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The snowstorm that never happened


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I remember watching the weather forecast after the 9 o' Clock news on BBC1 and there were heavy snow symbols plastered all over England & Wales for the night ahead.

I can remember lamp post watching from various windows until about 11pm but I didn't see a flake, it was still dry; it didn't really matter as the thought of waking up to a winter wonderland scene was just so exciting - the prospect of several hours of heavy snow over night

at my home (back then) in South Wales (624ft asl). To this day I just don't understand how the met office could get a forecast so wrong because when I woke up and looked out of the window - the mountain on the opposite side of the valley

was lush green in colour, the disappointment for a school kid obsessed with snow has stuck with me all these years!

That morning I jumped on my bike and headed up to my local park and found dozens of trees felled like match sticks!  To this day I don't know what happened and would love to see some synoptic charts of that night.

I wish I could be specific about the year - I think it was around 1979-1980...

 

Edited by Arch Stanton
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"The snowstorm that never happened" - this happens to me once every few years in the SE!!!

I remember watching the weather forecast after the 9 o' Clock news on BBC1 and there were heavy snow symbols plastered all over England & Wales for the night ahead. I can remember lamp post w

Last year these charts produced the following images below. Talk about being borderline or what but boy did it produce and I'm at relatively low ground in mid Ulster.

Posted Images

Welcome to NW, Arch... and what a familiar tale you tell!:oldlaugh:

I do recall (v. early January 1980, I believe) forecasts of an upcoming 5-day northerly wind being expected to bring heavy, drifting snow, persistent frosts to pretty-much the entire country... Well, that was Sunday night's forecast anyhow; the reality -- 20-minutes' light sleet, as westerlies pushed all the cold air away, first thing Monday morning -- was rather different...

I was gutted!:oldlaugh:

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16 hours ago, Man With Beard said:

"The snowstorm that never happened" - this happens to me once every few years in the SE!!!

Haha brilliant! Too true.

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I'm sure I've read somewhere (might have been on uk.sci.weather years ago) that the famous West Country snowstorm of 1978(?) was forecast to hit most of the southern half of Britain with ~15cm or so but ended up somehow stuck around Devon and Dorset area, resulting in them getting feet while other places got flurries.

But it's true the snowstorm that never happened could describe many a winter forecast here, just like the heatwave/thunderstorms/gales/sunshine that never happened at various times of year!

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5 hours ago, General Cluster said:

Welcome to NW, Arch... and what a familiar tale you tell!:oldlaugh:

I do recall (v. early January 1980, I believe) forecasts of an upcoming 5-day northerly wind being expected to bring heavy, drifting snow, persistent frosts to pretty-much the entire country... Well, that was Sunday night's forecast anyhow; the reality -- 20-minutes' light sleet, as westerlies pushed all the cold air away, first thing Monday morning -- was rather different...

I was gutted!:oldlaugh:

It could well have been that date, there definitely was no school the next day so it was either on a weekend or xmas holidays - the winds must have been something else that night for so many mature trees to be felled like that.

Anyway, it wasn't too long before Dec 81 and Jan 82 happened - those 2 months will stick in my memory for ever, I remember my 3 mates & me walking the streets as it began to fall about 9pm (Jan 3rd - it was the fine powdery type of snow that

was drifting into the curbs of the streets - the next morning was a whiteout, visibility was no more than 100yrds it snowed like that on and off for the next 48hrs (there was a snow drift in my garden that curled all the way up to the roof so 20ft at least) 

My junior school was closed for a month 😀

Beautiful memories...

Edited by Arch Stanton
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It might well have been the beginning of January 1980 - there was a brief northerly around the New Year and it might have been a case of the forecast models at the time overdoing the northerly.  It has often happened in recent years but usually no less than 4-5 days out, but in 1980 forecast models were somewhat less sophisticated so the models could have overdone the northerly at just one day out.

image.thumb.png.84a852ffaa8bbe1472ded24a857cc9c8.png

1 January 1980 was a Tuesday so it's possible that it could have been a forecast on Sunday 30 December 1979, when the northerly was just beginning:

image.thumb.png.528e7fedad13ef98eeabb4cdb0653e70.png

And yes, the big Devon snowstorm was in February 1978 - probably a case of the models underdoing the strength of the cold blocking high on that occasion:

image.thumb.png.585385db750c47102edae6f5f1fcbd67.png

 

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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Thanks, that's really interesting.

If it was the beginning of 1980 then even a brief northerly had the majority of England & Wales under under heavy snow forecast, you just don't see things like that happening now, I bet the southerly extent of

arctic sea ice was a lot more pronounced back then which mean't any weather coming from the North was that much colder in its origin?

 

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Happened to me in the 80’s as a child when I lived in east London: BBC evening forecast were going for 8 inches of now. When I woke up - nothing!

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Happened several times in my lifetime. I remember one BBC Breakfast forecast in the early 80s, it was Francis Wilson. We already had snow on the ground in Clacton and the forecast map showed a line from about the Isle of Wight to The Wash, to the SE of that the text said "heavy snowfall overnight" with mention of a further 6 inches falling.

I'm guessing a depression was expected to track NE through the English Channel with snow on the northern flank.

Needless to say I woke up the next morning to a half melted snowman and sunny skies.

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I'm unable to view the Jack Scott forecast but no problem with the Michael Fish one - it wasn't that one. I remember the forecast was for the upcoming night and following day - those magnetic symbols for

snow (2 flakes) were all over England & Wales for the whole night - It may well have been Jack Scott presenting it?

Ah well, at least I'm not alone on this - there have been plenty more let downs but a most of them were a lot more marginal than this particular 'nailed on' event!

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On 06/08/2020 at 05:34, Arch Stanton said:

I'm unable to view the Jack Scott forecast but no problem with the Michael Fish one - it wasn't that one. I remember the forecast was for the upcoming night and following day - those magnetic symbols for

snow (2 flakes) were all over England & Wales for the whole night - It may well have been Jack Scott presenting it?

Ah well, at least I'm not alone on this - there have been plenty more let downs but a most of them were a lot more marginal than this particular 'nailed on' event!

don't think it could have been Feb 78 either...i was living in Exeter at the time..the 2 weeks or so before had been very cold and relatively snowy nationwide..so rules out the lush green grass theory..plus that storm was never forecast to produce any snow north of Bristol

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The snow event that I definitely remember been forecast was the one for the night of Wednesday 23rd February 2005 into Thursday 24th. The link is below.

They talked of persistent snow setting in during the night and I was in the highest risk area with local falls of up to 15cm predicted. Get up the next morning and the snow from the previous day's showers had all melted and it was pouring with rain with a bit of sleet mixed in. That was one big flop by the bbc weather forecast that day

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On 10/08/2020 at 20:27, cheeky_monkey said:

don't think it could have been Feb 78 either...i was living in Exeter at the time..the 2 weeks or so before had been very cold and relatively snowy nationwide..so rules out the lush green grass theory..plus that storm was never forecast to produce any snow north of Bristol

It was definitely after 78/79 - the latter was cold & snowy one for South Wales and i guess the South west too?

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On 11/08/2020 at 22:22, SqueakheartLW said:

The snow event that I definitely remember been forecast was the one for the night of Wednesday 23rd February 2005 into Thursday 24th. The link is below.

They talked of persistent snow setting in during the night and I was in the highest risk area with local falls of up to 15cm predicted. Get up the next morning and the snow from the previous day's showers had all melted and it was pouring with rain with a bit of sleet mixed in. That was one big flop by the bbc weather forecast that day

Aren’t you in Scunthorpe? That map has sleet / rain on the east coast 🤷🏻‍♂️

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On 11/08/2020 at 21:22, SqueakheartLW said:

The snow event that I definitely remember been forecast was the one for the night of Wednesday 23rd February 2005 into Thursday 24th. The link is below.

They talked of persistent snow setting in during the night and I was in the highest risk area with local falls of up to 15cm predicted. Get up the next morning and the snow from the previous day's showers had all melted and it was pouring with rain with a bit of sleet mixed in. That was one big flop by the bbc weather forecast that day

Aye, same here, and another very similar event this day, loads of snow due, but actually turned out less cold with a thaw

archives-2010-1-10-12-0.png

Edited by I remember Atlantic 252
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41 minutes ago, Tim Bland said:

Aren’t you in Scunthorpe? That map has sleet / rain on the east coast 🤷🏻‍♂️

On the east coast but Scunthorpe is miles away from the east coast itself. Was very much in a snow area on that forecast

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44 minutes ago, I remember Atlantic 252 said:

Aye, same here, and another very similar event this day, loads of snow due, but actually turned out less cold with a thaw

archives-2010-1-10-12-0.png

Had been a decent week for cold and snow from 4th January 2010 to the 9th January 2010 and it looked like the worst snow of the winter was due on the 10th but what a disappointment it was when I got up next day and saw all that fresh powdery snow from the few days before that had stayed frozen in the ice days from 7th to 9th January all melting away like it did

However in Scunthorpe we made up for this big time between 30th November 2010 and 1st December 2010. Stuck under a snow streamer all night long and got about 50 cm of snow

Edited by SqueakheartLW
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49 minutes ago, SqueakheartLW said:

Had been a decent week for cold and snow from 4th January 2010 to the 9th January 2010 and it looked like the worst snow of the winter was due on the 10th but what a disappointment it was when I got up next day and saw all that fresh powdery snow from the few days before that had stayed frozen in the ice days from 7th to 9th January all melting away like it did

However in Scunthorpe we made up for this big time between 30th November 2010 and 1st December 2010. Stuck under a snow streamer all night long and got about 50 cm of snow

those 2 days were great here too, but 50cm way out of possible range here

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14 hours ago, Tim Bland said:

Aren’t you in Scunthorpe? That map has sleet / rain on the east coast 🤷🏻‍♂️

It turned to rain and sleet here as well. Strange day, it was snowing at Oldham, higher up, but my part of Greater Manchester, it was largely dry. 

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This happens quite often I find.  There seem to be numerous factors such as layers of warm air melting the snow before it reaches the ground, an example being 30 Dec 1995, when I remember up to 4 inches being forecasted but was disappointed when there was just a touch of light rain.  Seem to remember a similar forecast event at the beginning of that year on 5 January.  Also a slight change in predicted wind direction can cause this i believe.  I think the event on 24 Feb 2005 had a slight south of east wind when it should have been more north of east.  

I find it can happen the other way too!, which for me has balanced out the disappointment over the years.  We had a sudden dump of snow on 21 Dec 2009 when only rain was forecast.. I think it rained harder than expected and with marginal temperatures it cooled the air enough to turn the whole lot to snow.  Also Feb 1 2019 a similar event happened but this time caused by a small polar low developing suddenly over the area, again in marginal conditions.

This goes to show so many factors can ruin predicted snow events/conjure up winter awesomeness out of nothing.

 

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