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The Times: The cold snowy December of 1950


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Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

Thanks Mr data another superb piece of weather archive. Keep them coming.

Reading it, it really does seem a very different age. I work in Sunderland and to hear mention of colliers and how work could not progress due to conditions shows that things must have been preety bad in the city.

Also to see the forecast mention 'industrial' midlands, again is very reflective of its age.

The best though is the outlook which just says similiar! Oh to have a month on a par like that again... will we ever see...

Our coldest spells are now hyped up so much in the media, that should such conditions surface here again, gosh the media would have to invent a new set of vocabulary, they use words such as freezing and arctic to describe a day of 0 degrees maximum and 3 inches of snow, what could they use for 8ft drifts and 1 foot level snow and sub zero maxima for days on end.

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

My first term at Grammar School, we had to walk to school on 3 days in December, and most of the form Christmas parties were suspended as it meant most pupils would have to walk home in the evening.

From memory I think the snow lasted about 1 week but am not sure.

about 4 or 5 inches, certainly above shoe tops I recall!

That is on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District, no idea about anywhere else.

Edited by johnholmes
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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

It was a pretty snowy month for Manchester, 15cm of snow fell on the 4th December, another 18cm on the 14th and a further 15cm on the 30th.

Manchester

Mean Max: 3.2

Mean Min: -2.6

London Heathrow

Mean Max: 3.7

Mean Min: -0.6

Air frosts: 17

Days with falling sleet/snow: 13

Edited by Mr_Data
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Posted
  • Location: Nr Appleby in Westmorland
  • Location: Nr Appleby in Westmorland
My first term at Grammar School
Was that your first teaching job, or just your first teaching job at a Grammar School?

Good to see Kirkby Stephen get a mention in the first article.

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Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

Just had to take a look at the synoptics of this month. Mouth watering!

Only a couple of days (10-11th) appear to be what you could class mild. Outside of these days it was cold all the way. The first 9 days being dominated by polar maritime and then artic maritime air. Mid month again saw polar air and associated low pressure. The last 8 days or so saw easterly/north easterly.

What wonderful synoptics, I would say even better than 1981!

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

looking at the data for Finningley:

there was snow on 11 days and it lay for 8; mean temp=1.3C the second lowest ever in its records from 1943-1995, only 1981 was colder at -0.5C

so yet another cold month I lived through.

1943, 47, 56, 63, 86/7, 81, etc, how many more?

Edited by johnholmes
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Posted
  • Location: s yorks
  • Weather Preferences: c'mon thunder
  • Location: s yorks

Thanks for the feature Mr D :)

The Azores high ridged to join a "non-existent-these-days" High over Newfoundland and turn the Atlantic into a mill pond - 15th DEC 1950

that cyclogenesis business-thingy eventually played its part but it looks like anticyclones never totally retreated south until mid Jan following.

(NAO`s were -1.26 (nov) and -1.02 (dec), turning + for the following Jan & feb months of the new year)

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  • 14 years later...
Posted
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire

Looking at records and summaries, December 1950 appears to have been in some ways a bit similar to December 2010 albeit with the cold not as severe, but still persistent cold for most of the month and significant snowfalls for many parts of the country.  The cold of December 1950 may not have been as severe as December 2010, but the general pattern in the weather charts looks fairly similar for both of them.

December 1981 was another very cold December that was in many ways very similar to 2010, albeit not as cold right from the start as 2010 was, but when the severe cold spell kicked off at the end of the first week of Dec 1981, the whole pattern was as impressive and the cold just as extreme as Dec 2010.

Looking at all three of those Decembers that were severely cold, none of them went on to see a winter in which sustained cold held sway, with winter 2010-11 in particular finishing up very mild in February.

In actual fact if December is severely cold, it rarely bodes well for the rest of the winter.  The best example that I can think of for a severely cold December that went on to see the rest of the winter being cold is 1878-1879; now in that winter December was severely cold, and in many ways much like 2010, and the severe cold lasted through January 1879, and although winter did moderate somewhat in the February, it was still quite cold by today's standards.

Edited by North-Easterly Blast
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Posted
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
On 29/11/2022 at 20:38, Optimus Prime said:

December 1962 finished off at 1.8c which is severe and what followed was a sustained period of exceptionally low temperatures.

I do not think that December 1962 was severely cold for all or most of the month.  I think that month really became severely cold from about the 22nd onwards, which set the scene for the whole of the rest of the winter.  I think that the first three weeks of December 1962 were more like rather cold though not significantly so.  Whereas December 2010 saw severe cold for most of the month right from the start, as did December 1981 from about the 8th, and December 1950 was in some ways a bit similar to December 2010; very cold for most of the month albeit not as severe as in 2010.  Whereas December 1962 was slightly different; in being generally below average but not significantly so for the first three weeks, then severely cold for the final ten days.  I would not say that December 1962 really fits the same pattern as the Decembers of 1950, 1981 and 2010, as the first three weeks of Dec 1962 were certainly nowhere near as cold as the Decembers of 2010 or 1981 or even 1950.

Edited by North-Easterly Blast
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Posted
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
On 29/11/2022 at 20:38, Optimus Prime said:

December 1962 finished off at 1.8c which is severe and what followed was a sustained period of exceptionally low temperatures.

The CET for December 1962 of 1.8 was still 2.5*C less cold than Dec 2010, and 1.5*C less cold than Dec 1981, so yes Dec 1962 was still a significantly cold month, though by no means as exceptional as 2010 or 1981.

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Posted
  • Location: G.Manchester
  • Location: G.Manchester
On 02/12/2022 at 18:07, North-Easterly Blast said:

The CET for December 1962 of 1.8 was still 2.5*C less cold than Dec 2010, and 1.5*C less cold than Dec 1981, so yes Dec 1962 was still a significantly cold month, though by no means as exceptional as 2010 or 1981.

Not December 1950 related but 2nd - 6th Dec' 1962 averaged -1.1 C on the legacy series. That's pretty darn cold if you ask me.

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