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Jemma Croton

2018 best compared to which historical event?

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This event is unusual. If you look at past snowstorms where an Atlantic low pressure comes up against a cold block eg January 1982, it wasn't coinciding with a potent easterly blast across the UK

If you look at January 1987, there was the potent easterly blast but no low pressure coming against the block and getting the big snowstorm.

In Feb 1978, there was no potent easterly blast by the time the fronts encroached the SW.

March 1891 was a low pressure coming up from the SW against a Greenland block/Scandi low

January 1881 was a reorientation of a low pressure coming against Greenland block/Scandi low 

Very unusual set-up

 

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6 hours ago, Weather-history said:

This event is unusual. If you look at past snowstorms where an Atlantic low pressure comes up against a cold block eg January 1982, it wasn't coinciding with a potent easterly blast across the UK

If you look at January 1987, there was the potent easterly blast but no low pressure coming against the block and getting the big snowstorm.

In Feb 1978, there was no potent easterly blast by the time the fronts encroached the SW.

March 1891 was a low pressure coming up from the SW against a Greenland block/Scandi low

January 1881 was a reorientation of a low pressure coming against Greenland block/Scandi low 

Very unusual set-up

 

Might go some way to explaining how it collapsed so easily and how the forecast models only really got to grips with the breakdown 3-4 days out.

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Posted (edited)

This is a very good question.  The storm Emma intervention makes it difficult, but for me the key comparator is the depth of cold air reaching the UK shores.  I think it's confirmed that -17C uppers reached the UK, so to find a time when colder air reached our shores, you have to go back to Jan 1987.  Charts:

archives-1987-1-12-12-1.png

archives-1987-1-12-12-0.png

I was teenager rather than weather enthusiast back in the day, but my mum remembers this spell and recalls the daytime temps not getting above -8C (that was Warrington, btw).  That this spell was end Feb early Mar makes it even more extreme, though, in my book.

Edited by Mike Poole
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1 minute ago, Mike Poole said:

This is a very good question.  The storm Emma intervention makes it difficult, but for me the key comparator is the depth of cold air reaching the UK shores.  I think it's confirmed that -17C uppers reached the UK, so to find a time when colder air reached our shores, you have to go back to Jan 1987.  Charts:

archives-1987-1-12-12-1.png

archives-1987-1-12-12-0.png

I was teenager rather than weather enthusiast back in the day, but my mum remembers this spell and recalls the daytime temps not getting above -8C.  That this spell was end Feb early Mar makes it even more extreme, though, in my book.

So had this spell happened in the coldest part of winter, we could have been looking at some comparable temperature stats, and without Emma, possibly a longer frigid spell too.

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I don’t think you can compare a week long cold spell to an entire month of cold like January and December 2010. I’d say this spell has been most notable for the wind and suppressed daytime maximums. Other cold spells even this year have given lower night time temperatures here. We needed it to hold on long enough for the winds to drop and the skies clear. I think it compares best to January 87 as that was also notable for low uppers, low daytime maximums, drifting snow and not exceptionally cold night time minimums. And it didn’t last that long. 

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Posted (edited)

It's a tricky one for my area, as I'm not sure I can remember anything quite like it. (I'm talking here about how things felt rather than synoptic setup.) February 1991 is maybe the closest in terms of late(ish) season snow and daytime cold, but the snow then wasn't the pure powder we had this time. January 1987 was bitterly cold but not very snowy this far west. Nov/Dec 2010 went on longer with iced-over rivers and colder nights but, again, didn't have powder snow and drifting in my area. March 2013 was impressive but lacked things like severe windchill and snow devils. And in terms of snow depth, December 2017 easily beats it (28 cm, even more than 1991, as against less than half that this time). I don't remember back past the 1980s so can't sensibly compare beyond that.

Edited by Arctic Hare
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Posted (edited)

Even early December 2017 was better in terms of snow here than this cold spell. Apart from the depth of the cold (which was more notable due to the time of year than any absolute temperature values), there was nothing stand out here in terms of this spell just gone. 

December 2017, Jan 2013, December 2010 and January 2010 all beat this spell in terms of pure wintryness for here.

Heck, I even think December 25th and 26th 2004 even beat this spell in this location. 

Also extremely disappointed (given all the talk beforehand) that apart from the Tuesday morning which didn't even affect here at all really, there were no extensive troughs in the flow. Given such cold uppers you would/could have expected more organised bands pushing W. This didn't happen.

Edited by CreweCold

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Posted (edited)

Our neighbour who`s 25 years older than me has said this has been the the most severe blizzards since 1962-3 with the amount of snow that's blown over there and walking over top of the hedges,snow drifts.

Edited by Snowyowl9
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Posted (edited)

I think this was a great cold spell overall. Some places saw nearly a foot of snow with 6 ft snow drifts, others saw just a few cm’s. 

There are a number of factors to take into accout when assessing any cold spell, here’s how this latest spell did for my location (London):

Depth of cold - excellent. Coldest spell of weather since Feb 1991. -15/-16/-17 uppers is exceptional, particularly at this time of year. Daytime highs of -3c, even in central London, is rare. 

Snowfall - snow fell on 5 consecutive days, which is quite unusual down here. Snow depths weren’t record breaking by any means - we got about 4 inches in the north London suburbs, and central London had a few inches of lying snow. That is a sight and very rare. The London suburbs often get lying snow but for it to stick in central London for a couple of days is very rare. Shows how cold it was. Other areas of the SE, such as Kent, had a lot more snow than us. They are the favoured spots when wind flows are NE’rly. I would have liked to see more snow showers pushing in land and some troughs in the flow (such as in Feb 91) would have been great. Feb 91 is still yet to be beaten here in terms of snow depths. The best snow event we’ve seen here since Feb ‘91 is Feb ‘09.

Longevity - this I suppose is where this cold spell will fall short of others. 5 days of deep cold is good, but not record breaking. More recent cold spells, such as December 2010/Feb 2012 were longer but not as cold for this location. 

Overall I would say this ranks probably in the top 5 cold spells of the last 30 years. 

Edited by danm

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Well then, that's me satisfied for once, as that was probably the best winter week (in The Triangle at least) since January 2010...From now on, it's eyes down for warmth and thunderstorms...

Roll on Spring!:good:

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