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Thunderbolt_

Winter 1878-79: severe and prolonged

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I have just been looking through the CET records and I can't help but notice the long and severe winter of 1878-79. This is one winter I will definately make one of my historic videos on at some point in time.

 

October 1878 (CET: 10.2°C)

 

Despite the CET, the severe winter actually began at the end of October, can you believe! From the 25 October, a northerly flow established, bringing the -5C isotherm into all of the UK.

 

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November 1878 (CET: 3.5°C)

 

November was much colder than average. The northerly at the end of October persisted well into the third week of the month bringing frost and snow to much of the country. The only milder period was from the 19-25 November, before a cold north-easterly wind arrived to see out the month.

 

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December 1878 (CET: -0.3°C)

 

December was then a severe month, with a sub-zero CET. It was again, a very northerly month with high pressure in the mid-Atlantic and low pressure over Scandinavia. Only the Christmas to New Year period was mild.

 

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January 1879 (CET: -0.7°C)

 

January was another severe month. It was also the coldest month of the winter. The mild weather at the end of December continued into the first few days of the month. However, high pressure quickly built of Scandinavia shifting the winds into the east, from the 7 January onwards. There was also a major blizzard on the 18 January.

 

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February 1879 (CET: 3.1°C)

 

February was then a little bit milder, but was still a colder than average month overall. The easterly winds which prevailed through much of January continued into early February, before the Atlantic gradually started to take control for the mid-month period. However, northerly winds returned for the end of the month.

 

March 1879 (4.7°C)

 

March again was also fairly chilly, though not extremely so. The month featured alternating short-lived cold easterlies and mild Atlantic spells. It would have been quite a seasonable March, to be honest.

 

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Cheers WH. That will help a lot when I get round to my video, if you don't mind me using that information of course?

Edited by Thunderbolt_
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It was indeed a very cold winter.

 

I can agree with most of your summary, but certain things seem a little awry looking at the data. I don't see 19th-25th November as a mild(er) spell. The period 1st-18th November 1878 averaged 4.4C, the 19th-25th average was only 2.5C.

 

In December 1878, Christmas Day averaged -5.8C and Boxing Day was also below freezing. Only 29th-31st was mild.

 

The brief mild interlude at the end of December 1878 only lasted until New Years Day, then January 2nd-12th 1879 averaged -2.3C, with each of the days individually averaging below freezing. The 14th and 15th January were the only milder days after 1st Jan 1879.

 

I was more looking at the charts for that to be honest, and from the face of it, the 19-25 November looked like a milder pattern etc. I guess the weather can be very decieving, huh?

 

Anyway, thanks for the heads up! :)

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I was more looking at the charts for that to be honest, and from the face of it, the 19-25 November looked like a milder pattern etc. I guess the weather can be very decieving, huh?

 

Anyway, thanks for the heads up! :)

 

Well even the chart for the 18th January doesn't look anything special, just an average weather front in any normal winter - but I guess after weeks of surface cold it would have been a recipe for snowmaggedon. I've been waiting for a winter like this for a long time... well... since I was born lol.

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Cheers WH. That will help a lot when I get round to my video, if you don't mind me using that information of course?

Certainly you can use the info. :)

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Very unusual seeing such sustained depth of cold so early in the season and lasting.. we saw something similar in winter 2010/2011 but the cold came later and didn't last anywhere near as warm. Quite a special winter.

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I wouldn't complain if we were to have a re-run of 1878/79, although February looks a bit mild!  :laugh:

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I know cold weather is very popular on here and that many members would happily take a year like 1878-79, but I have to say that it would be my absolute worst nightmare of a year. Every month of the year significantly below average, with cold and snow lasting all the way from October to March, with further snow in April and May, followed by an awful summer.

 

I would tolerate a cold winter if a hot summer was to follow, but not this, that's for sure. :80:

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