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10 years since late February-early March 2005 wintry spell

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10 years ago!

I remember the excitement on the weather forums generated on what look like it could be the most notable wintry episode from the east for some years.

Countryfile forecast for that week of the 20th February 2005

It snowed on a number of days here in West Manchester but lying snow didn't last long though. Thursday was a disappointing day, the snow turned to rain and sleet about 9am here and then it turned mostly dry for much of the day. It was strange hearing snow reports from eastern parts of Manchester, yet here it was largely dry.

Showed the dearth of wintry spells during that period that it generated such excitement. It pales in comparison to 2009-10 and December 2010 at least around here.

It was OK overall, decent for that period.

Rrea00120050222.gif

BBC forecasts

21st February

22nd February

23rd February

24th February

25th February

26th February

27th February

28th February

1st March

2nd March

3rd March

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Was a snowy spell I remember, especially Tues and Wed, but did turn less cold with rain on Thurs 24th, even milder on Fri 25th, short cold spell here, from Sun 20th to Wed 23rd

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I remember this spell - everyone was so excited at school that it kept snowing but also disappointed that it took so long to settle. There were snow showers here on the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 25th with a longer period of sleet on the 24th but accumulations were only temporary and there was a light dusting on the 28th. An interesting spell certainly for its cloudscapes and longevity into March, and even more so for so late in February, but not a patch on the northerly in Feb 2004 and 2006.

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In the right place for once - the hills of western Sheffield. The first snow came about the 19th or 20th and didn't melt until the middle of March. The 23rd/24th was the peak, when it snowed all night and into the following afternoon. We had at least a foot on the ground after that.

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I remember the spell very well, superb synoptics the like we hadn't seen since late Dec 96/early Jan 97, alas it was a very tame affair overall. I was living in Newcastle and working in Sunderland at the time, and despite a number of days with quite heavy snow showers, the snow was very fine and wet and struggled to settle, indeed what did lay at low levels quickly thawed during the day. Quite frustrating, upper air temps were not especially cold, nor the continent, on paper it should have been a snow fest and severe spell temp wise, but wasn't.

 

On higher ground in East Pennines it was a notably snowy spell, but overall only places with height saw anything especially notable.

 

It was a great spell though from a synoptic point of view, apart from winter 2000/2001 which produced shortlived easterly spells in Jan, and more so Feb and March, we hadn't seen a long draw sustained easterly since winter 96/97 and it was a very pleasant thing indeed to see such synoptics.

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Fantastic spell. Here i got snow falling every day for about 2 weeks which was quite something. Generally useless for snow amounts though and below 100m i recall the general consensus being one of complaint.

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Yes, some great synoptics but the reality was a rather wishy washy spell for many.  I never saw anymore than an inch or two of snow, and this vanished within a few hours.  I took a drive up Box Hill one day where there was a reasonable amount, so I did get a short lived proper snow fix!  However, I fully agree it was great to see after such a long period of time and it was a long cold spell especially compared to what we had been used to and I at least saw a fair amount of falling snow during this period.  I'm sure many of us would have taken that spell again this year!

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I was going to start a thread about this had lots and lots written out and net-weather site crashed. :help:

I don`t like writing it all again but here goes a quick version.

This was just before it all happened.

The coldest night of the month here at -4.6c

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00120050216.gif

Big expectations started here,as the high retrograde begins.

A few light snow showers dusting.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00120050219.gif

Amazing synoptics.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00120050222.gif

3.9c max slight covering of snow,part thaw disappointing.

A low came in from the east the coldest day of that spell at 1.4c drifting until 2pm

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00120050224.gif

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00120050225.gif

Greenland high havn`t seen charts quite like this since the 80`s.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00120050228.gif

The continent wasn`t cold,it was all NE-ly and the north sea does lift temps up anyway.

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It was such a letdown unless you were high up. 2 Weeks of easterlies and no max below 3C, and only 3 mornings with lying snow, none of which lasted till noon. Constantly snowing and not settling, or melting very quickly, no really cold nights. I know the continent wasnt particularly cold but the uppers were (-10) and despite the lack of ice days the mean temp for the spell was barely above freezing. So why did the snow fail to stick or melt so quick, itll always be a mystery to me. I thought warm ground temps (hardly any frosts in Jan) but the same would have been true in January 2013 when snow lay for a week.

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Yes when you look back at the synoptics - they were very special, a scandi elongated high retrogressing and becoming a Greenland high, always a delight to see.. But conditions were not particularly severe, I remember at the time people were complaining about warm ground temperatures and high SST's being the reason..

 

I remember the northerlies of early February producing very mild temperatures as well with maxima of 5/6 degrees.

 

All a mystery.

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During the late-February 2005 easterly spell, temperatures during the daytime were generally getting up to 4 or 5C at low levels.  In my experience, a snow cover will tend not to thaw significantly at temperatures below around 3C, unless the relative humidity is high, but once you start getting to 4-5C, you need a deep and/or compacted snow cover and preferably low humidity to stand much of a chance of survival.  Once the sun starts punching holes in a snow cover, the albedo changes, the areas of bare ground take in more solar radiation and a rapid thaw spreads.

 

In addition, most of the snow fell at temperatures just above freezing, and under those circumstances, particularly if the ground temperatures are also warm, then it has to be quite heavy for it to settle- short sharp showers or persistent light snow generally won't be sufficient.

 

It was clearly a "marginal temperatures" issue because most places above about 100m in north-east England had large aggregate snow depths but near sea level the snow cover tended to be short-lived.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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It was about 300m that was the crucial altitude down here, as always seems to be with marginal stuff.

Id forgotten that northerly earlier in the month, at one point the wind came straight from the North Pole and it still wouldnt snow or even drop below freezing. Even given the 3C maxima during the "cold" spell, the snow still thawed a lot quicker than youd expect. Dewpoints cant have been the issue or it wouldnt have snowed in the first place. There wasnt much sun either as I remember.

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I do remember streamer snow showers coming in from the E/NE one day.

It started too late in the month and after the record hot summer 2006 and endless warmth we had that autumn before,it didn`t have much chance to bite.

The least cold day of that spell,light rain,sleet snow hail shower at 5.1c

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00120050301.gif

Then the cold came back into march 1.9c max second coldest day covering of snow,didn`t have much acumulating snow as it thawed in the daytime.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00120050302.gif

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00120050303.gif

-10uppers didn`t quite make it.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00220050303.gif

There was a colder night of -5.4c on the march 3/4th.

Feb 28th it did.

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2005/Rrea00220050228.gif

2.3c max.

Edited by Snowyowl9

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The failed northerly that is being mentioned is probably that of 13th February 2005.  It was preceded by positive temperature anomalies of 15-20C around Svalbard and thus temperatures merely fell close to the seasonal average, although with low dewpoints early in the day, there were widespread reports of snow showers with the temperature standing at between 3 and 5C, and I remember observing snow in Lancaster with the temperature around 4C.  A warmer pool of air came in later in the day and showers turned to rain, even on fairly high ground.

 

However, the easterly late in the month was preceded by a rather more potent northerly on the 19th/20th which gave a widespread snow cover in the east of Scotland and England on the 20th.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers

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