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Thundersnow events in the UK

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Thundersnow is a weather phenomenon in which you have thunder, lightning and snow falling as the primary precipitation, instead of rain or hail. It is very rare in the UK, but some of us have claimed to have seen it...

 

Personally, I've seen thundersnow only once. On the evening of 25 January 2013, I saw a huge flash of light and then a deep rumble of thunder during a snowstorm, from my home in Manchester. However there was only one lightning strike. There we also some huge snowflakes too, some maybe 5cm in diameter!

Edited by ScottRichards10
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Only seen it once also. Quite a few years ago now in January (can't remember the year, possibly 2005 or thereabouts). It was about 5-6am and me and my brother were stood on the landing with it belting it down with snow, trying to be quiet so we didn't annoy our parents. And then there was an almighty flash and bang which caused us to start laughing excitedly...and get yelled at by my Dad to go back to bed :D

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Thundersnow is something I remember from my childhood, not had the good fortune to witness again since, would really love to see it again though. Having figured out exactly when this was by asking my family, these pair of beastly winter charts were what was on offer on the evening where literally it felt like the jaws of hell opened and nature unleashed it's fury !

 

post-7292-0-64299600-1408184471_thumb.pnpost-7292-0-63983900-1408184477_thumb.pn

 

Blizzards - real blizzards constant snow limited visibility, thunder, low cloud and sferics. Was awesome.

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My two favourite types of weather rolled into one,and luckily for me happens quite often up here in the North-East when we get a very cold Northerly/North Easterly airmass passing over the North sea creating huge instability and impressive snow showers such as the one below from early January 2010.

 

 

 

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4th February 2013

Posted Image

Associated with the remains of that cold front on that FAX chart above.

Heavy shower came in and turned to snow then we had lightning and thunder. I think several members in the NW will remember this event.

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Something I have never experienced in this country in spite of living/working at various locations, including the far north and western coastal areas.

The only instance for me was way way back, decades ago, in Cyprus-Nicosia airport in February 1959. The snow line came down briefly to about 500ft and for a few days hovered about the 1000ft mark. Not unknown apparently but not often.

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4th February 2013

Posted Image

Associated with the remains of that cold front on that FAX chart above.

Heavy shower came in and turned to snow then we had lightning and thunder. I think several members in the NW will remember this event.

 

Stockport Damn it, remember that one, here not a sausage

 

this location sucks for thundersnow, best is 19th March '07

Edited by IrememberAtlantic252

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Snow is a rare occurrence here on it's own but thankfully I've experienced a nighttime thundersnow shower, back in 2003 I think? The lightning was glowing purple and the thunder ecoustics were very strange due to the snow falling too.

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22nd December 2009

 

It was a proper thunderstorm and all, with violent pink lightning.

Edited by AderynCoch

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22nd December 2009

 

It was a proper thunderstorm and all, with violent pink lightning.

 

Stockport had a bleedin' dumping that day, 20th also sucked, here not a sausage, saw my first snow on evening of 23rd

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I think it was also in 2003 here in London when I had thunder snow!. It was accompanied by gale force northerly winds and white out horizontal snow fall! A few inches fell in a couple of hours, it caught many people off guard and there was traffic grid lock as it hit London during the rush hour! Spectacular sight seeing lightning reflect of a thick, glistening, layer of fresh snow, in the darkness!

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For my location, I think we must get lucky or something. I have seen it several times (probably about 9 times in all), most memorably 3 times in the 2010 snow.

 

At the time I spoke to someone on here that lives very near me who said our position on top of a hill and near the river meant it was more likely, the local weather forecast mentioned something similar. Don't know if there is any truth in that.

 

Most memorable was during a heavy fall in the 2010 snow. I was watching it out the window which overlooks onto the farmland and countryside beyond and the whole sky lit up and it was so bright where it reflected off the snow. It was like someone had turned the light on a winter scene.

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When I lived in Cleadon in Tyne and Wear I saw it three times.

29 December 2000, woken up by a loud clap of thunder during a snowstorm at 4:50am:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2000/Rrea00120001229.gif

22 December 2003, woken up by fairly frequent lightning and thunder from a Cb cell out in the North Sea, following a snow shower:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2003/Rrea00120031222.gif

31 December 2009, during the evening:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2009/Rrea00120091231.gif

 

I also saw hail/sleet showers accompanied by thunder on 17 November 1995, 14 December 1999, and 8 November 2001.  The 2001 instance was primarily what inspired my sign-in name "thundery wintry showers" that I originally used at BBC Snow Watch back in October 2002.

 

During my time in Norwich I saw lightning accompany sleet showers on the evening of the 21st November 2008.  However, I missed out on the occurrences in late November/early December 2010 while down in Norwich.

 

Lassie23's report sounds likely to have been on the 30th January 2003:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2003/Rrea00120030130.gif

Heavy snow showers accompanied by thunder, which developed over East Anglia, unexpectedly headed south into the London area that afternoon.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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When I lived in Cleadon in Tyne and Wear I saw it three times.

29 December 2000, woken up by a loud clap of thunder during a snowstorm at 4:50am:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2000/Rrea00120001229.gif

22 December 2003, woken up by fairly frequent lightning and thunder from a Cb cell out in the North Sea, following a snow shower:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2003/Rrea00120031222.gif

31 December 2009, during the evening:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2009/Rrea00120091231.gif

 

I also saw hail/sleet showers accompanied by thunder on 17 November 1995, 14 December 1999, and 8 November 2001.  The 2001 instance was primarily what inspired my sign-in name "thundery wintry showers" that I originally used at BBC Snow Watch back in October 2002.

 

During my time in Norwich I saw lightning accompany sleet showers on the evening of the 21st November 2008.  However, I missed out on the occurrences in late November/early December 2010 while down in Norwich.

 

Lassie23's report sounds likely to have been on the 30th January 2003:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2003/Rrea00120030130.gif

Heavy snow showers accompanied by thunder, which developed over East Anglia, unexpectedly headed south into the London area that afternoon.

That's the one! Thanks for giving the exact date! I could just remember the year!

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nov/dec 2008 dec 2009 and jan 2010 we had thundersnow very bright pink lightning on each occasion, i do remember in the late 80s i witnessed my first thundersnow when i was a kid and was expecting rain to fall when i heard it which at the time i was a bit angry because the weather man had said we where due SNOW grrrrrrrrr i thought to only look outside to witness snow falling, Happy days,, I hope to witness it again this winter :cold:  :cold:

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It frequently occurs here when we get showers running down the North Sea then hitting the higher ground of the Moors - which jut out into the flow quite significantly.The cloud base of these heavy snow showers often seems to be at very low altitude and the effect is a bit like being inside a thunderstorm especially if you are caught in it over the hill tops.Typically each shower only produces one or two strikes as it passes. They tend to be very much 'out of the blue' strikes, and twice now I've had modem and router damaged in thundersnow events, as there was no particular indication that lightning was about.We seem to get above average number of thunderstorms here so have a well-rehearsed plan to unplug the phoneline as it is a common source of induced high voltage even if strikes do not directly strike the lines.There is a surge protector on the line but it is not to be relied on, and will itself be destroyed so unplugging is the best move.

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Fun fact...

 

Snowfall is actually very good at suppressing sound waves, so much so that you can only hear the thunder from a lightning strike within a two or three mile radius at the most, during a thundersnow event. This vastly compares to a regular thunderstorm where the thunder can be heard upto twelve or thirteen miles away from a lightning strike.

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Not really witnessed thunder snow (at least not properly before), although I remember at my old College during a late afternoon where I had a fairly heavy snowy-looking soft hail shower, with the odd rumble of thunder. I can't quite recall the date it occurred, but I think it was sometime during late February 2006. And it seemed to come down from the North. The clouds did look a bit stormy and dark as well.

Also, apparently, their had been some rumbles of thunder accompanying the rain to snow event on the 28th January 2004. That was the event where a cold front (I think) slipped down from the North/North-West with the swift undercutting of the freezing air behind the system quickly turning the afternoon heavy rain here into heavy snow. All within 1 to 2 minutes! There didn't seem to be any thunder with this here (unless I just didn't hear it), but I think there were reports of it further East where they seemed to get a dumping of the white stuff. Interestingly enough, when I saw the dark clouds approach that afternoon I expected the precipitation to fall as rain, (despite the fact I had a few snow showers that morning) as the clouds took on a very rainy appearance. Only after 10 minutes did the sudden change to snow occur. It was just such a nice surprise and was like I jumped from 'Autumn' to 'Winter' in one minutes. It's like the rain gone in 60 seconds!

Because of how heavy the snow was, everywhere was covered in a white blanket within 10 minutes. However, no more than 2cm of snow settled here in the end. A real bonus about this snow/thunder snow event, however, was since the temperatures were expected to drop to -4*C that night, and also because of the rain that occurred before the snow, this meant icy surfaces formed and School had to be closed the next day (yes!). It's just one of those dramatic snowy spells that will be hard to forget, and something that I would like to see repeated... albeit with the thunder occurring further West this time.

Edited by DiagonalRedLine
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I have never  seen thunder snow here in 30 odd years  :mellow:

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4th February 2013Posted Image

Associated with the remains of that cold front on that FAX chart above.

Heavy shower came in and turned to snow then we had lightning and thunder. I think several members in the NW will remember this event.

Found the reports that night

http://forum.netweather.tv/topic/75830-north-west-england-regional-discussion-040213-18z/?p=2585424

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Only saw thundersnow once,i know it was the 28th Jan,and im sure it was in the 2000s,folk on here reporting it coming South,quite exciting,was raining at first,then as had happened elsewhere thunder and lightning started and there was just an epic deluge of heavy snow,be interesting to see if anyone remembers the year....2004 possibly?

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That does sound like it could have been 28th January 2004. One of my favourite rain to snow events. Your description does seem to match the criteria of it very well.

Edit: Managed to find a thread about that snow/thundersnow outbreak here: http://forum.netweather.tv/topic/69219-snow-chaos-hits-birmingham-jan-2004/

Edited by DiagonalRedLine

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Yes, 28th January 2004 here too.  Comment in my records as follows:

 

"Very wet snow fell between 18.00 and 18.45, froze solid within the hour,  As the snow fell there was thunder and lighning, an unusual combination."

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28th January 2004 was a day of numerous thundersnow reports as a squally trough moved southwards in a N'ly flow. I did not see any lightning or hear any thunder but did see some quite intense blizzard conditions as it passed through.

 

I remember looking out the window at work one morning in March 2003 to see it snowing heavily and then there was a big flash of lightning/crack of thunder. I can't remember the day but it was a typical sunshine and heavy wintry showers type day.

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