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The Big Freeze of ten years ago...


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Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    Vividly remember the Monday and Tuesday of that first full week of cold, either the 29th and 30th or 30th and 1st.. unusually we had blizzard type showers off and on on a bitter easterly wind, however, totals were very small, an inch or two tops, it often looked like it was snowing but it was just the wind whipping up the powdery snow.

     

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    I lived in Grampian at the time. The snow and the cold were amazing.  Had no place to go...

    Maxima and upper-air temperatures  in March 2018 were astonishingly cold for the time of year. A little-known fact, but 1st March 2018 broke the CET record for the lowest daily maximum in March (-1.2C

    Some memories of 2010 from the gallery.   

    Posted Images

    Posted
  • Location: Lisburn
  • Location: Lisburn

    I remember going to work Christmas eve eve 0420 in the morning with -16c on the car gauge, 2 pairs of socks and jogging bottoms under work trousers lol, eyelashes and everything freezing at one stage... but still loved it

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    Posted
  • Location: N.E. Scotland South Side Moray Firth 100m asl
  • Location: N.E. Scotland South Side Moray Firth 100m asl

    A  wall of snow coming in off the IMG_0001_43.thumb.jpg.7576714934e2de6789adabb97b418511.jpg Firth on 27th November 2010 unusual in late January / February but just extreme in November with in the average year in the past 60 years settling snow arriving  between Christmas and New Year. Just like the videos of lake effect snow you see from North America.

    Edited by Northernlights
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    Posted
  • Location: Cambridge
  • Location: Cambridge

    Couldn't believe my luck that year. Spent a decade longing for snow and finally gave in the ghost, moving to Jerusalem in October 2010. I'll say no more - at least I was close enough to god for him to hear what I had to say! I moved back to the UK shortly before Jerusalem had its heaviest snowfall in a century, some time later. Hey ho, am fortunate to have pictures, this thread and luck in other ways beyond the weather! 

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    Posted
  • Location: Woodland Garden, South Yorks
  • Weather Preferences: Warm and Humid weather, Thunderstorms
  • Location: Woodland Garden, South Yorks

    The coldest December on record was actually 1890.

    I lived in Buxton, Derbyshire in December 2010. Had about 13" of snow at the deepest. I commuted into Manchester during that time and at least in the center of the city there was very little snow all month. It was a cold month, but not especially by global standards.

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    Remember the Friday night of 18th December, it started snowing  just after 7pm and got heavier as the evening progress. Left a good covering. It was a lighter snow in terms of weight than the snow that fell at the start of that year.

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    lb8xa2X.jpgAQsY5Le.jpgkGIccwg.jpgbaU9HfH.jpg

    asvzhes.jpg9cdoRKA.jpgNDSLfyj.jpgVuzp92A.jpg67IFc24.jpg

    On Boxing Day, ice was on the Manchester Ship Canal

    YwdNntQ.jpg

     

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    Posted
  • Location: Broadmayne a few miles north of Weymouth in Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Snowfall
  • Location: Broadmayne a few miles north of Weymouth in Dorset

    Here in Dorset the November/December 2010 cold and snowy spell was truly exceptional.

    Temperatures:

    In Dorset as a whole it was the coldest December on record. Yes colder than 1890.

    At my weather station in the village of Winfrith Newburgh .

    The spell began with an air frost on the 21st November. The first of 36 consecutive air frosts. 

    Before December got under way, both the 27th and 28th November ice days. The first November ice days I have found in Dorset records going back to 1856.

    The 2nd December set a new minimum temperature record for my station of min 12.5c.

    Throughout the spell there were 16 nights below minus 5c and a further 5 nights below minus 10c

    Christmas day was the coldest Dorset Christmas day on record. At my station the maximum was minus 3.4c and the minimum minus 10.2c Boxing day was also the coldest on record my temps being a max of 0c and a mininmum and new station record of minus 13c.

    Overall the spell produced 17 ice days,  more ice days even than December 1962.

    The mercury remained below freezing point from early morning on the 17th December until late morning on the 27th

    According to the CET. The average average daily cet temp for the spell Dec 17th-27th 2010 sits at minus 3.9c and is comfortably within the top twenty severe cold spells on record in England.

    Snowfall:

    The spell produced 4 substantial snowfalls of note at my weather station.

    The 27th November produced a 5cm fall

    The 2nd December produced a 10cm fall. (The earliest winter season snowfall on record)

    The 17th December another 5cm fall

    The 20th produced a 15cm fall.

    Following the fall on the 17th there was then a continuous full snow cover until the 27th. more days with snow cover than December 1962.

    and all of this at a station just 32metres amsl and within three  miles of the channel coast.

     

     

     

    Edited by Broadmayne blizzard
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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    I think December 2010 was the coldest month on record in Northern Ireland, an outstanding achievement in these days of global warming.  Correct me if wrong.

    The western half of the UK unusually saw colder nights than central and eastern parts, being more sheltered from the northerly and easterly winds and less cloud cover, guess this is the reason N Ireland was so cold, I remember hearing forecasts mentioning day after day of freezing fog that didn't clear due to little wind.

    It was also a very sunny month in the west, wouldn't be surprised if it ended up sunniest on record for a number of places.

     

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    Posted
  • Location: Edinburgh (previously Chelmsford and Birmingham)
  • Weather Preferences: Unseasonably cold weather (at all times of year), wind, and thunderstorms.
  • Location: Edinburgh (previously Chelmsford and Birmingham)
    On 05/12/2020 at 01:19, Thundershine said:

    The coldest December on record was actually 1890.

    I lived in Buxton, Derbyshire in December 2010. Had about 13" of snow at the deepest. I commuted into Manchester during that time and at least in the center of the city there was very little snow all month. It was a cold month, but not especially by global standards.

    For central England yes; nationally it's impossible to tell since the records only go back to 1910.

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    Posted
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snowy winters and warm, sunny summers
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland
    9 hours ago, Relativistic said:

    For central England yes; nationally it's impossible to tell since the records only go back to 1910.

    They go back for temperature to 1884 now and for the UK as a whole, 2010 was -0.8C colder than 1890.

    1981: -0.1

    1890: -0.1

    2010: -0.9

    For England & Wales back to 1884, 1890 (-1.0) was -0.5C colder than 2010 (-0.5). Northern Ireland had its joint coldest month on record as Damian mentioned with February 1895 (-0.7). Scotland had its coldest December on record (-1.7) and coldest month since February 1947 (-2.4). Besides the air quality or smog, why 1890 was colder than 2010 in England & Wales was more than likely down to the fact it was quite an easterly month whilst December 2010 was very northerly which favoured the north to be coldest. 

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    Posted
  • Location: Woodland Garden, South Yorks
  • Weather Preferences: Warm and Humid weather, Thunderstorms
  • Location: Woodland Garden, South Yorks

    That makes 2010 seem even more insane. Truly a one off event.

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    Posted
  • Location: Leeds
  • Weather Preferences: snow, heat, thunderstorms
  • Location: Leeds

    A combination of low rainfall and very cold weather enabled the usually fast-flowing River Aire in Leeds city centre to freeze over from bank to bank. I’m not sure when that last happened prior but it must be a good few decades, possibly 1963. 

    A rare enough site that people were throwing rocks at the river just to make sure it was actually frozen.

    5281230813_23e4c9d7c7_c_d.jpg

    Edited by cheese
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    Posted
  • Location: Isle of Man
  • Weather Preferences: Mobile at work, settled when I'm off :)
  • Location: Isle of Man

    I'm on the Isle of Man, and we don't often get lying snow for long here - obviously the surrounding sea tends to keep temperatures that bit higher. Even here though, it was cold, with snow lying for much of the month. The mean 24 hour temp was only 2.7°C - the coldest December recorded since Ronaldsway started in 1947. There was ice in some of the inner harbours, despite the salty water. 

    2010 snow 1.jpg

    2010 snow 2.jpg

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    Posted
  • Location: halifax 125m
  • Weather Preferences: extremes the unusual and interesting facts
  • Location: halifax 125m
    6 hours ago, cheese said:

    A combination of low rainfall and very cold weather enabled the usually fast-flowing River Aire in Leeds city centre to freeze over from bank to bank. I’m not sure when that last happened prior but it must be a good few decades, possibly 1963. 

    A rare enough site that people were throwing rocks at the river just to make sure it was actually frozen.

    5281230813_23e4c9d7c7_c_d.jpg

    Just a few miles upstream from you in the upper Calder valley i also witnessed frozen canals and had a walk around a few resevoirs that had ice aprox 4 to 5 inches thick.I dont know how thick it need to walk on but even so there was no way i would ever try and walk on it.However i didnt need to go back to 1963 to see something similar,i guess 1981 may have been similar but was just a little young to venture around resevoirs but i did in February 1986.The ice that month was incredibly thick and i was young and foolish back then,me and my friends thought nothing about venturing onto Blackstone edge and Baitings resevoir,the edges had somehow swelled and could clearly see it was at least a foot thick.I think the conditions certainly higher up made ice freeze thicker due to the stiff east wind rather than in 2010 where there was little or no wind.

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    Posted
  • Location: Bangor, Northern Ireland
  • Weather Preferences: whatever the weather, I'll be watching.
  • Location: Bangor, Northern Ireland

    Remember it so well, like it was yesterday. At the end of November I was up on a roof rebuilding a chimney when the first snow showers began to fall in Belfast. By Christmas time there was 1 metre Icicles hanging from the sky dish, snow had been laying for weeks and there was more forecast.

    From what I remember it started with a Greenland high then this moved to Scandi, then back and forth like a game of tennis the whole time.

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    Posted
  • Location: Ponteland
  • Location: Ponteland

    I am fortunate to have been around for the winters of 47’,63’ 81’  oops missed 79’ and 2010, any of those would be a bonus now but for snowfall 79’ was the best in my area, I was 9 on 47’ and it wasn’t just the copious snowfalls but the severity of the temperatures that spring to mind. All those years were a snowlovers paradise. Will we ever experience them again,I do wonder.

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    Posted
  • Location: Glasgow Southside 30m ASL.
  • Weather Preferences: Summer: Warm/Dry enough for a t-shirt. Winter: Cold enough for a scarf.
  • Location: Glasgow Southside 30m ASL.

    I recall the River Clyde froze in central Glasgow during this spell, and a mid morning temp of around -14c in the city the day after the first big snow fall.

    Was actually just commenting in the Scotland thread that significant sub zero temps and ice day events are typically around once a decade here. Can recall 2010, 2009, 2002 (or at least early 2000s one year had a short cold spell between Xmas and New Year), 1995 and of course 1987. That makes me reckon we’re here overdue another one for Central Scotland.

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    On 23/11/2020 at 14:16, mushymanrob said:

    Itll soon be ten years since we experienced the coldest December on record. I was wondering, what caused it? Because it apparently wasnt via a SSW. We seem to look for SSWs as the holy grail for cold spells, but Big Freezes can apparently be driven by other factors.
    So what drove the freeze od 2010?  Any ideas?

    Since my teens (I'm now 61) I've noticed that we get clusters of cold winters at about 16-year intervals, often three cold winters in a row. The details differ every time but the pattern has persisted since at least 1947 and probably long beforehand (the severe winter of 1895/96 was probably one of them). Nearly all the 'great' winters are found in these clusters, generally the last winter in the cluster. So sixteen years after 1947 we had the winter of 1962/63. Sixteen years later we had 1978/79. Seventeen years later we had 1995/96 and of course fifteen years after that we got 2010/11. The next one should be around 2026/27, although I'd expect them to start getting colder around 2023/24. Not too long to wait if you love real winters (as do I).

    The last cluster fitted the pattern almost perfectly, with 2008/9, 2009/10 and 2010/11 all being colder than average. One unusual feature of 2010/11 was that it was all over by the end of December, but many stations recorded an average temperature for December of well below 0C. 2010 was an exceptionally cold year in fact, because of the big freeze of 2009/10, but again that winter was cut short. 

    I have never come across any mechanism that accounts for this cycle of cold winters in the UK and NW Europe, but experience tells me that local councils should start stocking up on grit in a couple of years, something they conspicuously failed to do last time.

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    Posted
  • Location: halifax 125m
  • Weather Preferences: extremes the unusual and interesting facts
  • Location: halifax 125m
    3 hours ago, William Downie said:

    Since my teens (I'm now 61) I've noticed that we get clusters of cold winters at about 16-year intervals, often three cold winters in a row. The details differ every time but the pattern has persisted since at least 1947 and probably long beforehand (the severe winter of 1895/96 was probably one of them). Nearly all the 'great' winters are found in these clusters, generally the last winter in the cluster. So sixteen years after 1947 we had the winter of 1962/63. Sixteen years later we had 1978/79. Seventeen years later we had 1995/96 and of course fifteen years after that we got 2010/11. The next one should be around 2026/27, although I'd expect them to start getting colder around 2023/24. Not too long to wait if you love real winters (as do I).

    The last cluster fitted the pattern almost perfectly, with 2008/9, 2009/10 and 2010/11 all being colder than average. One unusual feature of 2010/11 was that it was all over by the end of December, but many stations recorded an average temperature for December of well below 0C. 2010 was an exceptionally cold year in fact, because of the big freeze of 2009/10, but again that winter was cut short. 

    I have never come across any mechanism that accounts for this cycle of cold winters in the UK and NW Europe, but experience tells me that local councils should start stocking up on grit in a couple of years, something they conspicuously failed to do last time.

    I remember telling many people in 1995 the same thing that we will be getting a bad winter as it was 16 years since 1979,however even though it was cold at times and had a good dumping of snow it really wasnt on the same scale as 1947,1963 or 1979.This pattern doesnt either account for winters such as 1940,1942,1945,1955,1956,late 60s,1985,1986,1987,1990 as well as 2013 and 2018

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    1 hour ago, hillbilly said:

    I remember telling many people in 1995 the same thing that we will be getting a bad winter as it was 16 years since 1979,however even though it was cold at times and had a good dumping of snow it really wasnt on the same scale as 1947,1963 or 1979.This pattern doesnt either account for winters such as 1940,1942,1945,1955,1956,late 60s,1985,1986,1987,1990 as well as 2013 and 2018

    I live near Edinburgh and 1995/6 was indeed a severe winter for us, although not on the scale of 1978/79, as you say, maybe another 1977/78. Glasgow Airport recorded -20C between Christmas and New Year 1996, during a severe 10-day cold snap. 1996/97 was a cold winter too - we had snow on the ground for six weeks, which isn't bad for a location only 300 ft asl. and I believe there was a coldish winter in 1993/94. So I maintain that these winters were indeed part of the 16/year cycle. If you look at historic station data for UK stations you will clearly see a general dip in winter temperatures between 1993 and 1997, although not as big a dip as usual.

    Yes, there are plenty of cold winters outside these clusters, but the clusters have persisted. If every 16 years or so you see a cluster of cold or even just coldish winters then that is a noteworthy pattern. More importantly is gives people a chance to prepare.

    Edited by William Downie
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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    The exceptional cold spell that started around 24 November was generally coming to an end on this day in 2010. What an early winter! Normally our winters don't get going until now. An oddity. The 27 December 2010 saw a front move in off the Atlantic, snow on it's forward edge, rain on it's back edge and a rapid thaw. The rest of 2010 was rather cold still with light frosts, wintry precipitation, but felt mild compared to the freeze. The cold conditions prevailed through first week of January, high pressure tried to keep the Atlantic at bay and here at least we had further snowfalls around 7th and 8th. The change to proper mild arrived from 9th on, and that was it for wintry weather rest of the season.

    I group winters 81-82, 96-97 and 10-11 in the same category, cold front ended. Conversely I group 62-63, 78-79 and 09-10 in same category, cold middle and end ended.. cold starting through second half December.

    We then have episodic cold winters such as 95-96, 08-09 and 12-13, which delivered cold on and off, but generally the cold had the upper hand on the mild.

    We also have the backloaded winters, such as 46-47, 55-56 and 90-91 when the coldest weather arrived after mid January.

    What category will 20-21 end up, not the first, bettings on which of the other three?

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    Posted
  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl
  • Weather Preferences: obviously snow!
  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl

    and for my area winter was over on the evening of Fri 7th Jan, after quite decent but temporary snow

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    Posted
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet

    Breakdown was just heavy rain here before a second front then brought freezing rain. Was strange because I'm pretty sure it was -1C.

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    Posted
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
    4 minutes ago, summer blizzard said:

    Breakdown was just heavy rain here before a second front then brought freezing rain. Was strange because I'm pretty sure it was -1C.

    Very frustrating when that happens, SB... Reminds of the ice storm we had in the Highlands, way back when: 5-hours' heavy rain at -4C!

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