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carinthian

50 YEARS AGO - THE 1963 BIG FREEZE

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This time 50 years ago I was a young lad living on my mum and dads farm in Cheshire and totally unaware about what we were in for.

Those who can remember, will never forget the scenes for the next 3 months. Over 60 days of continuous snowcover, severe frosts day and night, raging blizzards , deep drifts, blowing snow and frozen rivers. Ice floes on The River Mersey, River Dee frozen over, even the sea froze for a mile out in Kent and the Medway posts were ice.locked. Never missed a day out school even though the lane to our farm and the bus stop was filled with deep snow drifts, Schools never closed !

post-3489-0-52508400-1356098535_thumb.gi

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This time 50 years ago I was a young lad living on my mum and dads farm in Cheshire and totally unaware about what we were in for.

Those who can remember, will never forget the scenes for the next 3 months. Over 60 days of continuous snowcover, severe frosts day and night, raging blizzards , deep drifts, blowing snow and frozen rivers. Ice floes on The River Mersey, River Dee frozen over, even the sea froze for a mile out in Kent and the Medway posts were ice.locked. Never missed a day out school even though the lane to our farm and the bus stop was filled with deep snow drifts, Schools never closed !

Just shows from that chart how quckly things can change. Fairly innocuous at the time, but shows you have to get the upper trough to the east of the UK for any real cold to happen even with a Azores High and Russian estabished.

C

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Yes i remember that winter so well C.I was 14 at the time and it started for me with the arrival of the snow on Boxing day from the North as the High ridged right up into Greenland.

post-2026-0-78277000-1356101751_thumb.pn

Frontal snow moved down the country in the Arctic flow on the eastern side of the block giving those further North a white Christmas and much of the UK was snow covered by Boxing night.

A good website detailing the daily synoptics,temps. and general weather for that whole winter here

http://myweb.tiscali...62-63/index.htm

good work by Mike Tullett there.

It was that winter that really got me into chart watching-i think i hardly missed a day where i would look at the BBC evening weather forecast-in black and white then of course and just simple lines(isobars)and fronts on the presentation map.

I recall many days either after school or weekends when a whole crowd of us would meet up for sledging,snowball fights,building igloos and ice football on frozen ponds-the latter was quite a challenge.lol.I wouldn`t suggest the walking on ice covered water now but after a while in that winter the ice was at least 6inches or more thick.

I started a weather diary on Jan 1st 1963 and recorded that the final bit of snow cover thawed on March 2nd and taking into account that the snow first fell on the 26th Dec 1962 that was 66days of continual cover.

Add on some really low maximum and minimum readings and it really was a remarkable winter.

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Yes remember winter very well,First time seen snow plough in Birmingham, There is episode of Steptoe and Son that location shots around London streets filmed that winter, Great winter,nice times had by us kids

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Yes i remember that winter so well C.I was 14 at the time and it started for me with the arrival of the snow on Boxing day from the North as the High ridged right up into Greenland.

post-2026-0-78277000-1356101751_thumb.pn

Frontal snow moved down the country in the Arctic flow on the eastern side of the block giving those further North a white Christmas and much of the UK was snow covered by Boxing night.

A good website detailing the daily synoptics,temps. and general weather for that whole winter here

http://myweb.tiscali...62-63/index.htm

good work by Mike Tullett there.

It was that winter that really got me into chart watching-i think i hardly missed a day where i would look at the BBC evening weather forecast-in black and white then of course and just simple lines(isobars)and fronts on the presentation map.

I recall many days either after school or weekends when a whole crowd of us would meet up for sledging,snowball fights,building igloos and ice football on frozen ponds-the latter was quite a challenge.lol.I wouldn`t suggest the walking on ice covered water now but after a while in that winter the ice was at least 6inches or more thick.

I started a weather diary on Jan 1st 1963 and recorded that the final bit of snow cover thawed on March 2nd and taking into account that the snow first fell on the 26th Dec 1962 that was 66days of continual cover.

Add on some really low maximum and minimum readings and it really was a remarkable winter.

Phil,

Yes, like you , I got into recording a weather diary. Wish I kept it, but was determined to become a meteorologist and started work with the Met Office 8 years later. Those days we had to watch the BBC weather after the news for daily updates. The forecast of mild weather just got repelled again and again if I remember. I also subscibed to the Daily Surface synoptic charts for Europe and the Atlantic which were posted out each day from the Met Office. Was an expensive hobby but all consuming. Some of the charts for Jan and Feb 1963 were mindblowing at the time.

C

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Yes remember winter very well,First time seen snow plough in Birmingham, There is episode of Steptoe and Son that location shots around London streets filmed that winter, Great winter,nice times had by us kids

Great fun for us kids. Could not play football or Rugby for the whole of that term because of the snow depth, but our playground seemed the biggest outdoor skating rink in the world and I remember many hours after school sledging into the dark hours.

C

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Phil,

Yes, like you , I got into recording a weather diary. Wish I kept it, but was determined to become a meteorologist and started work with the Met Office 8 years later. Those days we had to watch the BBC weather after the news for daily updates. The forecast of mild weather just got repelled again and again if I remember. I also subscibed to the Daily Surface synoptic charts for Europe and the Atlantic which were posted out each day from the Met Office. Was an expensive hobby but all consuming. Some of the charts for Jan and Feb 1963 were mindblowing at the time.

C

Good stuff C-i still have my diary and well thumbed it is too as i tend to look back at it now and then when current modelling is looking less than exciting,lol.

Yes the weather forecasts on BBC were not very frequent then-once or twice in the evening if i recall C-after the news as we had no daytime broadcasts.

I remember those daily Met charts you had-i couldn`t afford them out of my paper round money..Hey wouldn`t we have had some fun on our PC`s if we had had the technology and internet charts we have now?

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Good stuff C-i still have my diary and well thumbed it is too as i tend to look back at it now and then when current modelling is looking less than exciting,lol.

Yes the weather forecasts on BBC were not very frequent then-once or twice in the evening if i recall C-after the news as we had no daytime broadcasts.

I remember those daily Met charts you had-i couldn`t afford them out of my paper round money..Hey wouldn`t we have had some fun on our PC`s if we had had the technology and internet charts we have now?

Phil, if we had the internet and all the model charts to scroll over for hours on end the winter of 62/63 would never had happened !! Just glad I lived throughi it even though we had no central heating or double glazing. You never staying in the bathroom for long... brrr... happy memories.

C

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Phil, if we had the internet and all the model charts to scroll over for hours on end the winter of 62/63 would never had happened !! Just glad I lived throughi it even though we had no central heating or double glazing. You never staying in the bathroom for long... brrr... happy memories.

C

Lol you mean chart viewing would have put the mockers on it.Well we know it did happen and we are lucky or mad enough to have enjoyed it-maybe our youth helped!

I do recall some less attractive aspects of it like you though-no central heating,just a coal fire in the lounge.Shivering elsewhere in the house and ice on the inside of the bedroom windows so you had to scrape them to look out when you woke up.

Like you said though we still went to school everyday but walking was quite common then.Many families had no cars and of course the buses struggled to get through.

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Was a telegram boy during the school holidays. Remember how cold it was delivering on my bike.

No central heating or double glazing and an inch of dust in the roof space for insulation. Mind you we were use to getting dressed in bed and watching ice patterns form on the inside of the windows.

Later on was able ride down to the town centre on the frozen river. When it started to thaw some little heros rode down the river on the ice flows. I preferred to watch.

Think that many now would find it difficult to cope.

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I do recall the wonderfully fresh aroma that wafted in through the gaps in my council-house windows on the morning of the big thaw, in March...

Edit: And, no, it wasn't newly-thawed dog poo!

Edited by Rybris Ponce
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Great fun for us kids. Could not play football or Rugby for the whole of that term because of the snow depth, but our playground seemed the biggest outdoor skating rink in the world and I remember many hours after school sledging into the dark hours.

C

Had the cane for throwing snowballs at teachers car, Two across each hand. Case of mistaken identity

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Had the cane for throwing snowballs at teachers car, Two across each hand. Case of mistaken identity

Ahhh the cane -i recall that too cerneman-ouch!

Just think in these days of Health and Safety regs your school would have been closed so you wouldn`t have thrown snowballs at teachers car so no cane.

Mind you that wouldn`t be allowed now anyway,lol

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Phil, if we had the internet and all the model charts to scroll over for hours on end the winter of 62/63 would never had happened !! Just glad I lived throughi it even though we had no central heating or double glazing. You never staying in the bathroom for long... brrr... happy memories.

C

Happy memories!!!! I was working at Larkhill at the time and the Salisbury Plain resembled the Antarctic.

The main Met. Office was a wooden hut with a central coke stove as the only heating. The electric fire had to used to stop the Dines from freezing.

The heating in the radiosonde office had gone on the blink and couldn't be repaired because, although on an army camp, the army insisted it was an R.A.F building. They of course denied any responsiblity so we and the ink froze.

To cap it all the heating in the GL radar for tracking the upper air ascents was also on the blink so the 0600z morning ascent was like sitting in a freezer. It took all day to thaw out if you were lucky.

Happy days, not on your nelly.

Give me a F12 on a Weather Ship any day.

Edited by knocker
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I remember the magical moment of emerging from the family Xmas party to walk the mile or so home (no car of course) and it was snowing. I was 8 and it was pure bliss all winter long! Just didn't mind the ice on the inside of the bedroom windows, getting dressed in bed, numb toes in wellies, one warm room in the house. We are just so soft now!

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I remember the magical moment of emerging from the family Xmas party to walk the mile or so home (no car of course) and it was snowing. I was 8 and it was pure bliss all winter long! Just didn't mind the ice on the inside of the bedroom windows, getting dressed in bed, numb toes in wellies, one warm room in the house. We are just so soft now!

Yes forgot about the ice on inside bedroom window, Hot water bottle in bed and torch at ready to watch snow at night.Wake in morning to sound of people shovelling snow, My Dad covering engine of his Ford Popular at night with blanket, trying start it in morning with starting handle, Was milk monitor at school, delivering frozen milk to class rooms, My God getting old Edited by cerneman
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Good stuff C-i still have my diary and well thumbed it is too as i tend to look back at it now and then when current modelling is looking less than exciting,lol.

Yes the weather forecasts on BBC were not very frequent then-once or twice in the evening if i recall C-after the news as we had no daytime broadcasts.

I remember those daily Met charts you had-i couldn`t afford them out of my paper round money..Hey wouldn`t we have had some fun on our PC`s if we had had the technology and internet charts we have now?

If we had the PC's and internet back then we would still have plenty of numpties posting that winter was over before it had even begun.

Seriously though I just about remember this great winter. I can remember my father standing me on the front room window sill and looking out of the window at the immense snow drifts in our road even in Bournemouth and telling me to take it all in because I might never see snow like this again.

The next time we stood together in a window and marveled at the depth of the snow was fifteen years later in February 1978 at Worth Matravers in the Purbeck hills of Dorset when the snow was even deeper than 1963!

Edited by mcweather
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If we had the PC's and internet back then we would still have plenty of numpties posting that winter was over before it had even begun.

Seriously though I just about remember this great winter. I can remember my father standing me on the front room window sill and looking out of the window at the immense snow drifts in our road even in Bournemouth and telling me to take it all in because I might never see snow like this again.

The next time we stood together in a window and marveled at the depth of the snow was fifteen years later in February 1978 at Worth Matravers in the Purbeck hills of Dorset when the snow was even deeper than 1963!

I was only just wondering what the 63 winter like here in Dorset[was in Birmingham at time]The 78 snow was special,Was in Weymouth area at time

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Happy memories!!!! I was working at Larkhill at the time and the Salisbury Plain resembled the Antarctic.

The main Met. Office was a wooden hut with a central coke stove as the only heating. The electric fire had to used to stop the Dines from freezing.

The heating in the radiosonde office had gone on the blink and couldn't be repaired because, although on an army camp, the army insisted it was an R.A.F building. They of course denied any responsiblity so we and the ink froze.

To cap it all the heating in the GL radar for tracking the upper air ascents was also on the blink so the 0600z morning ascent was like sitting in a freezer. It took all day to thaw out if you were lucky.

Happy days, not on your nelly.

Give me a F12 on a Weather Ship any day.

Yep, Salisbury Plain was at the heart of the UK freezer during that winter. The wind chill must have been something. I remember seeing an ob from Larkhill showings -6C , continuous mod snowfall and easterly mean wind of 40mph . Thats cold in anyones language.

C

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This time 50 years ago I was a young lad living on my mum and dads farm in Cheshire and totally unaware about what we were in for.

Those who can remember, will never forget the scenes for the next 3 months. Over 60 days of continuous snowcover, severe frosts day and night, raging blizzards , deep drifts, blowing snow and frozen rivers. Ice floes on The River Mersey, River Dee frozen over, even the sea froze for a mile out in Kent and the Medway posts were ice.locked. Never missed a day out school even though the lane to our farm and the bus stop was filled with deep snow drifts, Schools never closed !

remember it like yesterday we missed 2 days at school as we could not get there we waited for 1 hour for the bus to take us 5 miles to school, and then gave up with icicles i are hair the snow drifts went right up the first floor windows so as we could not see out the bedroom window and it was bloody cold.

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Yes i remember that winter so well C.I was 14 at the time and it started for me with the arrival of the snow on Boxing day from the North as the High ridged right up into Greenland.

post-2026-0-78277000-1356101751_thumb.pn

Frontal snow moved down the country in the Arctic flow on the eastern side of the block giving those further North a white Christmas and much of the UK was snow covered by Boxing night.

A good website detailing the daily synoptics,temps. and general weather for that whole winter here

http://myweb.tiscali...62-63/index.htm

good work by Mike Tullett there.

It was that winter that really got me into chart watching-i think i hardly missed a day where i would look at the BBC evening weather forecast-in black and white then of course and just simple lines(isobars)and fronts on the presentation map.

I recall many days either after school or weekends when a whole crowd of us would meet up for sledging,snowball fights,building igloos and ice football on frozen ponds-the latter was quite a challenge.lol.I wouldn`t suggest the walking on ice covered water now but after a while in that winter the ice was at least 6inches or more thick.

I started a weather diary on Jan 1st 1963 and recorded that the final bit of snow cover thawed on March 2nd and taking into account that the snow first fell on the 26th Dec 1962 that was 66days of continual cover.

Add on some really low maximum and minimum readings and it really was a remarkable winter.

The website seems to have been taken offline sadly.

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I remember Boxing Day: I spent the entire morning watching the dustbin (it had a black lid); as a result, I must have seen the very first flake that fell in Harrow!clapping.gif

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The website seems to have been taken offline sadly.

Seems to be still there.

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The website seems to have been taken offline sadly.

still there as far as I can see-logged on a few minutes ago

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I have often posted on Net Wx about this so will not bore you with another lengthy post. I worked as a Met assistant at the time at RCAF Langar, SSE of Nottingham. On the base it had wonderful central heating so working in shirt sleeves and sleeping in not a lot with the window part open. Going home close to Chesterfield was something different, usually going to bed in whatever I had on plus hat, sometimes gloves, woolen socks and hot water bottle. Yes the ice on ALL the windows each morning inside became a feature.

I'll dig out the link to the weather data for Langar, in the Vale of Belvoir so at times recording the lowest temperatures in the UK.

Langar 1962-3 winter in Word.doc

Edited by johnholmes

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