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

    January 1979 our last sub zero January at -0.4 degrees, not come anywhere near that since, 1985 and 1987 0.8 degrees a good 1 degree and more of that figure.

    Alas we won't beat it this year.

    Seems always more difficult to sustain cold in January these days..

    I wasn't even 1 in Jan 79, those who remember the month good to share memories and stats. 

    It was a cold unsettled month, southerly tracking jet with significant cold arctic air often getting in the mix and clashing with Atlantic, heavy snowfalls the result, though there were a couple of milder interludes from the SW at times.

    Looking at the model output we are not too dissimilar with synoptics, though the jet is further north preventing the significant cold easing south, at least for now.

    New Years Day was extreme with a freezing easterly and blizzards.

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    Posted
  • Location: Dundee
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, thunderstorms, gales. All extremes except humidity.
  • Location: Dundee

    I worked on building the new A9 road at Drummochter that Winter, often driving a truck used to bringing supplies up for the company building the deer and stock fences along the new road. Though mid December was mild the beginning and end were very cold and snowy which continued pretty much through to mid March.
    My foreman borrowed the truck one day leaving me with guys doing remedial work on the fences up at the top. Having done his probably dodgy business he met the bosses and went for an extended liquid lunch at the Calvine hotel. Meanwhile up top it started snowing heavily and the old road became very quiet.  After a while we went into a culvert and tried to build a fire with bits of wood, heather and debris to keep warm. The snow gates had been closed by then and no-one knew that we were up there until the guys came out of the pub and saw the road closed. They had to get the barrier opened and managed to eventually get up for us in a landrover. 
    Up where I lived in Perthshire though 78/79 was not as snowy (depths) as some of the years around that time(78/9, 81/2 and 83/4 had much deeper snow)  there was snow at 9AM on 75 days. Not beaten again until 2009/10.

    As an aside the company I worked for had contracted to make the new road stock proof by the second week of January but on the day the new road opened one of the the first vehicles down hit a deer and had to be written off. This led to a dispute as the main contractor claimed that the conditions of the sub-contract had not been met and tried to withhold payment. What happened was that drifting snow had completely covered to deer fence (6 feet) in several gullies and although the day before we had been sent out to dig around the fences the wind blown snow just filled in the gaps and the deer came through. We got paid in the end. 

    In February that year I travelled to London from Pitlochry overnight by train for a job interview on the 15th which was an experience and a half but that is another story. 9 hours late going down with no heating on the train and 15 hours late coming back.  Check out the weather on the 14th to 16th Feb 1979 for an idea of what a fun that trip was. 

    Edited by Norrance
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    Posted
  • Location: Cheshire
  • Location: Cheshire

    Yes, I remember quite clearly New Year's Day and the first week of January which was extremely cold and snowy in South London. I moved house during that week and it was a nightmare driving a van on the roads back and forth between the two houses. Also the rather antiquated boiler in my new house refused to light up after I moved in, and electric fires and blankets had to be hastily located and pressed into service to prevent me and the pipes from freezing up.

    Philip Eden reports that heavy snow affected the south of England - and then moved northwards - on the 19th Jan, followed by more heavy snow on 22nd - 23rd and then freezing rain which caused chaos on the roads, rails and London Underground. I don't recall these quite so vividly, but I do recall a winter that went on and on which - bearing in mind that this was 'the winter of discontent' - made for a miserable time for many.  

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
    9 minutes ago, A Face like Thunder said:

    Yes, I remember quite clearly New Year's Day and the first week of January which was extremely cold and snowy in South London. I moved house during that week and it was a nightmare driving a van on the roads back and forth between the two houses. Also the rather antiquated boiler in my new house refused to light up after I moved in, and electric fires and blankets had to be hastily located and pressed into service to prevent me and the pipes from freezing up.

    Philip Eden reports that heavy snow affected the south of England - and then moved northwards - on the 19th Jan, followed by more heavy snow on 22nd - 23rd and then freezing rain which caused chaos on the roads, rails and London Underground. I don't recall these quite so vividly, but I do recall a winter that went on and on which - bearing in mind that this was 'the winter of discontent' - made for a miserable time for many.  

    Off topic, but hey why not...There was a change in government in May 79, can't help but think the poor winter had a role to play..

    Interesting to note last time change government also happened on the back of a very cold winter in 09-10.

    To some extent as well the swing to labour in May 97 came on the back of two winters with alot of cold albeit in 96-97 quickly ran out of steam.. but there is a pattern forming by coincidence. By my reckoning perhaps expect our next proper cold winter to come in winter 2023-24, just 2 more to get through then... based on election in May 2024..

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    Posted
  • Location: Penrith Cumbria
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snowy winters and warm sunny summers
  • Location: Penrith Cumbria

    I was living in Birmingham in January 1979 snd there were repeated snowfalls and by the 25th snow lay 20cms deep at Edgbaston University.

    However, its New Years Day that I will never forget, I had been in Penrith for New Year and set off for home about midday, the strong easterly wind of the previous day had gone to be replaced by a surface westerly although it was still bitterly cold.

    This switch in wind direction over western Britain resulted in extensive convective snowfall developing over the Irish Sea which then moved gently in to NW England.

    As I drove down the M6 through Cumbria snow began to fall, I thought no problem it will ease as I get into lowland Lancashire, how wrong I was. The snow just got worse and by Charnock Richard services the motorway was down to one lane. Little did I know that a huge area of snow was now falling from Cumbria down the M6 corridor to Cheshire but with no mobile phones or Internet i didn't have a clue what was going on.

    Darkness fell and having only travelled 5 miles in 90 minutes the game was up and 10 miles south of   Charnock Richard the motorway ground to a halt in swirling snow and near zero visibility.

    I spent a miserable 5 hours sat in my car with the petrol gauge running low, eventually the snow eased a little and up ahead a snow plough managed to clear one lane so we set off slowly again.

    Once through Cheshire conditions were much better and I arrived home at 1am to just 5cms of snow.

    This turned out to be the heaviest snowfall in Liverpool and Manchester since 1947, 19cms fell at Manchester Airport and 16cms at Liverpool, further north 15 cms fell in Penrith and 10cms at Carlisle.

    It was a really unusual synoptic situation and can't say I have seen it since. See chart below, note the surface north westerly flow across northern England due to a shallow ridge to the south.

    Andy

    image.thumb.png.d86f488afa516f21166b2aa64e541137.png

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    Posted
  • Location: Essex Riviera aka Burnham
  • Weather Preferences: 30 Degrees of pure British Celsius
  • Location: Essex Riviera aka Burnham

    1979 was much colder and snowier than this month particularly at first in the south, where I lived in Essex New Years day was greeted with 8 inches of snow and some substantial drifting.

    Here's a pic of my mum, sister and myself clearing the driveway on either the 2nd or 3rd...

     

    20210116_200134.jpg

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
    8 hours ago, Penrith Snow said:

    I was living in Birmingham in January 1979 snd there were repeated snowfalls and by the 25th snow lay 20cms deep at Edgbaston University.

    However, its New Years Day that I will never forget, I had been in Penrith for New Year and set off for home about midday, the strong easterly wind of the previous day had gone to be replaced by a surface westerly although it was still bitterly cold.

    This switch in wind direction over western Britain resulted in extensive convective snowfall developing over the Irish Sea which then moved gently in to NW England.

    As I drove down the M6 through Cumbria snow began to fall, I thought no problem it will ease as I get into lowland Lancashire, how wrong I was. The snow just got worse and by Charnock Richard services the motorway was down to one lane. Little did I know that a huge area of snow was now falling from Cumbria down the M6 corridor to Cheshire but with no mobile phones or Internet i didn't have a clue what was going on.

    Darkness fell and having only travelled 5 miles in 90 minutes the game was up and 10 miles south of   Charnock Richard the motorway ground to a halt in swirling snow and near zero visibility.

    I spent a miserable 5 hours sat in my car with the petrol gauge running low, eventually the snow eased a little and up ahead a snow plough managed to clear one lane so we set off slowly again.

    Once through Cheshire conditions were much better and I arrived home at 1am to just 5cms of snow.

    This turned out to be the heaviest snowfall in Liverpool and Manchester since 1947, 19cms fell at Manchester Airport and 16cms at Liverpool, further north 15 cms fell in Penrith and 10cms at Carlisle.

    It was a really unusual synoptic situation and can't say I have seen it since. See chart below, note the surface north westerly flow across northern England due to a shallow ridge to the south.

    Andy

    image.thumb.png.d86f488afa516f21166b2aa64e541137.png

    Thanks for sharing your memories. Yes an unusual synoptic indeed, I thought there was a raging easterly feed on the 1 Jan, but I think that had happened on New Years Eve.

    I've seen pictures of a local event, on New Years Day, and the snow blowing hard and heavy with drifting snow on the roads around here. What a way to bring in the New Year. We were not far off similar conditions New Years Day 1997, alas the heavy snow showers and strong winds eased through the early hours and much of the daylight was calm but with alot of snow on the ground. New Years Eve 96 was very memorable in this respect, walking against the mini-blizzards.. 

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    Posted
  • Location: Penrith Cumbria
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snowy winters and warm sunny summers
  • Location: Penrith Cumbria
    1 hour ago, damianslaw said:

    Thanks for sharing your memories. Yes an unusual synoptic indeed, I thought there was a raging easterly feed on the 1 Jan, but I think that had happened on New Years Eve.

    I've seen pictures of a local event, on New Years Day, and the snow blowing hard and heavy with drifting snow on the roads around here. What a way to bring in the New Year. We were not far off similar conditions New Years Day 1997, alas the heavy snow showers and strong winds eased through the early hours and much of the daylight was calm but with alot of snow on the ground. New Years Eve 96 was very memorable in this respect, walking against the mini-blizzards.. 

    Thanks, snowfall in the in the Lake District must have been immense as Penrith would have been in a rain shadow but still got 15cms, I will dig out the Daily Weather Report for that day (remember them) and will post a few photos, the synoptic situation was unique and for the North West fantastic.

    Looking good for later this week with North westerly winds and-6c uppers.

    Andy

    Edited by Penrith Snow
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    Posted
  • Location: Penrith Cumbria
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snowy winters and warm sunny summers
  • Location: Penrith Cumbria

    Here is the detailed chart at the height of the North West snow storm. Remarkable

    44EF1512-CD1E-4400-9381-E995A8CA5E4E.jpeg

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