The Coldest Winters – Putting Recent Winters in Perspective

The coldest since …..

I’ve seen several reports saying last winter was ‘the coldest since 1962-63’. Whilst it had one particularly cold month (December 2010), last winter was not particularly cold overall (December to February). It’s average was 3.1 degC. This was because, although December was so cold, January 2011 was average and February 2011 was very mild.

Here’s a list of the coldest winters, with the average for the 1st December to February 28th period

1962-63.    -0.3 degC
1813-14.     0.4 degC
1794-95.     0.5 degC
1878-79.     0.7 degC
1829-30.     1.1 degC
1946-47.     1.1 degC
1783-84.     1.2 degC
1894-95.     1.2 degC

So, some really long lasting winters there, with 1962-63 still standing head and shoulders above the rest. Last winter, although it had some very cold temperatures in late November and December 2010, it wasn’t a patch on some of the beasts listed above.

Recent winters here :-

2006-07.     6.4 degC
2007-08.     5.6 degC
2008-09.     3.5 degC
2009-10.     2.4 degC

So, a downward trend, but still some way to go to rival the legendary winter of 1962-63!

What is true is that we can never discount a very cold month, even during this spell of warming. If the conditions are perfect for cold weather then that is what we’ll get. We’re still a long way from being a snow-free country, and it will always come along at the most inconvenient time.

* note these are Central England Temperature values. Conditions in other areas may have been much harsher than this.

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