Frozen River Wear in Durham, December 2010

The River Wear froze in Durham in late November/December 2010. Here’s a daily weather diary of the period with photographs of the brutal spell of weather we hadn’t experienced for a long time.

November/December 2010

25th Nov   Snow cover at 0900hrs. 2″ in Ferryhill, 5-6″ in Newcastle.
26th Nov   Snow cover continuing. Brighter, with improvement in road conditions
27th Nov.  Snow cover holding. Several further snow showers today
28th Nov.  Some more snow overnight. Hard frost. -17.3C in Llandryndodd Wells in Wales overnight
29th Nov.  4″ more snow overnight. Slight thaw. Frequent showers of hail, sleet and snow. Thunder too!
30th Nov.  Snow cover persisting. Frequent snow showers. Strong E wind. Cold
1st Dec.    More snow overnight. Another 1-2″. -20c at Altnaharra last night
2nd Dec    Frequent snow showers from the East. Cold again. Another 3″ of snow falling

FACT : There was 55cm of lying snow at Westgate, County Durham on 2 December 2010.

-20.0 °C was recorded at Ravensworth (North Yorkshire) on 2/3 December 2010, the first time -20 °C had been recorded in England since January 1987.

3rd Dec.    Very cold morning. New record for December at Ferryhill (-8.6). Snow showers dying out but deep snow cover remains. Ice day.
4th Dec.    Still deep snow cover (15″). Shallow freezing fog.
5th Dec.    Snow cover persisting. Very cold later.

frozen river wear december 2010
Frozen River Wear december 2010. Picture by Paul Parker / BBC

6th Dec.    Very cold morning again (-7.8). 12 days of snow cover now. Ice day
7th Dec.    Snow cover becoming icy. Spell of light snow early morning. Cold. Ice day
8th Dec.    Sunny, bright day. Ice day.
9th Dec.    Temp returns above zero. Thaw is beginning, but still snow lying @ 0900.
10th Dec.   Substantial thawing of lying snow, but still >50% lying at 0900.
11th Dec.   Thaw continuing.  Probably last day with >50% cover. 6.8 degC is highest since 20th Nov.
12th Dec.   Milder and drizzly rain. Majority of snow melted, except in sheltered areas.

graph showing snow depths in ne england between 25th november and 12th december 2010

Time series of hourly snow depths in eastern Scotland and north-east England, Thursday 25 November to Sunday 12 December 2010. Locations are Aviemore (Inverness-shire), Dyce (Aberdeenshire), Edinburgh Gogarbank, Redesdale Camp (Northumberland) and Albemarle (Northumberland).


16th Dec   5am. Cold front sweeps south leaving snow and ice. 7 degC drop from 5 > 8am. Treacherous roads. Cold
17th Dec   Snow cover at 0900hrs. Ice on pavements. Very cold.
18th Dec.  Very cold. No fresh snow, but very icy.
19th Dec   Very cold and sunny. 7th ice day of the month!

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20th Dec   Very cold, sunny and icy.
21st Dec   Very cold again. Slightly ‘warmer’ (around freezing) tonight, with some snow showers
22nd Dec   Snow showers overnight and early morning. Not quite as cold. Heavy showers in evening too
23rd Dec   Still a couple of inches snow cover. Sunshine and snow showers
24th Dec   Some fresh snow from showers. Cold
25th Dec   Slight thaw. No fresh snow, but still a covering at 0900
26th Dec   Very cold. Snow flurries
27th Dec   Very cold. Snow flurries. Snowcover diminishing
28th Dec   Substantial thaw. Conditions improving
29th Dec   Less than 50% ground covered by snow

December 2010 was the coldest December in Durham for more than a century (Dec 1895). The river completely froze over, a very rare occurence, seen only in the very coldest of conditions.

My weather summary for Ferryhill shows the extent of the cold conditions

Met Office : Snow and low temperatures, December 2010

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