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The Ghost Of Winter Past


WhiteFox

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Posted
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago

    Much has been made of the even larger teapot debate and whether this year will buck the trend. It's certainly been interesting, but some people will never be satisfied!

    In the spirit of adventure I thought I'd compare every January 6th for this century with projections for this Friday.

    Starting with January 6th 2000:

    post-1957-1136216638.jpg

    A very mild January 6th for 2000. This followed on from an average December which brought a stormy Christmas Day. The corresponding 850hPa chart shows the +5 isotherm lapping the East coast with all but North-West Scotland and Ireland under positive 850hPa air.

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    Posted
  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL
  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL

    Hi WF - nice comparative topic; but more at home in the historic weather section <_<

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    Posted
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
    Hi WF - nice comparative topic; but more at home in the historic weather section <_<

    Posted far too early anyway; Completely the wrong button...

    More to do yet!

    January 6th 2001:

    post-1957-1136217144.jpg

    A very unsettled start to 2001 with a succession of Low Pressures battering the UK. This followed on from a very cold end to December 2000 with widespread snowfall between Christmas and the New Year. Luckily, it doesn't look like this pattern will be repeated this year!

    The corresponding 850hPa chart shows -2 to -4 air over much of the country. Incidentally, an extremely brief Easterly followed on January 11th, after which a high pressure stationed itself over Central Europe and sat there teasing us with SE winds and no real cold. Our good friend the PFJ prevented any ridging to Greenland and stopped and really cold air reaching us. Sound familiar? Let's hope this does not happen this January:

    post-1957-1136218053.jpg

    Fast forward a year to January 6th 2002 and we have an all too familiar picture for the even larger teapot:

    post-1957-1136218317.jpg

    High pressure sitting over the near continent, low pressures steaming through the gap between Iceland and Greenland, and not a touch of frost in sight!

    This followed on once again from a very cold end to December. January 2002 was very mild overall recording a final CET of 5.5. Incidentally, the rest of winter was no better: February was exceptionally mild at times and recorded a CET of 7.0, a full 2.8oC above average. A classic example of how a persistent Bartlett can completely wreck any chances for a cold winter. I've just counted 42 days of mild South to South Westerly winds from the chart shown to the end of February 2002! Out of 53 days that's a pretty zonal flow... The only exceptions are very brief North-Westerlies and one very short Easterly.

    2003. What a difference a year makes! I don't really remember this one myself, but it seems we had a slack Easterly flow on this date in 2003:

    post-1957-1136219119_thumb.png

    -6 to -8 air is shown over much of the country, and the follwing day the -10 isotherm makes a brief foray into East anglia and Kent. A cold pool over Europe desperately tries to reach us, but eventually the High pressure collapses back into.... you guessed it, a Bartlett! After this we settle into a familiar run of South Westerlies with regular Low Pressures passing by. The difference this year is the occasional system making it into Scandinavia and brining a Northerly toppler; something which was not achieved at all in 2002! I also think the infamous M11 "whiteout" occurred around about this time.

    February brought about a couple of attempts at Easterlies, but the cold air typically passed to the south of us...

    January 6th 2004 brings us another quasi-Bartlett. Not quite a classical Bartlett, beacuse the SLP chart shows an area of high pressure over Western Russia:

    post-1957-1136219767_thumb.jpg

    A fairly strong Siberian High is shown lurking over WEstern Russia throughout January, but as so often seems to be the case in recent years, the Atlantic is just too active for it to progress Westwards. Late January 2004 also brings the infamous "thundersnow" event, which seems to have impressed everyone except those in Abingdon and Nottingham (where I was in hospital at the time!). Shortly after this, the situation collapses into a classic Bartlett:

    post-1957-1136220295.gif

    At this point I'm sure many people would write off the rest of winter, but for the first time in a few years the Bartlett High migrates Northwards over the UK and eventually travels far enough North to allow a brief Easterly into the far south. After this, it sets up in the Mid Atlantic, allowing Northerly topplers for a while, including one lasting a few days towards the end of the month. This is the first time I can remember any sort of mid-atlantic block becoming established during winter months for some time.

    Finally, January 6th 2005. More repeats:

    post-1957-1136220770_thumb.jpg

    Not much needs to be said about last January other than very Zonal and remember overnight minima in the region of 13oC?

    Of course, the following February was interesting...

    All in all, not much to get depressed about so far this year. Past winters have seen cold periods between Christmas and New Year followed by very bland zonality and Bartlett Highs for weeks. If we get another Easterly this week, then it certainly looks like a wholly different setup to the even larger teapot.

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    Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

    fascinating stuff. How about the previous century?!! That did have some memorable weather at times.

    regards

    John

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    Posted
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
    fascinating stuff. How about the previous century?!! That did have some memorable weather at times.

    regards

    John

    I'll defeinitely take a look. It's interesting going back through the old charts. May need some help once I go back past the early eighties though!

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    6th of January 1994 is an interesting one as the forecasters were caught out by a heavy snowfall to the north and west of London that evening.

    I think 15cm fell around parts of Hertfordshire. Got the Times clipping of it, it was on their front page the next morning.

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    Posted
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
    6th of January 1994 is an interesting one as the forecasters were caught out by a heavy snowfall to the north and west of London that evening.

    I think 15cm fell around parts of Hertfordshire. Got the Times clipping of it, it was on their front page the next morning.

    I was trying to work out the date of a surprise snowfall, I think in December 1999. I'd been in Nottingham, ironically bemoaning the lack of snowfall in the South to my friend, and was driving back to Reading on a Saturday night. As I approached Daventry it started snowing lightly. By the time I reached Banbury and the M40 it was snowing moderately. At the time I think a front had stalled over the south and turned to snow giving about an inch or two. I don't think it had been forecast.

    Looking at the charts it may have been around this time:

    post-1957-1136226272_thumb.jpg

    Do you have any records of this one Mr Data?

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    There was snow in Bracknell, Berkshire around 18/19 December 1999 from a trailing frontal system, so you may well have hit upon the correct time.

    As for the 6th January- try 1982.

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    Posted
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
  • Location: Reading/New York/Chicago
    As for the 6th January- try 1982.

    A truly memorable winter all round!

    The last widespread White Christmas in 1981, certainly in terms of lying snow.

    The noticeable thing about the start of January 1981 is the proximity of the cold and mild air masses.

    Looking at the 850hPa for January 1st 1982 the block is beginning to establish with large amounts of cold pooling to the north and North East:

    post-1957-1136229407.jpg post-1957-1136229429_thumb.jpg

    By the 3rd January, the chart may look a bit concerning to inexperienced watchers with what could be called Bartlett High to the south and mild South Westerly winds pushing in from the Atlantic. Of course, the Artic High is just beginning to assert it's influence and height is alreay up to 1050MB over Greenland:

    post-1957-1136229695_thumb.jpg

    Once again the boundary between the mild and very cold air is stark:

    post-1957-1136229744_thumb.jpg

    And by the time we reach January 6th 1982, the cold air has easily won the battle with milder air:

    post-1957-1136230084.jpg

    For me the 850hPA temperature chart for the 7th illustrates just what a huge difference three hundred miles can make. Take a look at the 0oC Isotherm over Northern Italy and how close it is to the -15 isotherm:

    post-1957-1136230258.jpg

    In terms of weather, I know the statistics have been covered many times on this site, but they never fail to impress:

    30-50cms of snow fell across Wales and the Midlands on the 8th and 9th as mild air battled the cold air. Perhaps the best example of the much fabled cold v mild battle?

    Braemar recorded a temperature of -27.2, an equal record on the morning of the 10th. The maximum was -19.1oC a record low maximum. Brrr!

    The maximum for Benson was -10 on the 13th January (my birthday!).

    Personally I remember that January for the depth of snow. I cannot remember deeper snow than we had that year. I know other members have posted a few shots of snowdrifts from that January. I wonder if we'll ever see the like again, seeing as even in the fabled harsh winters of the late seventies/early eighties it was exceptional?

    Another memory is of icicles forming on eaves. They were so big we had sword fights against each other using them! I also remember freezing some of them and getting them out in the summer.

    It is also the only time I have seen -15oC forecast over Southern England. I don't think I've even noticed -15 forecast anywhere in Britain since then!

    A particular feature of this spell was the keenness of models of the day to end the cold spell. Milder air was forecast to take over a couple of times; in fact the blizzard of the 8th/9th was supposed to spell the return to milder air!

    Definitely an exceptional month, the severity of which is not truly reflected in the final CET of 2.6oC. In fact, January 1997 recorded a CET of 2.5 and I cannot remember anything about that January!

    Ironically, by the 6th February, a Bartlett had become established over Europe, which just goes to show that it isn't a modern phenomenon!

    post-1957-1136231177.jpg

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