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The Times: 12th July 1888. Did it snow in London?


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

    Philip Eden wrote about this snowfall in his 1995 book Weatherwise and seriously questioned the correctness of the snow reports at low levels, due to general early-morning temperature observations of 4-8C at the time, suggesting that much of it was probably hail. It is certainly possible for snow to fall at those temperatures, but it usually happens during the daytime when solar heating generates a strong thermal contrast between the surface and upper atmosphere.

    However, the reports of snow cover on the high ground (including Skiddaw) most likely were genuine snow reports.

    As usual, many thanks for bringing up this information!

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  • Location: Skirlaugh, East Yorkshire
  • Location: Skirlaugh, East Yorkshire

    The chart from the 11th July 1888:


    Its quite difficult to tell but that looks like a direct Arctic northerly. Snow in London is very debateable though. Ive scoured the archives and one month which contained two potent cold spells during July was in 1965. The setups were generally quite similar, but 850hPa temperatures rarely dipped much below -2C on either.

    I suppose with perfect synoptics, an abnormally cold pool of air and low heights it would be possible in heavier showers, but the chance, even in 1888, seems pretty remote.

    Edited by reef
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    • 2 years later...
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    London temps for that month

    1. 66f, 45f

    2. 59f, 51f

    3. 68f, 54f

    4. 66f, 52f

    5. 66f, 53f

    7. 62f, 52f

    8. 57f, 51f

    9. 67f, 50f

    10. 67f, 49f

    11. 62f, 44f

    12. 54f, 43f

    13. 55f, 45f

    14. 71f, 55f

    15. 71f, 55f

    16. 61f, 55f

    17. 66f, 50f

    18. 68f, 56f

    19. 71f, 56f

    20. 70f, 57f

    21. 65f, 55f

    22. 66f, 56f

    23. 72f, 56f

    24. 69f, 55f

    25. 69f, 57f

    26. 62f, 54f

    27. 70f, 52f

    28. 69f, 57f

    29. 68f, 53f

    30. 71f, 54f

    31. 58f, 51f

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  • Location: Purley, Surrey - 246 Ft ASL
  • Weather Preferences: January 1987 / July 2006
  • Location: Purley, Surrey - 246 Ft ASL

    Chilly nights!

    I am very envious though, it is too hot at night at the moment.

    I must admit I would be surprised if snow did fall in London. It is hard enough in winter never mind summer, then again it was 122 Years ago, but even so....

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  • Location: North York Moors
  • Location: North York Moors

    It only says snow falling, I could believe some wet flakes among the rain.

    At 3 or 4am soft hail among rain seems less likely than in a convective daytime burst.

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