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Do you have snow and cold records?

I come from a family where we all were and are obsessed with the weather. We all have at least one barometer, but usually 3 of them.

I was hoping for some snowflakes in November because my records show that there shouldn't be further snow over the winter here in the South West.

 Since living here in the South of the UK, I noticed:
- if there was snow in February, it was around the 2nd of February.
- There was no snow in 2011, 2014, 2016 and in 2020.
- There was snow in Spring time in 2008, 2013, and 2018, which is a 5 years period. On the other side, these were the years when we had a marvellous warm summer.
- If we had plenty of snow in December, then we had also snow in December in the following year, but is a 8 year time difference between these double-years.
- There seems to be a 15 years time difference for these extreme cold and snowy winters.

I would predict that there is a high chance that:
- a cold snap in December means we will get snow at the beginning of February
- we will get snow in Springtime 2023 (every 5 years, my mother celebrates her birthday at the end of April in snow),
- and warmer temperatures will start around mid May.
- I expect the next white Christmas in 2024 and 2025, which is the time when the next frost-biting winter with temperature well below zero and heavy and long lasting snow should happen.

The x can be snowflakes or snow that stayed for days. They just show the cold front combined with an incoming rain front.
The x in December 2020 happened as snowflakes on the very last day, the 31st.

I my garden.



  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,378
    Interesting, but how reliable with global warming?

    I don't keep a record but when there's snow I take photos. It doesn't snow much in Dordogne where I live but it can be pretty cold in winter. We got caught in the "Beast from the East" when we went to OH's cottage in Norfolk. Had to stay a night in a hotel near Stansted.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 4,039
    That’s interesting @Simone_in_Wiltshire. However what I think you are seeing is set of coincidences rather than recurring patterns and furthermore your analysis is a bit selective. For example, “ There was snow in Spring time in 2008, 2013, and 2018” but your chart also shows snow in Spring 2007 and Spring 2021 so your identification of 5 year gaps disintegrates. And were the summers of 2007 and 2021 marvellously warm too? 

    I would be delighted to hear repeat postings from you to see if your predictions come true but my view is that UK weather is simply too capricious for reliable pattern identification.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,940
    I keep records of temps, and more recently I've bought one of those little rain collectors. It's quite interesting.
    As far as snow is concerned, most of ours, here where I am, comes after N. Year, although we do get it in December too. Until then it's wet, and it would be sleet on the colder days, and a mix of everything else through October to December.
    However, there's been a definite change in the last few years - fewer snowfalls, and smaller ones too. I don't physically measure it though. There's always the exception of course.
     I've lived and worked in this area [roughly] all my life, so I'm very aware of the changes. I worked outdoors all year round for 20 years before I had my children, and the pattern was fairly consistent. They're now in their mid to late twenties, and there's been a definite shift in the last ten years. We're seeing big changes on the hills too, which is quite worrying.
    The last two years have been bizarre - mild autumns and winters, but at least it helps with the heating costs.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 4,039
    Piqued by this thread, I have just looked up snow data since 1945 for the UK as a whole. The broad classification is into very snowy winters, snowy ones, average ones and ones with little snow.

    Here are some observations:
    Very snowy winters: 1946/7, 1962/3, 1978/9, 2009/0 so the interval between one very snowy winter and the next was 16 years, 16 years, 31 years, (13+years)
    Decades with snowy or very snowy winters: 1950s 4, 1960s 4, 1970s 2, 1980s 2, 1990s 2 2000s 1, 2010s 3.
    Starting in 1945, the gap in years between one snowy/very snowy winter and the next: 4, 4, 1, 2, 5, 3, 3, 1, 8, 1, 3, 3, 6, 9, 14, 1, 2, 5

    Make of that what you will but the two stand out facts for me are snowy winters are now less prevalent and variability takes precedence over regularity.
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 4,039
    Finding evidence for the snowiest day of the year is surprisingly difficult but on the evidence of quite patchy data, the accolade goes to February 25th.
  • Simone_in_WiltshireSimone_in_Wiltshire WiltshirePosts: 546
    edited November 2022
    Thanks @BenCotto for your statistics. I wonder what temperature the UK had in 1985/86. That was the winter when the weather forecast said after 3 weeks of minus 30 C, “it’s getting warmer, just minus 16 C”. I’ve got this statistic for East Germany:

    1947/1948-30 and heavy snow
    1962/1963-30 and heavy snow15 years
    1978/1979-30/extreme heavy snow15 years
    1985/1986-307 years
    1995/1996-10/long lasting snow10 years
    2009/2010-30/heavy snow14 years
    2020/2021-20/heavy snow11 years

    @Fairygirl, the last 2 years have been weird but it all started when the Polar vortex broke in December 2020. That itself is an event that happens every couple of years (20 they said at the BBC).  So far, November was quite normal and hopefully it stays like that. 

    Of course BenCotto, my simple statistic is just based on the location where I live. If we would still live in Berkshire, I had entered snow in February because the East part from Scotland to SE England had the snow blizzard with 30cm of snow. 

    My statistic helps me to narrow down certain times when I shouldn’t do something. For example, because there is a high chance to get snow around the 4th of December and so I shouldn’t fly to Germany. I still booked a flight for the coming weekend believing we had a warm December, but now on time, it gets cold. 
    Reason is not magic, but in that time, the jetstream finds its position and depending on where the jetstream is, it’s either 6 weeks cold or warm and wet. 

    Fairygirl, the Polar vortex is currently als split into 2 arms and reason why it’s extremely cold in 

    I my garden.

  • I'm inspired, would be very interesting to have records like this for my area in 30 years or so.... Hopefully  I don't forget or give up though...
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,662
    edited November 2022
    @Simone_in_Wiltshire , I don't know what temperatures we had in the winter of 1985/6 but there was certainly a lot of snow in parts of northern England sometime in January 1986. I remember going to catch a train from Sheffield heading south back to uni after the holidays, and it was 3 hours late. We were told they'd had to dig it out of a snowdrift in Newcastle before it could set off. We'd had snow in Sheffield, but not more than we could handle, I'd got to the station by bus with all my luggage, no problem. When I eventually got to my destination there hadn't been any snow at all there.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,940
    The jet stream certainly affects us in the west of the UK @Simone_in_Wiltshire , but it doesn't have to alter much to make a big difference. It's such a small country, in the grand scheme of things. 
    The whole thing about snow also depends on your perception of what's 'heavy'. I don't consider two or three inches to be very much, whereas in some parts of the south east [in particular] half an inch is the end of the world  ;)
    I remember visiting friends back in the late 80s/early 90s, who lived in Crawley. There had been an inch of snow and the whole place had just ground to a halt. My husband's friend, who had move down there, said it was hilarious. They all shut themselves away in their houses and hadn't a clue how to deal with it. A spade and a brush, then a couple of shovelfuls of salt/grit was all that was required, but they just wrung their hands and moaned that they couldn't get out  :D 
    The winter of 85/86 was when I'd not long been in my flat. South side of Glasgow. There was unprecedented snow in that area, even on main routes and it was impossible for any vehicles to move. I walked the 6 miles to work. Fortunately, the ploughs and gritters were out through the day, so it wasn't too bad by the time I went home, and I got a lift :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Simone_in_WiltshireSimone_in_Wiltshire WiltshirePosts: 546
    I'm inspired, would be very interesting to have records like this for my area in 30 years or so.... Hopefully  I don't forget or give up though...
    I have blog since 2008. As soon there is snow(flakes) I take a picture and add it to my blog. 
    People forget so easily the weather they had. 

    I my garden.

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