could remember at the time. A good end to an otherwise disappointing cold spell (Not counting 2nd Feb)

And finally, December 5th this year was a pretty nice surprise. I woke up to frozen scenes with a thick frost, but the snow showers were moving NNW-SSE just offshore in the North Sea, so I fully expected the frustration of seeing anvils out to my east all day whilst I remained dry. However, by mid morning a trough allowed the showers to spread inland, and this change occurred so quickly it couldn't be seen on any of the free radars before the snow started. It snowed for the best part of 6 hours as the showers merged to form some prolonged spells of snow, and the NE ended up with 5-10cm generally.

I think the 12th Feb 2009 has to be my favourite, simply because it was completely unforecast.

Edited by Alza
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As this winter appears to have slipped away, is anybody interested in re-vising this interesting topic?

I kept weather diaries from mid 1967 (I was 11 at the time). I also tried to indicate what the BBC weather forecast was for the coming day if an "interesting" weather day appeared to be just around the corner.

We were in Coventry at the time. If anyone is interested, I will check back but I am sure there were unexpected snowfalls in lowland southern England in 1968, 1969 & 1970. I certainly have a very clear memory of the very first time our school was closed due to heavy snow - 4th March 1970.

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On 22/11/2012 at 21:36, PeteB said:

April 14th/15th 1998, we had a very unexpected fall of no less than 37cms.

Pete

 

Remember that period well, came two months after that warm spell during mid February 1998, something to bear in my mind members given this February. 

Snow fell every day that Easter and the two days that followed it. Snow and hail showers broke out the Saturday, it was clear skies to start with on Easter Sunday  with a frost but the showers exploded into life earlier afternoon with hail and snow. Easter Monday was dry during the day but heavy snow showers moved in from the Irish Sea that evening. It was strange seeing flowers in bloom and everything covered in snow. The snow cover thawed the next day but early afternoon we had sleet and wet snow and it just got heavier and heavier. By that night, it was billowing down and everything was covered in snow apart from the roads. Never seen a heavier snowfall during April. A severe weather warning was given for the area for heavy snow.

PHZRhZA.jpg

 

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12th March 2006, forecast the night before was rain, sleet and "perhaps some snow" type thing, so I took that to mean rain considering most forecasts of "disruptive" snow in the previous few years had just given rain or sleet, or snow that wouldn't stick much (Feb 2005!)

9am that Sunday morning there was 12cm of snow on the ground, it was still snowing and there were even drifts in places. It was the deepest snow here since Dec 1995, wouldn't be deeper till Dec 2010, and it was the only time 10cm or more fell in one day between Feb 1994 and Dec 2017. 

And despite being mid-March it hardly thawed during the day except on the roads, and much of it was still around on the Monday. A real unexpected surprise.

 

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was a great track of the low, unlike this year when it was south of M4

this would have brought rain south of the M4

archives-2014-12-27-0-0.png

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5 minutes ago, I remember Atlantic 252 said:

was a great track of the low, unlike this year when it was south of M4

this would have brought rain south of the M4

archives-2014-12-27-0-0.png

It was rain south of the M54! I remember that Boxing Day evening driving home from Surrey to Shropshire, left in rain and 6C, by the time I reached Birmingham it had dropped to 1C but was still all rain, though I could see bits of snow on some surfaces that had obviously fallen earlier. Finally turned to snow at Telford, and at home there was a cm or so lying. 

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26 minutes ago, I remember Atlantic 252 said:

was a great track of the low, unlike this year when it was south of M4

this would have brought rain south of the M4

archives-2014-12-27-0-0.png

It did indeed bring rain south of the M4! 😂

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That was a strange one, 4th March 2016. The coldest air was on the underbelly of the system and rain turned to snow on the westerly flow. Then the wind direction switched direction to one with a northerly easterly component and temperatures rose as we got the less cold uppers.

 

Edited by Weather-history

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Aye, remember missing out on that one, milder later anyway as you say with the NE winds

archives-2016-3-4-12-0.png

Edited by I remember Atlantic 252
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April 1998 the standout biggest surprise with 2 big snowfalls as well as one in aprill 2000,didn`t see any weather forecasts so didn`t expect anything like that(april 1986 was cold and snowy but not as severe as those 2 maybe because I missed don`t remember april 1981 it made up for it) as we were so busy in that period with 9 inches and full blown blizzard with gales roads blocked by snowdrifts,april is the month to watch this year.

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18 minutes ago, Snowyowl9 said:

April 1998 the standout biggest surprise with 2 big snowfalls as well as one in aprill 2000,didn`t see any weather forecasts so didn`t expect anything like that(april 1986 was cold and snowy but not as severe as those 2 maybe because I missed don`t remember april 1981 it made up for it) as we were so busy in that period with 9 inches and full blown blizzard with gales roads blocked by snowdrifts,april is the month to watch this year.

but we've warmed up so much then, snow much less likely even in April, 98 was a good year, but 21 years on, maybe averaging 0.3 degrees higher

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The day before the storm of 25th January 1990, a comma cloud tracked in on the cold pm flow and caught the forecasters out. Watching the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth games at Auckland on TV, looked out of the window and saw it was snowing which was starting to leave a cover. I think there was a bit of travel chaos as councils were caught on the hop. I recall Fred Talbot on Granada weather saying they underestimated the evaporative cooling effect. It was the only snow cover during the meterological winter of 1989-90. That was the start of an amazing spell of weather, a real rollercoaster till early March. 

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On ‎18‎/‎02‎/‎2019 at 21:13, I remember Atlantic 252 said:

but we've warmed up so much then, snow much less likely even in April, 98 was a good year, but 21 years on, maybe averaging 0.3 degrees higher

Do you mean since then in your first sentence,you may of missed a word out.

April 1998 comes top here for 2 large snowfalls as I`ve experienced 6 inches and 9 extra inches 5 days later not good for lambing in a blizzard.

The first one was powdery snow like the second.

Edited by Snowyowl9

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