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Best and worst winters

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8 hours ago, kiddap said:

Maybe somebody can help me with this one, in terms of what year(s):

I'm pretty sure it was early 90s, and that between November of one year, and March/April of the following, there was an incredibly persistant run of stormy weather. I think I counted at least 60 days with Force 8 gale or stronger, probably over 30 with force 9, and maybe 10-15, -ish with force 10 or stronger. Obviously that's a rough estimate from memory.

I kept a scrapbook of the daily forecasts and records each of the months of that winter, but don't have access to that now, and unlikely to do so for a while. It would be quite a job to look through all the archives to figure out which winter it was! And finally, I wonder where in the pantheon of "stormy winters" or "stormy periods" it might come?

Welcome to the forum Kiddap. 1992/3 was a very stormy Winter, particularly in Scotland.
Where is your location? You can add it to members information details and others can then see which part of the country you are talking about.

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Cheers guys, sorry I thought I had re-posted with further details but it wasn't accepted somehow. I'm having account/log-in problems, I've been a member for a number of years, my usual username is Altohumorous. My location at the time of that winter was Dublin City in Ireland. I'm now in West Auckland Central, NZ, since 3-4 years ago.

Norrance, I think 92/93 would be my guess also. I'll check some archive charts to see if can corroborate. I'd love to find some monthly wind/storm stats especially from that period, and anything that might give a comparison in historical context. By way of my memory of the extent and scale of the storminess during that winter, the winter of 2014 that garnered so much publicity etc for it's storminess to me did not seem really as bad. I can recall in the early 90s winter there were at least three occasions when we experienced Violent Storm Force 11 winds in places, certainly in the more western parts.

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Have looked through charts for 92-93, it can't be that winter. Having looked at Dec 93 so far, it looks like it was winter 93-94 I was thinking of. I can see one reason why 2014 may have garnered more attention for its storminess, apart from the obvious fact that media coverage, information, and access & awareness of people re-weather events has massively increased. The storms/depression systems of 2014 were a bit deeper in lowest atmos pressure, and possibly also larger in terms of extent (just a rough impression, would have to study it more closely). They may also have been slower-moving, what I've seen from Dec 93 has been mostly rapid progress through these islands (UK & Ireland).

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On 22/12/2019 at 10:59, SqueakheartLW said:

My ratings of winters in my lifetime

1985 to 1987 - No direct memories of these winters due to my age but records suggest they may have been quite good for snow.

1988 to 1990 - Not very good winters based on the records.

1990/1991 - Only just remember February 1991 which made this half decent anyway.

1991/1992 and 1992/1993 - Not very memorable and probably not very good either.

1993/1994 - The first winter I can remember clearly. Was mixed with several cold and sometimes snowy spells with milder weather in between. The cold Christmas and Mid February 1994 stand out for me.

1994/1995 - Generally mild, wet and windy boring weather only saved by the snow event in late January 1995.

1995/1996 - My first overall decent winter but not my favourite one. Would have ranked even higher if it were not for those 3 weeks in January that were mild and dull. The easterlies in December and January gave some decent snow, especially the January one. February 19th was the best snow day for me in winter 1995/1996 with heavy snow showers giving whiteout conditions at times during the day.

1996/1997 - Mixed opinions on this winter. The first half was the best part with some snow events starting in November 1996 and getting progressively more extreme with each one with the best one around new year 1997. After this the winter just goes downhill.

1997/1998 - Started out fairly promising with that mid December beast from the east. Delivered very little snow shower activity but produced the best frontal snow of that winter when the mild air pushed northwards. After this apart from one very brief cold northerly in mid January the rest of the winter itself was mild and horrible. The other good snow event happened in the spring in fact in April 1998.

1998/1999 - I rate this one relatively highly for a 1990's winter. Not because of how mild it was overall but because when we did get cold snaps they almost all delivered some snow. The early December one gave a small dusting. The one just before Christmas managed the same but melted more quickly. Mid January frontal snow was the best event of that month. Early February 1999 produced the longest cold snap with some snow showers.

1999/2000 - Overall mild and zonal which made this one of my less favourite winters. Still managed to get some marginal snow showers in mid December and the one and only frontal snow event on the 21st December. After that the rest of the winter produced very little if any snow for me at all.

2000/2001 - One of my favourite winters of the 2000's. Started on Christmas Day with some snow showers and this was the start of a cold week with further snow. After that the cold was really on and off for the rest of the winter with further snow events, particularly late February and into March and again on March 18th and 21st.

2001/2002 - A winter which would have rated more highly with me if the weather of December 2001 had continued on for the rest of the winter. Looked promising to start but went to pieces in the new year. The start of March 2002 was the only other bit of snow I saw after December 2001 that winter.

2002/2003 - Had a few easterlies which delivered less snow than I expected so this winter doesn't rate very highly for me. Only one exceptional snow event for me on 30th January.

2003/2004 - Overall a mixed winter which I rate a little better than the one before it. On and off cold with several northerlies which delivered frontal snow or snow showers at times. Even got a cold easterly in the March but the snow event that month was a bit of a let down.

2004/2005 - Overall quite snow less for me. Missed out on the Christmas snow and when we finally did see our first proper snow in late February 2005 it was all wet and sleety and generally did little to improve my ratings of this winter.

2005/2006 - After hearing reports of the tripole in the North Atlantic and how that meant this winter was going to be a cold one I was somewhat disappointed with how it turned out. Got off to a very good start with that cold easterly just after Christmas but that was about as good as it got until the end of February and into March when the other main periods of cold came. By that time the increasing strength of the sun put paid to any settled snow sticking around.

2006/2007 - One of my worst rated winters. All mild and dominated by long fetch SW winds for most of it. Got a couple of brief cold snaps in January and February but that was as good as it got for snow chances. Missed out on the frontal snow in the February too and in fact the best snow I got in my area came in late March.

2007/2008 - I had hopes for this winter as no way could we have repeated the mild boring winter of the year before surely. Got about as little snow this winter as the one before but at least it was overall less mild and drier than 2006/2007 was. The Easter snow event was the best I'd ever seen but a shame the snow all melted on the day.

2008/2009 - At last a colder winter that actually delivered some snow events. Missed out on the October snow but made up for it in Late November and early December. After that it was often cold and dry but the main snow for me came in the first half of February as we were often placed on the northern side of the fronts in those two weeks so got the snow that camw with them as a result.

2009/2010 - What a shock to the system. After a cold winter in 2008/2009 I never expected an even better one to follow on from it. Took until 17th December to get our first snow but when we did it was cold and the snow was on and off for the next month. 5th January produced some decent frontal snow for me and the cold weather for the next few days after that produced some heavy snow showers too. Once the deep cold of early January went it was just a bit on and off after that. This is a very highly rated winter for me.

2010/2011 - After what happened in 2009/2010 the December to remember was my most favourite weather month in my entire life. Started in late November when I got over a foot of snow in just one night and then this stuck around for really the whole of December. Got two Christmas' in a row where snow was on the ground. Such a shame the December weather couldn't last through the winter and despite the good start the bad end meant this winter gets rated lower for me than the one before it.

2011/2012 - This winter was really a watered down reversed version of 2010/2011 with all the mild weather early on and the cold near the end. Hated the December as I had memories of what it was like the December before 2011. January was a little less bad but not all that good either. February was my favourite month of this winter with the snow events early in the month. If the high pressure later in the month had lined up better it could have stayed cold but it wasn't to be.

2012/2013 - This winter like the previous one was a back loaded winter too but a better version of it so is rated more highly for me. Took until mid January to get going but once it did it was often cold but not especially snowy. Never got more than a couple of cm from any of the snow events but the March was my favourite month with that extreme cold for the time of the year. This winter was like a watered down version of 1947.

2013/2014 - Probably my worst rated winter of all with 2015/2016 more or less tying with this one for bottom spot. Nothing I hate more in winter than mild and zonal with storm force winds on a frequent basis and loads of rain to boot too. Not a lot more can be said about this one.

2014/2015 - After the mild horror show of 2013/2014 at least this one was cooler overall but for snow it was also a disappointing one. Boxing Day snow event left no trace it had ever happened and the only other snow event was the late January one for me. Not an especially highly rated winter for me.

2015/2016 - Another horror show winter but especially focused on the December. Nothing worse than a December which was warmer than many Autumn and Spring months on average and at times with summer like warm nights too. That Super Nino ruined this winter completely. The only thing that dragged this winter back up to tie with 2013/2014 for me was that we managed to get some colder weather in January and February even if it was very brief.

2016/2017 - Overall a boring winter for me. Don't remember getting any snow at all during this winter. All I remember is that it was dry for weeks on end and boring.

2017/2018 - Overall a fairly highly rated winter for me. Gets off to an early start with the snow in November and early December but the let down was that it turned milder for the Christmas period. January and February saw further snow events from showers and frontal snow but the best part was left till the end of the winter with that Beast from the East and the mini Beast from the East too in the March.

2018/2019 - Rated probably equal with 2016/2017 in my eyes. Another of those dull, dry winters where not a lot happened. The marginal snow events in January pulled this one above 2016/2017 but the big model flop for February when promised cold failed to show and instead we get exceptional warmth pulled this winter back down to 2016/2017 levels for me.

December 2019 - So far this winter is rated poorly for me as it has just been a continuation of the autumn washout. Hope January to March can produce the goods or this one will be another winter down in the dumps.

Overall rating with best at the top and worst at the bottom. 1985/1986 to 1992/1993 are not included on my list as I have little or no memories of my own about them.
1 - 2009/2010
2 - 2010/2011
3 - 1995/1996
4 - 1996/1997 tied with 2017/2018
5 - 1993/1994 tied with 2008/2009 and 2012/2013
6 - 2000/2001 tied with 2005/2006 and 1998/1999
7 - 2003/2004 tied with 2011/2012
8 - 2001/2002 tied with 2002/2003 and 2014/2015
9 - 1994/1995 tied with 2007/2008
10 - 1997/1998 tied with 1999/2000
11 - 2004/2005
12 - 2016/2017 tied with 2018/2019
13 - 2006/2007
14 - 2013/2014 tied with 2015/2016

2019/2020 so far for me is on a par with 2004/2005 but there is still time for this winter 2019/2020 to move up the list.

After my experience of winter 2019/2020 It ended up another winter for the bin. 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 were totally snowless for me so still remain tied at the bottom of the list. 2019/2020 was due to tie with both of these two but the one thing that dragged 2019/2020 off the bottom of the list and allowed it to roughly tie with 2006/2007 was that even though it was very late I managed just 1 marginal snow event in late February. Really thought I was on for my 3rd snowless winter in my living memory but just avoided this but did little to drag this winter up any further than roughly level with 2006/2007 for me.

I now hope winter 2020/2021 can appear much higher up the list than the last one

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Best:

1982 this winter can hold it's own with 63, 47 in terms of snow depth and snow longevity and extreme temps - an extraordinary winter that I fear may never be repeated again now that the Azores High messes our weather patterns so much

1984 very snowy - lots of sledging 

1987

1979 bitter cold right up through March

2010 - nice to see the UK completely blanketed

 

Worst:

2019 / 2020 utter dross - I don't recall a sub -1c temp all winter

2018 / 2019 more dross

Too many post 2012

1989 rubbish

 

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5 hours ago, Arch Stanton said:

Best:

1982 this winter can hold it's own with 63, 47 in terms of snow depth and snow longevity and extreme temps - an extraordinary winter that I fear may never be repeated again now that the Azores High messes our weather patterns so much

1984 very snowy - lots of sledging 

1987

1979 bitter cold right up through March

2010 - nice to see the UK completely blanketed

 

Worst:

2019 / 2020 utter dross - I don't recall a sub -1c temp all winter

2018 / 2019 more dross

Too many post 2012

1989 rubbish

 

I cannot agree that 1982 was on a par with 1963. December 1981 was certainly worse than Dec 1962, but the really cold snowy weather rather petered out in mid-January 1982 (in London) whereas 1962/3 lasted from December 26th/ 27th 1962 through to March 1963 with no more than a day or two's break from the unrelenting cold. I can't really comment on 1947 although I'm told it did not get going until mid-January and was undoubtedly made worse by the privations still around in post-war Britain. I agree with your assessments about 1979, 1987 and 2010, but would need to think back a bit more about 1984. 

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There seemed many parallels to me between December 1981 and December 2010 in terms of low temperatures and snow.

1978/79 was very severe - the greatest depth of snow I have seen occurred in February.

I had just turned 2 in late December 1962 so the 1963 event was outside my recollection but there were other snowy winters in the 1960's.

There were snowy spells in January 1987 and the early months of 1991. 1995/96 produced some decent snowfall.

Mild winters seemed frequent in the mid 1970's and again during the last decade.

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2009-2010 best for snow and cold since 78-79.

1995-96 a good winter for cold and snow.

Dec 10, Dec 81 very cold, latter more snowy.

Jan 84 very snowy

 

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On 09/05/2020 at 04:00, kiddap said:

Have looked through charts for 92-93, it can't be that winter. Having looked at Dec 93 so far, it looks like it was winter 93-94 I was thinking of. I can see one reason why 2014 may have garnered more attention for its storminess, apart from the obvious fact that media coverage, information, and access & awareness of people re-weather events has massively increased. The storms/depression systems of 2014 were a bit deeper in lowest atmos pressure, and possibly also larger in terms of extent (just a rough impression, would have to study it more closely). They may also have been slower-moving, what I've seen from Dec 93 has been mostly rapid progress through these islands (UK & Ireland).

It won't have been 1992/93 as although January 1993 was certainly very stormy (exceptionally so in Scotland), December 1992 and February 1993 both had long calm spells.

1993/94 is a possibility, as certainly December 1993, January 1994 and March 1994 were pretty stormy at times, but February 1994 had a blocked spell with a persistent Scandinavian high mid to late month.

I'd be tempted to suggest 1994/95 as the most likely candidate as that winter was frequently stormy from around 3 December through to around 18 March.  I remember one of the BBC forecasts at the end of February/beginning of March saying that it had been one of the most blustery winters on record.

I have pretty fond memories of the winter of 1993/94 in Tyneside as it contained several snow events (the November 1993 easterly, the Christmas cold snap and the February easterlies) and also plenty of active Atlantic weather.  1994/95 was quite memorable for its active, blustery Atlantic driven weather but didn't manage any lasting snow cover, with just short-lived snow events in January, and although it snowed frequently in March '95 any lying snow quickly thawed in the sun.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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20 hours ago, Thundery wintry showers said:

It won't have been 1992/93 as although January 1993 was certainly very stormy (exceptionally so in Scotland), December 1992 and February 1993 both had long calm spells.

1993/94 is a possibility, as certainly December 1993, January 1994 and March 1994 were pretty stormy at times, but February 1994 had a blocked spell with a persistent Scandinavian high mid to late month.

I'd be tempted to suggest 1994/95 as the most likely candidate as that winter was frequently stormy from around 3 December through to around 18 March.  I remember one of the BBC forecasts at the end of February/beginning of March saying that it had been one of the most blustery winters on record.

I have pretty fond memories of the winter of 1993/94 in Tyneside as it contained several snow events (the November 1993 easterly, the Christmas cold snap and the February easterlies) and also plenty of active Atlantic weather.  1994/95 was quite memorable for its active, blustery Atlantic driven weather but didn't manage any lasting snow cover, with just short-lived snow events in January, and although it snowed frequently in March '95 any lying snow quickly thawed in the sun.

i would agree with 94-95 it was mild and stormy right through Nov- end of Feb... March 95 was much colder but still unsettled

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1990/91, cold and snowy in February, also quite chilly in December and parts of January.

93/94, cold at times, very cold during November with light snow in central London, then cold again during February, and more snowfalls across London. Cold winds.

95/96, very cold and dry. Seemed to last forever, and the cold lingered well into May. 
 

96/97, another chilly winter, but the February was mild.

Those were the best ones.

Worst would have to be:

97/98

98/99

94/95

All mild and boring.

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On 02/09/2020 at 21:38, A Face like Thunder said:

I cannot agree that 1982 was on a par with 1963. December 1981 was certainly worse than Dec 1962, but the really cold snowy weather rather petered out in mid-January 1982 (in London) whereas 1962/3 lasted from December 26th/ 27th 1962 through to March 1963 with no more than a day or two's break from the unrelenting cold. I can't really comment on 1947 although I'm told it did not get going until mid-January and was undoubtedly made worse by the privations still around in post-war Britain. I agree with your assessments about 1979, 1987 and 2010, but would need to think back a bit more about 1984. 

The cold of 1982 no doubt lingered longer over the deep snowfields of South Wales than in London, I was off school for a month and cars in my neighbourhood (624ft asl) were buried for the entire time. One snowdrift in my garden reached the gutters beneath my roof so over 4m in depth - my elderly neighbours said they hadn't seen anything like it since 47 where apparently the drifts were even deeper and even buried locomotives. One lady now deceased said that people in my street dug snow corridors from door to door that were taller than them - the elderly were literally trapped inside were in not for the shovel ready neighbours of my street..

I wasn't alive for 47 or 63 so can only go with what those that lived through it told me -  the sheer amount of snow in 47 & 82 lasted for months on the mountains which is why I put 82 under 1947 & 63 as one of the best winters of the C20th.

Where I lived back then people reflected more on the severe long term cold of 1963 than the snow that fell (but there was still a lot from what I've seen in old photos).

I don't think we'll ever see another 1982 again - the seas to the north of the UK were colder back then with a more southerly limit of winter sea ice and continental Europe regularly froze each winter with temps below -20c.

I live in hope though!

 

Edited by Arch Stanton
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February pants month in modern eera, definitely Atlantic dominated and wettest month of the season Nov to Mar

used to be a winter month before 2000

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5 hours ago, Arch Stanton said:

The cold of 1982 no doubt lingered longer over the deep snowfields of South Wales than in London, I was off school for a month and cars in my neighbourhood (624ft asl) were buried for the entire time. One snowdrift in my garden reached the gutters beneath my roof so over 4m in depth - my elderly neighbours said they hadn't seen anything like it since 47 where apparently the drifts were even deeper and even buried locomotives. One lady now deceased said that people in my street dug snow corridors from door to door that were taller than them - the elderly were literally trapped inside were in not for the shovel ready neighbours of my street..

I wasn't alive for 47 or 63 so can only go with what those that lived through it told me -  the sheer amount of snow in 47 & 82 lasted for months on the mountains which is why I put 82 under 1947 & 63 as one of the best winters of the C20th.

Where I lived back then people reflected more on the severe long term cold of 1963 than the snow that fell (but there was still a lot from what I've seen in old photos).

I don't think we'll ever see another 1982 again - the seas to the north of the UK were colder back then with a more southerly limit of winter sea ice and continental Europe regularly froze each winter with temps below -20c.

I live in hope though!

 

It all changed or started to change in December 1987. 

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5 hours ago, Arch Stanton said:

The cold of 1982 no doubt lingered longer over the deep snowfields of South Wales than in London, I was off school for a month and cars in my neighbourhood (624ft asl) were buried for the entire time. One snowdrift in my garden reached the gutters beneath my roof so over 4m in depth - my elderly neighbours said they hadn't seen anything like it since 47 where apparently the drifts were even deeper and even buried locomotives. One lady now deceased said that people in my street dug snow corridors from door to door that were taller than them - the elderly were literally trapped inside were in not for the shovel ready neighbours of my street..

I wasn't alive for 47 or 63 so can only go with what those that lived through it told me -  the sheer amount of snow in 47 & 82 lasted for months on the mountains which is why I put 82 under 1947 & 63 as one of the best winters of the C20th.

Where I lived back then people reflected more on the severe long term cold of 1963 than the snow that fell (but there was still a lot from what I've seen in old photos).

I don't think we'll ever see another 1982 again - the seas to the north of the UK were colder back then with a more southerly limit of winter sea ice and continental Europe regularly froze each winter with temps below -20c.

I live in hope though!

 

But, after my late 1987 statement, I’m still convince winter 20/21 will give us something cold.

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4 hours ago, Sunny76 said:

But, after my late 1987 statement, I’m still convince winter 20/21 will give us something cold.

I hope you're correct after last winter and the blow torch temperatures experienced at the end of July and during the first half of August!

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8 hours ago, Don said:

I hope you're correct after last winter and the blow torch temperatures experienced at the end of July and during the first half of August!

It can only be a matter of time, and I do believe between now and 2025, we will experience a couple of cold winters.

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I’d definitely put 2019-2020 in the worst winters category, it was dull, wet, mild and boring and Covid has soured my memory of it.

 2015/16 & 2016-17 are also up there (can barely remember much from 16-17). 2013/14 was awful but it was interesting from a weather viewpoint at just how relentless the storms were. 

I enjoyed 2017/2018 for its variety and also 2010/2011 (obviously for that unforgettable December). 2012/13 was good also, but the cold really did start dragging as it went all the way into April, the country felt like a barren wasteland until well into spring! 

2009/10 was so cold, it felt like the first “proper winter” in my lifetime. 

I was young but I remember 2000/01 being good for snow. 

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Best winters since the turn of the century are:

01/02.  A variety, cold sunny december with a few dusting of snow.  Stormy after mid january

08/09.  A cold winter with a snowy first half of February.  We had our deepest fall since childhood in the 2nd.  To be bettered next year of course!

09/10. For the period mid December to mid January.  8 inches of snow on 6th (though this would be slightly bettered in feb 2019)

13/14.  The awesome storminess this winter brought.  It was a sheer show of the force of mother nature 

17/18.  Again very varied.  December was good even though we missed out on the slider snow by about 10 miles.  January had some good gales and rainfall events and February led into bfte episode 1 and 2

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Best:

No 5) 2008/09 Not the coldest but some good snowy spells, especially in early January.

No 4) 2012/13 A back-loaded winter but good, powdery snow at times in January.  Cold February and v cold March.

No 3 ) 2010/11 The December to remember.  Shame it was mostly all over by January though.

No 2 ) 1995/96 Good cold spells in December and February.  Also followed by a chilly spring.

No 1 ) 2009/10 Fantastic cold snowy spells in all three months.  Best spell was early January, but February had some good snow too.

 

Worst: 

No 5 ) 1997/98 Don't remember much in the way of cold except early and mid December spells.  Mild and unsettled during the festive period, very warm in February.

No 4 ) 2018/19 Forgettable, with little cold weather.

No 3 )1998/99 Stormy at times over the festive period and often mild.  

No 2 ) 2015/16 Mild damp winter, not much snow, some incredible warmth during December.

No 1 ) 2013/14 Wind wind wind.  Mild mild mild. Wet wet wet.  Awful awful awful. Hope I never see a repeat of that again.

 

Of course, this is based entirely on my own biased preferences.  Others' opinions may well differ.  

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I'll just comment on 'best' as in coldest/snowiest.

My age allows me to have first hand knowledge of both 1947 and 1962-63 so, as you might expect, nothing since compares to either. A long time ago I posted daily temperatures for Langar, SE of Nottingham, from 26 December to , cannot remember=need to check for sure, end February/early March.

Could do again if anyone is interested?

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Jan 1979 Dec 2010 

Although I've been in "it" at altitude more times I care to remember.

I was born in November1962 which was quite memorable apparently.

Worst? maybe last year  -  I suppose the bad years are instantly unmemorable and forgettable.

Edited by Iceaxecrampon

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17 hours ago, Mr_Moreau said:

Best:

No 5) 2008/09 Not the coldest but some good snowy spells, especially in early January.

No 4) 2012/13 A back-loaded winter but good, powdery snow at times in January.  Cold February and v cold March.

No 3 ) 2010/11 The December to remember.  Shame it was mostly all over by January though.

No 2 ) 1995/96 Good cold spells in December and February.  Also followed by a chilly spring.

No 1 ) 2009/10 Fantastic cold snowy spells in all three months.  Best spell was early January, but February had some good snow too.

 

Worst: 

No 5 ) 1997/98 Don't remember much in the way of cold except early and mid December spells.  Mild and unsettled during the festive period, very warm in February.

No 4 ) 2018/19 Forgettable, with little cold weather.

No 3 )1998/99 Stormy at times over the festive period and often mild.  

No 2 ) 2015/16 Mild damp winter, not much snow, some incredible warmth during December.

No 1 ) 2013/14 Wind wind wind.  Mild mild mild. Wet wet wet.  Awful awful awful. Hope I never see a repeat of that again.

 

Of course, this is based entirely on my own biased preferences.  Others' opinions may well differ.  

Welcome.

Like to know your location...….

 

 

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On 12/09/2020 at 21:16, I remember Atlantic 252 said:

90-91, 93-94, 95-96, 96-97, 97-98, winters of childhood I can remember with snow

I will agree until 97/98. That winter was a stinker in London and the south east. We had no snow at all and it remained snowless until December 2000.

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