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The severe winter of the Great War


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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    On this Armistice Day we look back at the severe winter of 1916-17 which had a CET of 1.5

    December 1916 was a notably cold month. The first cold wintry spell came around the 10th, when a low pressure

    became slow moving around the south of the UK, this brought wintry showers to many places.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19161211.gif

    This spell more or less continued until about the 17th with air becoming colder and snow showers falling often

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19161214.gif

    The weather became somewhat milder around the 20th but it wasn't until the 28th that it

    became very mild

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19161228.gif

    This mild spell continued into the early part of January

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170103.gif

    The weather became colder around the 9th as a NEly developed across the UK

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170109.gif

    The 14th was a particularly cold day with a biting nEly and snow showers

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170114.gif

    High pressure started to build over Scandinavia and a cold continental flow developed across the UK

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170119.gif

    The last third of January was cold with a cold easterly south/easterly flow with maxima near or below freezing

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170127.gif

    The flow became an Arctic northerly at the start of February and this heralded the coldest spell

    of the winter as an anticyclone developed over the UK and with the clear skies at night and a snow cover

    minima drop below -10C in a number of places

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170207.gif

    The Atlantic started to make in roads on the stagnant cold high after mid month and the high slipped further and further

    into Europe and this allowed milder Atlantic air to push in over the UK

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170226.gif

    As we moved into the spring of 1917, the cold air was still close by and a tight pressure gradient over the Uk

    developed during early March between a strong low in the mid Atlantic and a strong high pressure over Russia

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170305.gif

    The 8th of March was a particularly cold day and there was heavy snowfalls during this period

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170308.gif

    The weather alternated between cold and mild spells after mid month for the rest of the month

    On the 1st of April, low pressure was over southern Norway and this directed a northerly flow over the UK which

    was intensely cold and a number of places in the north had subzero maxima.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170401.gif

    Snowfalls fell in many places especially in Ulster which was exposed to the flow, depths of snow over the Mourne Mountains were approaching 1m.

    The low pressure over Norway moved over the UK and the snowfalls continued although the intensity of the cold was losing its

    grip during the day, the intensity of the cold at night was increasing with the snowcover, clear skies and slack gradients.

    Minima were breeching the -10C mark regularly and at Newton Rigg in Cumbria, -15C was recorded on the 2nd.

    April 1917 was cold with a CET of 5.4. The first two thirds of the month was plagued by cyclonic conditions and with winds with a northerly component.

    High pressure dominated the last third of the month.

    Data for winter 1916-17

    December 1916: 1.9 (-2.1)

    January 1917: 1.6 (-1.9)

    February 1917: 0.9 (-3.0)

    -----------------------------

    March 1917: 3.2 (-1.9)

    April 1917: 5.4 (-2.3)

    1st-28th December: 1.1

    2nd half of January: -0.5

    1st half of February: -2.2

    Coldest spells of winter

    13th-19th December -0.7

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19161217.gif

    14th January- 16th February: -1.1

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170202.gif

    Mildest CET maximum day: 13.0 29th December

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19161229.gif

    Coldest CET maximum day: -2.6 7th February

    Coldest CET minimum night: -11.7 7th February

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/slp/1...slp19170207.gif

    1st-10th March: 1.3

    1st-10th April: 2.1

    The period 1st December-15th April: 2.0C

    Photos

    February 1917

    http://www.highley.org.uk/image/ghfig1.jpg

    Life in the trenches on the western front was grim. Although the mud had frozen, the cold was intense.

    http://www.learningcurve.gov.uk/greatwar/g...es/g3cs4s7d.jpg

    Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us...

    Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent...

    Low drooping flares confuse our memory of the salient...

    Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,

    But nothing happens.

    Watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire.

    Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles.

    Northward incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles,

    Far off, like a dull rumour of some other war.

    What are we doing here?

    The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow...

    We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy.

    Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army

    Attacks once more in ranks on shivering ranks of gray,

    But nothing happens.

    Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence.

    Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow,

    With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause and renew,

    We watch them wandering up and down the wind's nonchalance,

    But nothing happens.

    II

    Pale flakes with lingering stealth come feeling for our faces -

    We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow-dazed,

    Deep into grassier ditches. So we drowse, sun-dozed,

    Littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses.

    Is it that we are dying?

    Slowly our ghosts drag home: glimpsing the sunk fires glozed

    With crusted dark-red jewels; crickets jingle there;

    For hours the innocent mice rejoice: the house is theirs;

    Shutters and doors all closed: on us the doors are closed -

    We turn back to our dying.

    Since we believe not otherwise can kind fires burn;

    Now ever suns smile true on child, or field, or fruit.

    For God's invincible spring our love is made afraid;

    Therefore, not loath, we lie out here; therefore were born,

    For love of God seems dying.

    To-night, His frost will fasten on this mud and us,

    Shrivelling many hands and puckering foreheads crisp.

    The burying-party, picks and shovels in their shaking grasp,

    Pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice,

    But nothing happens.

    Wilfred Owen

    Remember them this weekend

    poppy%207_gif.jpg

    Edited by Mr_Data
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    • 3 years later...
    Posted
  • Location: Liphook
  • Location: Liphook

    Yep this winter is probably one of the most overlooked, it didn't have any exceptional months BUT that was only because the most severe cold spell feel right in the middle of the month...if the cold spell had fallen in a month rather then slap bang in the middle of two then it'd have been one of the coldest months of the 20th C.

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    • 1 month later...
    Posted
  • Location: Liphook
  • Location: Liphook

    Very interesting stuff, whats also quite interesting is the fact that like this winter the 16-17 winter had a strong El Nino event (though given the data present its hard to know exactly how strong the El Nino really was) just like this one and therefore the 16-17 winter is probably not a bad match to this one in hindsight!

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    Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)

    Very interesting stuff, whats also quite interesting is the fact that like this winter the 16-17 winter had a strong El Nino event (though given the data present its hard to know exactly how strong the El Nino really was) just like this one and therefore the 16-17 winter is probably not a bad match to this one in hindsight!

    except it was colder and snowier :(

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    • 8 months later...
    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    Very interesting stuff, whats also quite interesting is the fact that like this winter the 16-17 winter had a strong El Nino event (though given the data present its hard to know exactly how strong the El Nino really was) just like this one and therefore the 16-17 winter is probably not a bad match to this one in hindsight!

    It was the other way round, it was a very strong La Nina.

    Edited by Mr_Data
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    • 10 years later...
    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    There are a few gaps and obviously the focus was on the war itself but here are clipping from December 1916

    December 1916

    2nd pYlnrFF.jpg   4th  y9D328y.jpg   5th  A7xtYAN.jpg   6th 35XAXi7.jpg   7th kKfYOK9.jpg   12th umZLqK6.jpg

     

    13th 2hc5QKw.jpg  14th  zxt0Ke3.jpg  15th t2bjPur.jpg  16th uU1feDT.jpg   18th  zArwNzQ.jpgy5Yp4gy.jpg    

     

    19th LdTbMih.jpg    20th Q5ScVsj.jpg   21st  u2EWvv6.jpg   22nd  s463oRY.jpg  23rd yLxO1Rv.jpg  

     

    26th  jG4K8LC.jpg     27th  ZLDFoir.jpg    28th ILtDc6U.jpg    29th 6EBgqwv.jpg

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheshire
  • Location: Cheshire

    The period from 1915 to 1920 must have been miserable and not just from the point of view of the Great  War and Spanish Flu..... , and Brazell shows 5 consecutive years of below-average temperatures in London, with 1919 (-2.1F below mean) actually worse overall than 1917 (-2.0).

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    Posted
  • Location: halifax 125m
  • Weather Preferences: extremes the unusual and interesting facts
  • Location: halifax 125m

    Yes indeed a severe winter but it was also the winter with the most Air frosts in the extended winter  out of every winter since 1900 certainly here in the Pennines.Some local Met office data lists

    1916/1917     93 Air frosts

    1978/1979    86

    1962/1963    84

    1946/1947    77

    2012/2013    70

    2009/2010   57

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    January 1917

    3rd xLXwPnU.jpg  4th XFvv0AL.jpg 5th rbmzxlv.jpg 6th 9lxoGNI.jpg 8th ToFh9Aa.jpg

    9th XdsSjIK.jpgpTy8fYJ.jpgQJUzdaE.jpg   10th nXcAMZx.jpg  12th 3NdbPYH.jpg 13th yc11YuP.jpg

     

    15th NvfytUQ.jpg 16th 560wpMH.jpg0YxDaEy.jpg  17th 0JGxhA4.jpg 18th uE1iZ8O.jpg

     

    19th Hl3WkZs.jpg 20th hc1MBNc.jpg   22nd n2c4LVR.jpg 23rd xh60NA6.jpg 24th vvHgSvG.jpg

     

    25th txvXuNO.jpg   26th  iMJVBeM.jpg   27th TRvTv8k.jpg  29th 1hLMiMt.jpgtfFQbNn.jpghLizaA5.jpg

     

    30th  4bMLw89.jpgUl2vx0Y.jpg  xTe3LaO.jpg       O3kZYOn.jpghcvAfSW.jpg    31st 6Ufzv3D.jpg

     

     

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    February 1917

    1st ScFEFS2.jpg   2nd ScFEFS2.jpg    3rd V2KdInb.jpg  4th QBAefai.jpg    5th QaMxQdE.jpg

    6th sWbUz6L.jpgJTxbH5x.jpg   7th DfFbp77.jpgskBZmND.jpgHu94YFT.jpgI731oX6.jpg

     

    8th CXx0t53.jpg    2jZ6OJK.jpg    9th XlLdD18.jpgeqVYb9X.jpg  10th i8ysddi.jpg

     

    11th jwZDjNy.jpgWfChFAy.jpgvTu7Ofg.jpg   12th HEKl3YG.jpg 13th tsiI6oX.jpg  14th z0Dl0G4.jpg    15th yqHHFU4.jpg

     

    16th LszAqMd.jpg 17th 6pzOy2F.jpg 19th Qp9SImT.jpg  20th 21R5UMh.jpg   21st  l1EZB4g.jpg

     

    22nd GDz4j21.jpg  23rd iChwnFk.jpg  24th exILsnA.jpg 26th CjrD6ap.jpg 27th 4pzprjT.jpg 

    28th mTvXwI3.jpg

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