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A remarkable Dorset Snowstorm: February 21st/22nd 1898

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In view of the current dismal conveyor belt of vile wet and windy muck.


Here is the story of a little known but outstanding weather event, that goes to prove that even late feb can produce the goods big time.


Much has been written of the great Victorian snowstorms of Jan 1881 March 1891 and the 20th century monsters of April 1908 xmas 1927 and the falls from the severe winters of 1947 and 1963.


But I wonder how many forum members know of the the great thunder/snowstorm of Feb 21/22nd 1898.  It makes the  thundersnow event of Jan 28th 2004 look like little more than a passing flurry.


Much of the following has been found in the annals of the Dorset Natural history and Archeological society.



The snow on the 21st  and 22nd February 1898 attained a maximum depth of more than 2 feet!! in a belt extending across the county west to east from Broadwindsor, Cattistock and Bloxworth to Parkstone (Poole). It commenced on the afternoon of the 21st  with the temperature above freezing and fell continuously for 20hours!


The snow was accompanied by thunder and lightning on the evening of the 21st but fell with very little if any wind. It was wet and adhesive.


At Dorchester waterworks 16 inches of snow yielded 1.44 in of water and at Parkstone the product of 21 inches of snow yielded 1.98 ins. At Burstock a few miles south of Crewkerne the the snow was recorded as two and half feet deep.


Observers notes from the time read as follows;


Bere Regis Village;   The fall of snow ending 22nd feb  yielded 1.81 inches of water


Burstock:  Rain guage under two and half feet of snow!


Haselbury Bryan:  Feb 21st  Snow began to fall about 3;30pm in large flakes, As there was no wind it lay where it fell the snow continued to fall throughout the night until 10:30am on the 22nd The depth in the rectory garden was fully 2 feet. The quantity which feel was probably equal to that of the great fall of March 9th-13th 1891 but then the drifts were very deep. In 1891 it was drifted to 9 feet at the Rectory gate. Much damage was done to evergreens in the garden simply by the the weight of snow much greater damage than in 1891.




Feb 21st Remarkable snowstorm commencing about 4:30pm and continuing intil 1pm on 22nd. The snow, being wet and lying close and heavy did an enormous amount of damage to to roofs and greenhouses and telegraph wires and shrubs and trees.




Feb21st-22nd  Heavy wet snow causing much damage to the trees, its weight breaking and twisting the branches. snow about a foot in depth accompanied by vivid lightning in the evening of the 21st.


Wyke Regis:(Weymouth)


Heavy fall of snow, gauge blocked.


The synoptic situation was that of a mid Altantic ridge Joining forces with a Greenland high whilst a depression formed off eastern Scotland and moved Southwards across the UK.


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Edited by mcweather
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