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Nigerian Prince

The 30 year anniversary of the winter of 1985.

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It is coming up to 30 years since the very cold winter of 1985. January was very cold, and February was cold too.

The cold spell began around the 4th and 5th of January, very cold air spread west, from the European Continent, where they were experiencing an exceptionally record breaking cold spell( for example maximum temperature in the Paris region of-12 and night time temperatures down to-40 in eastern France.)

 

On the 14th of January the temperature did not get above -4 in London with a 15mph East wind it felt like -16, so it was claimed.

The 3rd week of January turned mild has air from the Atlantic reached Western parts of Europe, but Eastern Europe from Poland to Russia remained very cold. The cold air filtered back from the Northeast around the 7th to the 8th of February, rain turn to sleet, then to snow in many places. I remember one Sunday, the 10th of February with a maximum temperature of -2 and a wind speed of 25mph to 30mph, it felt bitter in the bight sunshine and 3 inches of snow in London. The snow remained on the ground for another 2 weeks. The cold weather also returned in the middle of March, given rise  to heavy snow showers in the Easterly wind and stronger sunshine.

 

 

As usual with these cold spells, this very cold weather was not confined to the United Kingdom. I remember seeing a maximum temperature of -8 at Bordeaux, South West France in the middle of February, and many parts of the USA also, had a very severe winter in 1985, dispelling the myth, that when the USA is cold, Europe or the United Kingdom cannot be cold. Many US record lows for 1985 still stand today, for example the temperature falling below -50 at Utah.

 

I used my memory to remember the events stated above, anyone with  more accurate accounts are welcome to correct me.

 

 

Gender Male. Location Battersea London.

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I remember this Winter well, even though I was only 8 years old.  Think it was Saturday 4th January when I woke up to thick frost and ice, followed by a snow shower which wasn't very significant.  However, on the Sunday I woke up to heavy snow and a decent covering.  Although, the snow was never especially deep (IMBY) during this cold spell, it did stay on the ground for two weeks, due to the very cold temperatures.  As usual, other places did get a lot more snow with parts of Kent (prime position) having around 12 inches I think.  As mentioned above, it did turn milder for the last third of the month.

 

After a couple of days of heavy rain, I was surprised to wake up on what I think must have been the 9th February to thick snow.  I think it snowed heavily for much of the day with totals exceeding what I got in January.  Can't be exact, but the snow must have been around 6 inches deep.  Again, the snow stayed on the ground for well over a week.

 

January 1985 had a CET of just 0.8C and February 2.1C.

 

84/85 along with 81/82, 85/86 and 86/87 were classic 80's Winters from my childhood which I will always remember fondly!

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I must admit that I was disappointed - I recall taking photographs of a frozen fountain in St Albans City centre and it appeared though it had all the makings of another 1963 with much colder than normal temperatures but alas, the Atlantic regained ascendancy after only a couple of weeks or so.

Come to think of it, it is now 52 years since 1963 and despite a number of attempts it has never been repeated for its length despite a number of occasions when it seemed it was trying at times.

I still live in hope that such a winter will be repeated before I shed my mortal coil.

Sadly at the time of the '47 winter I was only 4 years of age and barely remember it except a vague memory of seeing brilliant white snow drifts, with a brilliant blue sky, which were bigger that I.

Edited by mike Meehan
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I must admit that I was disappointed - I recall taking photographs of a frozen fountain in St Albans City centre and it appeared though it had all the makings of another 1963 with much colder than normal temperatures but alas, the Atlantic regained ascendancy after only a couple of weeks or so.

Come to think of it, it is now 52 years since 1963 and despite a number of attempts it has never been repeated for its length despite a number of occasions when it seemed it was trying at times.

I still live in hope that such a winter will be repeated before I shed my mortal coil.

Sadly at the time of the '47 winter I was only 4 years of age and barely remember it except a vague memory of seeng brilliant white snow drifts, with a brilliant blue sky, which were bigger that I.

 

Wasn't there talk at the time that Winter 84/85 had the makings of another 62/63 before it turned milder later in January?

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Wasn't there talk at the time that Winter 84/85 had the makings of another 62/63 before it turned milder later in January?

I don't remember what was in the press but there was the set up for it with a Scandinavia/Siberian high and a very cold continent. I really did not think that there would be enough energy from the west to shift it but obviously I was wrong - nature has its own ways which are so devilishly difficult to predict.

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I don't remember what was in the press but there was the set up for it with a Scandinavia/Siberian high and a very cold continent. I really did not think that there would be enough energy from the west to shift it but obviously I was wrong - nature has its own ways which are so devilishly difficult to predict.

 

A somewhat different set up to what we have this Winter sadly!

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Wasn't there talk at the time that Winter 84/85 had the makings of another 62/63 before it turned milder later in January?

I Think at that time , there was talk that the winter of 1985, could be like 1947,it was certainly being compared  with 47 , where depressions moved in from the Atlantic, met the cold continental air, to bring heavy snow fall, after a failed forecast, predicting a huge snowfall for the whole Country from the Met Office, it turned mild a few days later. Gender Male. Location Battersea, London.

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Thanks for that weather-history, that was very informative, the chart  on the 1st of February 1985 especially for those people who are writing the rest of this winter off, as far as a cold spell and snow is concerned, the British weather can change anytime!              Location Battersea, London. Gender ,Male.

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I remember that year, as I was a student at Portsmouth Poly as it was back then, and a group of us went out to play British Bulldog in the snow on Southsea Common, fabulous, although I did end up with a very stiff neck from some overly zealous tackles! So glad of clever chaps here who know a thing or two, it has always puzzled me how we ended up with snow in Portsmouth what with being so close to the sea.

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Despite being right on the south coast, Portsmouth can do surprisingly well for snow as long as the air is cold enough for a very deep layer.  I remember watching one of Gavin Partridge's historic videos which showed Portsmouth covered in deep now at the end of April 1908!

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remember the then landlady of the pub skiing down the hill in the village

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It seems other areas enjoyed lots of snow in this winter and those in the southeast in January 1987.We did very well here also but January 25th until march 3rd 1986 was much more of an event here,maybe not as much snow than 1985 although not too dissimilar but almost all that period was subzero with biting east winds unrelenting,fantastic,nothing like it since !!!

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Reminiscing about the three winters of 84/84- 86/87..

 

Slightly too young to remember 84/85 (6 at the time), though I do vaguely recall snow early in the New Year and again in mid Feb, both events coinciding with being off school.

 

I also have very little recollection of winter 85/86 other than a bit of snow on Boxing Day I think and around new year when we went to the pantomime. Looking at the stats whilst bitterly cold Feb 86 was bone dry here with hardly any snow to speak of  - probably why I don't remember it.

 

The first winter I do have vivid memories of was winter 86/87 in part because we were doing a weather project in January. I remember the bitter cold, -5 degrees seemed to be a regular temp each morning and the snow. Also remember March 87 and some decent snow mid month.

 

Pity most winters thereafter until 95/96 were mostly on the very mild side with little snow, especially those formative years when I was 9,10 and 11, coinciding with the horror shows of winter 87/88 - 89/90. A child of similar age during winters 08/09 to 10/11 will remember back to their childhood with fond memories of snow..

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Feb 86 was the month my 21st what does that make me this year. Had a snow ball fight   :sorry:

Edited by stewfox
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Wow, 30 years ago (yesterday) since the first cold spell broke down. Remember it. It was a Sunday, snow fell and stuck but by that evening the snow had thawed away.

30 years ago?!

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Wow, 30 years ago (yesterday) since the first cold spell broke down. Remember it. It was a Sunday, snow fell and stuck but by that evening the snow had thawed away.

30 years ago?!

 

 

I think the cold of Jan and Feb 1985 came in 2 parts broken with a milder more average spell inbetween, the first cold spell being the coldest starting on the 2nd and lasting until 20th, the second cold spell started around the 8th and lasted until about the 22nd.

 

March 85 was also cold with further wintry weather. Indeed 1985 was a notably cold year overall, a cold summer, and a very cold November, though Oct and Dec were very mild. It was the first of four very poor summers in a row, 1985, 86, 87 and 88, the following 3 were very much different affairs..

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The February 1985 was the best of those 2 cold spells by far due to the easterly gales and ground blizzards blowing snow like a fine blizzard that just kept on and on making that ultimate favourite winter spell ever of mine with every road blocked in site level hedged,not seen nothing like that before or since,not even 1979 or January 1982 did that.

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Just to add though for that late march/april 2013 the amazing synoptics just looking at those now,thats incredible to look at,very very similar indeed to that feb 1985,it was very similar weather,now if that of happened in February that would maybe of surpassed that of 1985,as it would`ve colder to march/april,it was a longer spell.

That's the only time that's happened since feb 1985 model wise,now why did it have to happen late march/april.

We had more snow in april 2013 to feb 1985 by 3inches approx.

Edited by Snowyowl9

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