Brief history of UK’s worst winters by ICEGRIPPER
Winter weather forecasters have their “grim” faces on as they predict plummeting temperatures, high winds, snow and ice. Well, this is what the long-range forecast is right now for the forthcoming winter 2013/2014
It’s thought that this winter could bring “record-breaking snowfall” and that heavy wintry showers will continue until at least February.
But why? And how can the forecasters tell what is coming so far ahead? Apparently it has something to do with the position of the fast-flowing band called the jet stream. This is currently close to Britain and this causes the high pressure conditions that lead to extreme weather.
Jonathan Powell, a forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, is reported as saying: “We’re looking at persistent cold snaps with some very heavy snowfall likely. I would not be surprised if some records are not broken this year”. He continued; “The main issue will be the extreme cold which is showing signs of really bedding in, thanks to freezing winds from the north.”
James Madden, a forecaster for Exacta Weather, is also quoted as saying that this winter’s weather is “likely to be the worst for more than 100 years”.
Brief history of UK’s worst winters
Is “the worst weather for 100 years” likely to happen? ICEGRIPPER takes a look back at some of the worst winters in the last 400 years. Here are the years when winter hit worst:
1683-84: Mid December saw the “great frost” start in the UK and Central Europe. The Thames was frozen all the way to London Bridge by early January 1684.
1694-95: There was deep snow and a lot of snow across the UK, even affecting London. The UK’s capital had five weeks of snow and the Thames froze again.
1708-09: It’s recorded that a frost last for more than three months and temperatures plummeted to -18c. The River Thames froze in London froze again.
1739-40: Another severe winter recorded.
1783-86: Two winters in a row this time were very severe. Some of the bad weather was attributed to an Icelandic volcanic eruption, although details on this are not conclusive.
1794-95: The cold started on Christmas Eve, according to records, and lasted until late March. This winter saw the coldest January ever recorded in the instrumental era (which began in 1659).
1812: In March, a foot of snow fell in Edinburgh.
1816: This is talked about as the “year without summer”. Snow fell late in the winter and it seems that summer never really arrived.
1834-38: A very snowy winter in Scotland with eight or nine feet reported in some areas.
1837-38: This winter is known as Murphy’s winter. Patrick Murphy won fame and fortune from the sale of an almanac in which he predicted the severe frost of January 1838.
1875-76: Lots of snow, especially in the south of England, from November through to May.
1880-81: The snow came early. October in London
1932-33: Again the snow came October in Scotland. Then in February there was a “Great Blizzard” in Ireland, Wales and much of England.
1937-42: Lots of snow fell in the winters of these years with 16ft snow drifts recorded.
1950-51: This is thought to be one of the snowiest years for a century. For 102 days, snow lay on the ground at Dalwhinnie in Scotland (1000ft). Even the southern coast of England was hit with 10 inches of snow in Bournemouth.
1962-63: A famously cold winter.
1977-78: In January the snow came down hard with six foot snow drifts recorded. The another four inches of snow fell in England. In late January, Scotland became worse hit with 28 inches falling in some areas.
1978-79: The north of England and southern Scotland had heavy snow of six to seven inches in late December. Then in mid-February snow drifts of up to seven feet were recorded on England’s east coast. And in mid-March, NE England saw drifts reaching 15 feet. Crazy stuff!
1981-82: It was the SW and southern England that saw seven inches of snow in places in mid-December. The winter was also very cold generally.
1984-85: Another very cold and snowy winter, especially in the south of England. In late January, the snow came to Scotland – and then again in March.
2009/10: This century, it has been the last few years that have seen remarkable snow and cold. Temperatures were an average of just 5C in December, making it the coldest December in more than 100 years. There was also a lot of snow!
(Thanks to www.netweather.tv for the info.)
Like the snow or not
The chances are that the weather forecasters will have got it right – at least in parts of the UK – for this winter. Some people, such as ice climbers, avid winter walkers and kids, will be looking forward to the snow and ice. But many others will not.
The best plan is to be prepared. Make sure you have warm clothes at the ready and know what to do to stay safe in an emergency if out driving. In addition, equip your footwear to cope with the snow and ice.
Keep a firm grip in the snow and ice with ICEGRIPPER’s extensive range of grips for your footwear. You can take advantage of an early bird order price of £30, down from £39.95, on the best selling ICEtrekkers Diamond Grips
Do you remember any of the dates mentioned, since the thirties? We’d like to hear your stories – share them with us by posting on our Facebook, Twitter or G+ pages