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January 2004 thundersnow


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Posted
  • Location: Hanwell, west London
  • Location: Hanwell, west London

    Evenin' all,

    Today is the ninth anniversary of the thundersnow event of 2004, one of the most amazing weather events I have ever witnessed. Thunder, lightning, and three inches of snow in less than an hour in west London.

    I'd be interested to hear all your memories of that evening (maybe more suited to the 10th anniversary, but who cares!). Also, can someone explain the synoptic situation to me, as I have a rather rudimentary grasp only...

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    Posted
  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl
  • Weather Preferences: obviously snow!
  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl

    Not that great here, just a standard back edge snow setup, didnt even stick well on wet ground, certainly not on of my most memorable events

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    Posted
  • Location: Shorne West, Kent
  • Weather Preferences: Sun in summer, Snow in Winter
  • Location: Shorne West, Kent

    Yes I have a good recollection of that Afternoon / evening......28th January 2004

    I was on the "Two" site I think and was discussing a small but heavy squall line that was moving south during the day. The temperature gradient to the fore was about 5c and fell to 0c within minutes of preciapitation starting. There was a lot of excitement on the website generated by the thought of seeing "Thundersnow", quite a rare phenomona.

    I was advising everyone in our office in croydon to leave early as it was due to "hit" around the 5pm rush hour. I was about to leave for home at 16:15 to visit my mother in a care home when I was called to a late meeting.

    I finished the meeting at around 16:45 , looked at the radar , saw it had intensified and was about 25 minutes away.

    Decided to leave and take short cut around the Biggin Hill / High Elms area to get out the M25 and over to Dartford...... the "event" hit as I got there....

    Mother nature threw the kitchen sink at us ....Rain / Thunder and Lightening. The colours that the lightenening generated against the backdrop of blizzard conditions was something I had never witnessed before. Within a couple of minutes the rain had turned to Snow and the temperature had dropped to 0c. The intensity of Snow was amazing......small flakes/pellets and visibility down to about 30 yards at best. The wind caused a tree to collapse across the country lane basically blocking the route out and I was stuck along with dozens of other motorists. About 3 inches of snow fell in 30 minutes or so and then the skys cleared. I was then able ( along with many others ) to reverse out the lane back to the Croydon road ( A232 ) which by then was gridlocked.

    It took me 4 1/2 hours to complete my 50 minute journey home and I never got to the nursing home to see my mother after all.

    She passed away that night , bless her........thats the main reason why I'll always remember it .

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    I was in Lancaster at the time. Snow had been widely forecast for the area, even out to the Lancashire coast, on the night of the 27th/28th, but the UKMO/ECMWF models had underestimated a pool of warmer air associated with the frontal system (which the GFS had correctly picked up on) and so the precipitation fell as rain and sleet. Further east it fell as snow and there was a snow covering that morning in Manchester.

    The squall associated with the thundersnow was dramatic but, as so often happens at Lancaster, not much of the snow accumulated on the ground.

    It was a much more potent beast to the east of the Pennines though, and I remember many reports of a good few inches of snow from Northumberland down to Yorkshire.

    Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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    Posted
  • Location: Valencia, Spain or Angmering, West Sussex
  • Weather Preferences: 22-38C in summer with storms, cold in winter with some snow/or 15-25C
  • Location: Valencia, Spain or Angmering, West Sussex

    Pretty memorable event here, the day was quite cold and icy but it was in the evening when things got interesting, started as rain and I began to hear thunder as well, then turned to sleet, I had a friend over at the time and on the way back to his house it began to snow heavy, was amazing to see in just 10 minutes the rain turn to snow like that and still the only thunder snow event I've witnessed, the snow didn't stick but an amazing event despite that.

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    Posted
  • Location: STEVENAGE, HERTS (100M ASL)
  • Location: STEVENAGE, HERTS (100M ASL)

    Mother nature threw the kitchen sink at us ....Rain / Thunder and Lightening. The colours that the lightenening generated against the backdrop of blizzard conditions was something I had never witnessed before. Within a couple of minutes the rain had turned to Snow and the temperature had dropped to 0c. The intensity of Snow was amazing......small flakes/pellets and visibility down to about 30 yards at best. The wind caused a tree to collapse across the country lane basically blocking the route out and I was stuck along with dozens of other motorists. About 3 inches of snow fell in 30 minutes or so and then the skys cleared. I was then able ( along with many others ) to reverse out the lane back to the Croydon road ( A232 ) which by then was gridlocked.

    It took me 4 1/2 hours to complete my 50 minute journey home and I never got to the nursing home to see my mother after all.

    She passed away that night , bless her........thats the main reason why I'll always remember it .

    Thanks for sharing that. A sobering reminder of the effects the weather can have on us all.

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    Posted
  • Location: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms and snow
  • Location: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

    I remember this event well...I was a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral, and we had just begun our evening rehearsal when the choirmaster told us that the heavy rain that had initially been falling had started to turn to sleet, and soon afterwards there were blizzard-like conditions outside. Frustratingly, I missed seeing most of the snow falling due to being indoors singing the service, which was a shame. Later, outside the cathedral, paved surfaces were completely glazed with sheet ice where the rain had frozen, beneath 1-2 inches of fresh snow. The snow was slightly deeper at home in Cheltenham. It was probably one of the best snow events from my somewhat snow-starved childhood.

    Edited by 03jtrickey
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    Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury

    I was in Lancaster at the time. Snow had been widely forecast for the area, even out to the Lancashire coast, on the night of the 27th/28th, but the UKMO/ECMWF models had underestimated a pool of warmer air associated with the frontal system (which the GFS had correctly picked up on) and so the precipitation fell as rain and sleet. Further east it fell as snow and there was a snow covering that morning in Manchester.

    The squall associated with the thundersnow was dramatic but, as so often happens at Lancaster, not much of the snow accumulated on the ground.

    It was a much more potent beast to the east of the Pennines though, and I remember many reports of a good few inches of snow from Northumberland down to Yorkshire.

    was in Newcastle at the time, and the squall there consisted of heavy snow for about an hour, but no thunder at all. There had been a couple of cms overnight, and then the squall hit about 11.30am. About 5cm accumulated from it on top of what was already there, giving around 7cm which stayed for another 2 days. The end of Feb 2004 produced more snow there than this event, several days of North Sea showers led to a good 10-12cm lying on the weekend 28-29th.
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    Posted
  • Location: Broadmayne, West Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Snowfall in particular but most aspects of weather, hate hot and humid.
  • Location: Broadmayne, West Dorset

    Memorable event here too about three inches of snow in an hour after one almighty flash of lightning and clap of thunder at about 7pm. The intensity of the snowfall was quite remarkable.

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

    was in Newcastle at the time, and the squall there consisted of heavy snow for about an hour, but no thunder at all. There had been a couple of cms overnight, and then the squall hit about 11.30am. About 5cm accumulated from it on top of what was already there, giving around 7cm which stayed for another 2 days. The end of Feb 2004 produced more snow there than this event, several days of North Sea showers led to a good 10-12cm lying on the weekend 28-29th.

    I do have memories of this event, but seem to remember the snow falling in the evening rather than during the day. I was in Newcastle as well at the time. It was one of very few snowfalls during the winter 01/02 - winter 04/05 period.

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    • 3 months later...
    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    24th January 2004: interesting for a Saturday broadcast which are generally shorter than other days, Alex Deakin talks a lot about the wintry week for the following weekhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtuL5e7COy8

    Edited by Weather-history
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    • 8 months later...
    Posted
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire

    Winter 2003-04, although milder than average overall, featured a few spells of northerlies that delivered snowfalls over a fairly wide area although not particularly plentiful for most areas.  The above example was one of them, following on from a short cold spell in late December.  There was then a further northerly spell and snowfalls on a similar scale in late February that year and it did stay cold for a time into March.

     

    That winter was one of the better examples of a milder than average winter overall and the fact that the pattern can still throw up some variety and give a few cold synoptics even if the winter as a whole comes out above average overall.

     

    An even more impressive spell synoptically occurred in the following winter, in late Feb 2005, although as we know little of the snow settled in many areas due to the continent not being that cold.  Certainly winters 2003-04 and 2004-05 wern't bad for winters that came out above average temperature wise.  Another good example of a winter that wasn't cold overall was 1993-94, that saw a few cold zonality events earlier on and a pretty decent easterly spell in mid to late February. 

     

    In the years we have to have a winter that isn't cold overall, of which the law of averages mean that some years we obviously will, I just wish it could be something like 1993-94, 2003-04 or 2004-05.  That is a big improvement on the one we have had so far this year and those in the late 1990s.

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