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Cold, frosty Christmas of 1961


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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

December 1961 was a cold month overall but there was a short very mild spell just before mid-month where maxima got into double digits, as high as 14C in places

Rrea00119611212.gif

The weather turned much colder as the high retrogressed towards Greenland after mid-month

Rrea00119611219.gif

This heralded a very cold and frosty Christmas period with very sharp frosts but little in the way of snow

Rrea00119611223.gif

Christmas Day 1961 was a cold day with a biting easterly wind in the south

Rrea00119611225.gif

The Azores low would approach the SE of the UK in the run up to the New Year introducing heavy snowfalls and later a northerly flow to all parts of the UK. Depths of snow would reach 30-40cm in some parts, giving a white New Year to many places. Nights were very cold with record breaking minima

31st December: -18.5

1st January: -17.2

2nd January: -21.1

Rrea00119620101.gif

Edited by Mr_Data
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  • 16 years later...
Posted
  • Location: Islington, C. London.
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snowy winters and mixed summers.
  • Location: Islington, C. London.

The cold December of 1961 put a dent in what was a notably warm year, particularly for the time and especially contrasted to the many years that would follow. February through April was extraordinarily warm, then it cooled off over the summer before the warmth returned in September and somewhat less so October. We wouldn't see a warmer year until 1976. Both those years would be colder than average against the 1991-2020 average though!

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Posted
  • Location: Hampshire
  • Weather Preferences: Warm-by-day sunny thundery summers , short cold snowy winters.
  • Location: Hampshire
4 hours ago, LetItSnow! said:

The cold December of 1961 put a dent in what was a notably warm year, particularly for the time and especially contrasted to the many years that would follow. February through April was extraordinarily warm, then it cooled off over the summer before the warmth returned in September and somewhat less so October. We wouldn't see a warmer year until 1976. Both those years would be colder than average against the 1991-2020 average though!

Even 1976 - that is remarkable, given that, from my understanding (I lived through it but don't remember it) the winter preceding "that" summer was fairly mild, as was the spring.

I have to admit that I don't really favour 1991-2020 as an average though, I prefer 1981-2010 as it's less skewed towards the unusually mild winter conditions of recent years.

Back to 1961/62, wasn't that another of those "disappointment" winters in the 2001/02 style, with Jan and Feb being mild and wet? Though I seem to remember reading March 1962 was extremely cold - pity it came too late when we should have been enjoying spring!

Edited by Summer8906
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Posted
  • Location: Islington, C. London.
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snowy winters and mixed summers.
  • Location: Islington, C. London.
1 minute ago, Summer8906 said:

Even 1976 - that is remarkable, given that, from my understanding (I lived through it but don't remember it) the winter preceding "that" summer was fairly mild, as was the spring.

I have to admit that I don't really favour 1991-2020 as an average though, I prefer 1981-2010 as it's less skewed towards mild winter conditions.

1961 and 1976 against the 1991-2020 monthly averages

           JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC  YEAR

1961 -0.8 +2.0 +1.5 +1.0 -0.9 -0.3 -1.7 -1.0 +1.2   -/+  -1.4   -2.9     -0.3

1976 +1.2 -0.3  -1.9 -0.9 +0.1+2.2 +1.6 +1.2 -0.9 -0.5 -1.4   -3.2     -0.2

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Posted
  • Location: Hampshire
  • Weather Preferences: Warm-by-day sunny thundery summers , short cold snowy winters.
  • Location: Hampshire
15 minutes ago, LetItSnow! said:

1961 and 1976 against the 1991-2020 monthly averages

           JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC  YEAR

1961 -0.8 +2.0 +1.5 +1.0 -0.9 -0.3 -1.7 -1.0 +1.2   -/+  -1.4   -2.9     -0.3

1976 +1.2 -0.3  -1.9 -0.9 +0.1+2.2 +1.6 +1.2 -0.9 -0.5 -1.4   -3.2     -0.2

Thanks. So Feb-Mar-Apr 1976 were actually a little chilly and May not all that warm.

I also thought autumn 1976 was warm and wet, with cyclonic SW-lies dominating: it appears not.

Given how many bad Augusts we've had recently it's remarkable August 1976 was only just over a degree warmer than the recent norm. Presumably down to colder nights in 1976 compared to the mild, muggy and moist typical modern August night.

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Posted
  • Location: Islington, C. London.
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, snowy winters and mixed summers.
  • Location: Islington, C. London.
Just now, Summer8906 said:

Thanks. So Feb-Mar-Apr 1976 were actually a little chilly and May not all that warm.

I also thought autumn 1976 was warm and wet, with cyclonic SW-lies dominating: it appears not.

Given how many bad Augusts we've had recently it's remarkable August 1976 was only just over a degree warmer than the recent norm. Presumably down to colder nights in 1976 compared to the mild, muggy and moist typical modern August night.

Don't want to depart too much from the year of the topic but yes. The summer of 1976 achieved its heat from daytime heating. The ground was so dry that the nights were relatively cool. By the end of July and start of August a brief northerly brush of air was enough to give ground frost in parts of England. The ground was so dry that the evaporative cooling was off the scale. The fact they were still in the 18s and 17s is a testament to the intensity of the heat. Of course nowadays heat tends to take much less time to build and the high is rarely centred over the country with true homegrown heat.

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Posted
  • Location: Bacup Lancashire, 1000ft up in the South Pennines
  • Weather Preferences: Summer heat and winter cold, and a bit of snow when on offer
  • Location: Bacup Lancashire, 1000ft up in the South Pennines

Only a few days old at Christmas 1961 but I remember my mum once saying that it was a bitterly cold spell and in the days before central heating, I was wrapped in blankets in front of the coal fire.

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Posted
  • Location: Cheshire
  • Location: Cheshire
58 minutes ago, Summer8906 said:

Back to 1961/62, wasn't that another of those "disappointment" winters in the 2001/02 style, with Jan and Feb being mild and wet? Though I seem to remember reading March 1962 was extremely cold - pity it came too late when we should have been enjoying spring!

In London, December 1961 was -2.5F below average, Jan 62 was +2.0, Feb 62 was +1.4 and March 62 was - 5.3F. So yes, your understanding was correct. 

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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
2 hours ago, Summer8906 said:

 

Back to 1961/62, wasn't that another of those "disappointment" winters in the 2001/02 style, with Jan and Feb being mild and wet? Though I seem to remember reading March 1962 was extremely cold - pity it came too late when we should have been enjoying spring!

5th January-21st February 1962 CET: 5.5°C

Quite stormy in that period as well, Sheffield got absolutely battered

 

 

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