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Weather-history

Winter 1954-55: A very mild December but a cold Jan/Feb

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December 1954 was a very mild month and was a fairly zonal month, cold spells were very short lived, maxima were often in double figures

Rrea00119541217.gif

January 1955 was a generally cold month with severe frosts and some heavy snowfalls, any mild spells were fairly short lived.

The month began with high pressure across Scandinavia and an increasingly cold easterly flow across the UK. The first serious snowfall came on the 3rd and 4th as a depression moved into the English Channel bringing heavy snow to many parts of England and Wales, about 10 to 20cm fell in a number of places and there was drifting in the easterly wind.

Rrea00119550104.gif

There was a short mild interlude in the south before the next heavy snowfall came on the 14th, when another low moved into the English Channel and engaged the colder air moving down from the north bringing heavy snowfalls again to the south, 10-30cm fell in a number of places.

Rrea00119550114.gif

On the 16th, yet another depression moved across the Midlands, this time producing a heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions to northern England and parts of Scotland. Conditions were particularly bad in the northwest of England, where there was severe drifting of the snow and in northern Scotland where depths of snow was approaching 60cm and drifts nearing 9m. With many roads and rail links blocked in the north of Scotland and the Northern Isles, supplies had to be air-dropped in an operation codenamed "Snowdrop".

The weather became milder duirng the latter stages of January and this continued into the first part of February.

Rrea00119550203.gif

The second half of February 1955 was very cold and wintry. There were heavy snowfalls across northern England and East Anglia on the 19th from a frontal system associated with a low pressure to the south of the UK. The snow drifted in the easterly flow and depths of level snow approached 30cm causing the usual transport chaos.

Rrea00119550219.gif

As the low moved away to the east, it was replaced by a new low near the Brest Peninsula which produced an even stronger easterly flow across England and Wales. Conditions were severe in Cornwall and Devon, which was worst hit by blizzards and drifting snow. Many roads were blocked in this region. Further north, Scotland was under slack pressure gradients and with the deep snow cover this allowed the mercury to drop to as low as -25C at night as it did at Braemar on the 23rd

Data for winter 1954-55

December: 6.8 (+2.3)

January: 2.6 (-1.3)

February: 1.2 (-3.0)

Second half of February: -1.3

Coldest spells

12th-20th January: -0.9

12th-28th February: -1.1

Mildest CET maximum: 14.2 2nd December

Coldest CET maximum: -0.3 13th January

Coldest CET minimum: -7.5 20th February

Photos

http://images.scotsman.com/2005/12/06/0612win5.jpg

http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/0_street/0_str...vening_news.jpg

The preceding winter (winter 1953-54) also started with a very mild December but both January and February were cold.

December: 6.9 (+2.4)

January: 2.9 (-1.0)

February: 2.6 (-1.6)

There was a very cold spell from the 26th January-7th February: -2.5 with snowfalls. There was a cold snowy start to March 1954.

-20.0C at Welshpool on the 2nd February 1954 is the coldest minimum ever recorded for that date.

Found a photo for 4th February 1954: River Adur in West Sussex

http://www.findonvillage.com/p8596_ice_0857.jpg

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That's uncanny, I was just about to post a request for examples of mild Decembers followed by wintry Jan-Febs, and lo and behold ! Thanks Mr D. I bet if there had been such things as forums around then they would have sounded very similar in late Nov./early Dec. to how this one is at present !

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many tks again Mr D, love the photos too, great to see trams, my eyesight but which town is it? Also love the 3 wheel snow plough.

John

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many tks again Mr D, love the photos too, great to see trams, my eyesight but which town is it? Also love the 3 wheel snow plough.

John

Edinburgh, John :doh:

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cheers, got any for Sheffield or that area, say Peak District/Derbyshire?

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Another very good summary. The winter of 1954/55 does indeed look pretty impressive with cold blasts from NW, N, NE and E, suggesting that almost the entire country was probably affected at some stage.

I read somewhere about a temporary snow event in places on 8 December 1954:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119541208.gif

although it is certainly true that on the whole it was a very mild month.

Curiously, winter 1955/56 also featured a relatively mild December but then got colder. That said, there were two cold spells in northern areas during December 1955, with severe snowstorms on the northern flanks of depressions. January 1956 had a rather cold end, then February 1956 was particularly cold, with a few intensely cold easterly blasts that brought snow mainly to the South East and some eastern coastal areas:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119560202.gif

then after midmonth there were some widespread snowfalls from easterly and north-easterly winds, and a week of sub-zero maxima in many parts:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119560221.gif

Winter 1956/57 then broke this pattern.

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re this from Kevin

north of Scotland and the Northern Isles, supplies had to be air-dropped in an operation codenamed "Snowdrop".

I remember listening to the, Radio News 6pm on several days agog at the reports.

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That darkness and see it coming in must have been some sight!

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It is notable that the easterly of early January 1955 was not especially cold for such a synoptic setup, more similar in temps to the relatively mild easterly of February 2005, daytime temps were above freezing for many areas during the first week. February 1955 was a very cold month but the cold didn't kick in until the 10th / 11th.

January and February 1955 CET Trackometers:

Jan 1955 (2.6)

01. 2.5

02. 2.6

03. 2.4

04. 2.0

05. 1.8

06. 1.8

07. 1.8

08. 1.8

09. 2.0

10. 2.3

11. 2.2

12. 1.9

13. 1.6

14. 1.4

15. 1.2

16. 1.3

17. 1.1

18. 1.0

19. 0.9

20. 0.8

21. 0.9

22. 1.1

23. 1.2

24. 1.3

25. 1.5

26. 1.6

27. 1.8

28. 2.0

29. 2.2

30. 2.4

31. 2.6 (2.61)

Feb 1955 (1.2)

01. 7.4

02. 6.5

03. 6.1

04. 5.8

05. 5.4

06. 5.1

07. 5.2

08. 5.4

09. 5.4

10. 5.1

11. 4.7

12. 4.3

13. 3.9

14. 3.7

15. 3.5

16. 3.4

17. 3.1

18. 2.8

19. 2.6

20. 2.3

21. 2.1

22. 1.9

23. 1.7

24. 1.6

25. 1.6

26. 1.5

27. 1.3

28. 1.2 (1.19)

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It is notable that the easterly of early January 1955 was not especially cold for such a synoptic setup, more similar in temps to the relatively mild easterly of February 2005, daytime temps were above freezing for many areas during the first week.

It appears to me as if there was a brief window of cold air on the 4th/5th coinciding with heavy precipitation, which resulted in the heavy snowfalls, and the CET drop on the 4th and 5th. Then by the time the less cold air arrived, there will already have been deep snow cover in many areas, where deep, consolidated snow cover is more resistant to thawing than the dustings many areas repeatedly got in February 2005. I don't think late February 2005 had any pronounced cold pools, rather featuring similar marginal temperatures throughout the spell (the marginality of February 2005 was well illustrated by the fact that in much of inland NE England, there was a week or so of deep snow, while the coast, in common with most of the rest of lowland England, had just a few dustings).

1954/55 strikes me as a winter that, up until around 17 February, was notable more for severe snow than for severe cold (I say 'up until 17 February' because the remainder of February was indeed notable for severe cold as well as snow). Classic synoptics, with a high meandering around Greenland/Iceland and successive cold blasts from the N and, later on, E.

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Thanks Mr D. I wish the Premier League would bring-back the orange ball...

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There was a mild spell of about 3 weeks from late January to early February.

22nd Jan-9th Feb CET: 5.8C

Maxima got into double figures in the south.

Some other info.

The 4th January 1955 snowfall was the heaviest in London since 1947 and the first recorded sunshine of the the year for the London area wan't until the 9th. Cornwall and Devon suffered large drifts blocking roads.

There was a very wet spell just before the second cold spell struck around mid-January. Some places recorded over 2 inches of rain.

A foot of snow fell over parts of Somerset early on the 14th of Jan with a general cover of around 4 to 8 inches in the south. 3.5 inches fell in just under an hour at Southport.

Glenrossal, Sutherland reported at least a foot of snow lying for 10 days from the 14th of Jan with peak depth of 20 inches on the 18th.

After the 7th February, the colder air spread southwards, with further snowfalls.

23.5" of snow at Glenmore

18" at Glenrossal

12" at Buxton

Even Blackpool reported 5ft drifts.

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