The Time Traveller : January 25th 1947

The harsh realities of the brutal winter of 1946-47 are chronicled here in a writeup of The Time Traveller clipped from the Northern Echo some time in the 1980s The churches worry about war-devastated Germany, but most people say that Britain has enough to do in feeding herself. Rationing is worse than in the war – dwindling allowances of basic foods, “points” for others, coupons for clothes and since last July even bread, which has not been rationed before. We are exhorted to export more, or expect still lower living standards and industry is short of coal. Mr. Atlee’s Labour …

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February 1991 – A very snowy episode!

I was rooting about in the loft the other day and came across an old logbook of mine from when I lived in Ferryhill. It covered the period of late 1990 and early 1991. Immediately I took interest because there was a memorable period of heavy snowfall in February 1991. What is striking was that snow was 15” deep on 9th and 10th. I know I took some photos at the time, but can’t find them now unfortunately. Here’s the page from the log. As you can see, there was an air frost every night for the first 19 days. …

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Freezing Decembers – They really are very rare in the UK

picture of the Frozen River Wear December 2010

When December 2010 came along, it was a complete shock to the system. There had been no below freezing December (average below 0.0 degC) since 1890. That’s 120 years. These are temperatures from the CET series (Central England Temperature). Records in the CET go back as far as 1659. So, let’s look at those sub-zero December years. The first is December 1676 (mean temp -0.5 degC). Back then, the temperatures were only recorded to the nearest half degree and there aren’t any daily temperatures available to me, so I can’t really embellish that too much other than say, imagine a …

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Winter Chills : The Great Winters of 1947 and 1963 in the UK

This is archived content that used to be on the Met Office website, but isn’t anymore so I decided to resurrect it for posterity, adding my own comments and adaptions. It’s a page to refer to when people talk about the harsh winters of 1946-47 and 1962-63, the two UK winters that are used as benchmarks for how bad winter can get. Rarely in the UK – or anywhere, for that matter – is a train completely buried in snow. But that’s exactly what happened on Dartmoor in March 1891 and in northern Scotland in January 1978. The winters that …

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River Wear burst it’s banks : this time it’s 1950

Discovered this one today, via Facebook (credit Julian Harrop and the Beamish Archive). It shows a guy cycling through floodwater in 1950 (unknown exact date). The riverside was a bit different then. The bus shelters can be seen to the right of the photograph (Gypsy Queen, Diamond and Hammel bus stops). Some of the worst floods ever in Durham were in 1793 and 1903. Here’s some data for the 1903 episode. 8th October 1903 Extensive flooding on Tyne, Wear and Tees and also on some smaller tributaries with much urban flooding especially in Sunderland (Details from Echo not provided since …

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Long Standing CET Records – Living on Borrowed Time?

This is a post I made to the NetWeather forum in November 2014 about some of the longstanding records in the Central England Temperature Series (CET). This series goes back to 1659 and is a record of temperature in the Midlands of England. The stations it is computed from are very rural, so Urban Heat Island effects should not be present in the data. It is very homogenous and regarded as a very significant record when analysing today’s warming. ”There is continued pressure on ‘highest’ CET records, due to warming since the industrial revolution. Despite that, there are some ‘highest’ …

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Top 30 Weather Events and their effects in Durham UK

While I was researching weather ‘top tens’, I discovered Jonathan Webb of TORRO’s top 30. He’s given his top fifteen widespread events and his top fifteen convective (more local thunderstorms events). I’ll try to contextualise the widespread events as to how they affected the North East. I’ve also colour coded them (Green = Yes, Red = No) Widespread Events (as defined by Jonathan) 1 Severe cold and floods of January-March 1947 Probably the most notorious winter in the North East of England. This winter still has eye-witness accounts and is still within ‘living memory’. Coming just after the conclusion of …

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‘The Great Darkness’ of July 2nd 1968

  The article was produced following a bizarre weather event in July 1968. The month  was a very active one for thunderstorms and featured one of the greatest falls of Saharan dust in the UK in recent times. From Trevor Harley’s Weather website: July 1968 Generally dull, cool, and wet, especially in the south, but with two exceptional thundery outbreaks. The first ten days were very active. A slow-moving cold front ended June’s hot spell on the 1st, which saw temperatures of 33C in London, with severe and prolonged thunderstorms in the north and west, with darkness at noon, from …

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Skating on the River Wear in February 1895

This photo was taken (we think) in February 1895. It shows people sweeping the ice on the river, perhaps preparing it for skating or maybe a curling competition. The location is just below Prebends Bridge. February 1895 was one of the coldest Februaries ever recorded in Durham. Trevor Harley Summary of Feb 1895 ”Part of a severe winter, and the coldest February on record before 1947 this century (-1.8C CET). The weather turned cold in late December 1894; January was cold but the weather of February 1895 was historic. Braemar logged at least -20C on 9 days. The record February …

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A summary of Winter 1946-47

January 1947. Cold (2.2C CET), but not excessively so overall. The month is most memorable for the start of a severe, prolonged, and exceptionally snowy cold spell. Although there had been some significant snowfalls in December, and again on the 4-5th, the harsh winter did not really get going until the third week, after quite a mild interlude (hence the average). After some early cold snaps, there was a very pleasant, mild interlude. The first five days were mild and wet, with a heavy snow fall early on the 6th and snow lying on the ground until the 9th. It …

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