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Winter 1991/2


Summer of 95
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Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury

    I've posted many comments on this forum about how I remember this winter having not a single flake of snow here; most recently in the "earliest snowfall" thread but also in many other discussions. Other posters have made several comments about snow being at least very scarce that winter, also other sites I have visited have contained similar posts to the effect of it being the most snowfree winter many can recall.

    So, was it really that bad for snow in lowland England and Wales or is my mind (considering I was only 12 then) playing tricks? Some reliable memories I have from around that time are:

    Dec 1991: Dry, lots of fog and frost, with a few days of really low maxima. Not unlike a slightly colder version of Dec 2007 but no snow.

    Jan 1992: Very mild and nondescript to start, went foggy and frosty again at the end but still no snow.

    Feb 1992: Not much- fairly dry but quite mild with no snow.

    Mar 1992: Mild, dull and boring. Frequent rain but no floods.

    April 1992: Frequently cold by day for April (6-10C), rained on at least 20 days and was also dull. however never cold enough for snow.

    I have come across references to snow in mid-Feb (around 17th-18th) but I have checked the calendar and these were weekdays (Mon-Tue) when I would have been up by 7.30am and would certainly remember any snow lying around 9. I would also remember it if any fell during the day; would NOT however remember 2-minute flurries at 4am!

    Have also heard about:

    Snow in Scotland and higher parts of N England in March (eg Peak District on the "Snowfall Events" site)

    Various reports of icy precipitation in Dec 1991 foggy spell

    Snow in Nov 1991 (Trevor Harley's site)

    Other sources say:

    Hampstead (weather-uk): 1 day falling in Nov 1991, 1 day in Apr 1992; none lying between Feb 1991 and Nov 1993 (exactly my memory in Shrewsbury): however no falling snow in the DJF quarter of 91/2.

    Llansadwrn, Anglesey weather site says no snow fell there during the year 1992 at all which is also what I remember here.

    Epping weather site: no lying snow, 4 days falling that winter.

    Would be interested to hear of others'memories and/or records.

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    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    This was the winter with the least amount of snow I`ve seen/recorded much more known for lots of frosts instead.

    Having just looked back even october 17th 1991 had wintry showers.

    December just 1 day 20th slight covering of snow with a bit of drifting and that was the only drifting all winter. :blink:

    January 9th with a slight wet covering snow,otherwise just severe frosts and very dry.

    Feb 15th/17th with another slight covering with sleet,snow showers and thats winter.

    It carried on into March/april with wintry shower mix hail/sleet/snow showers,but last spring was much better :blink: ,and even recorded more snow depth last november, but nov 1991 it stayed around for longer 6 days in the shade with a slight patchy covering. :)

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

    I'd be surprised if nowhere got snow from this brief, but fairly potent looking, NW'ly on 20 December 1991. Snowyowl9 has already mentioned snow on that day, and Durham had one morning with lying snow for Dec 1991- I can't find any other morning that would fit.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119911220.gif

    Lancaster had snow on 17-18 February as a weak Atlantic system pushed against moderately cold Arctic air that had penetrated on the 16th.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119920218.gif

    Mid March had significant snowfalls in Scotland, although the cold Arctic air didn't really penetrate to central and southern areas.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119920313.gif

    And finally, some northern areas had a bit of snow in early April 1992.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119920402.gif

    However, generally speaking it was indeed one of the most snowless winters on record. In the Tyneside area, the 1991/92 is the most snowless season I can locate for the area- even the likes of 1973/74, 1974/75 and 1988/89 were redeemed by some snow events in November and/or March-April. Even the more snowless of recent winters still managed to produce a bit more than 1991/92.

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    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    As for december 1991 being similar to last year it was in some ways CET 4.7c last year 4.9c.

    Coldest day -3c under an inversion.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119911211.gif

    Last december coldest.

    -2.5c max using my old reading to compare to as nightime lowest was the same under the same east/SE flow.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/20...00120071220.gif

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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)

    i remember 2 things about dec 91...first it was very cold and frosty in essex in the run up to chrimbo..night time temps got down to -10c..the weather man saying about as cold as it gets with no snow cover?..also playing football on a frozen pitch..and scoring probably the best goal ive ever scored in a 4-1 home defeat.

    Edited by cheeky_monkey
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    Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury
    I'd be surprised if nowhere got snow from this brief, but fairly potent looking, NW'ly on 20 December 1991. Snowyowl9 has already mentioned snow on that day, and Durham had one morning with lying snow for Dec 1991- I can't find any other morning that would fit.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119911220.gif

    Lancaster had snow on 17-18 February as a weak Atlantic system pushed against moderately cold Arctic air that had penetrated on the 16th.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119920218.gif

    Mid March had significant snowfalls in Scotland, although the cold Arctic air didn't really penetrate to central and southern areas.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119920313.gif

    And finally, some northern areas had a bit of snow in early April 1992.

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/ra/19...00119920402.gif

    However, generally speaking it was indeed one of the most snowless winters on record. In the Tyneside area, the 1991/92 is the most snowless season I can locate for the area- even the likes of 1973/74, 1974/75 and 1988/89 were redeemed by some snow events in November and/or March-April. Even the more snowless of recent winters still managed to produce a bit more than 1991/92.

    Thanks for that summary TWS, it suggests that my memory might not be entirely accurate about there not being a single flake of snow falling, but it's right in the general sense of it being a very snow-free winter to say the least. 1992 has to be a candidate for the most snowless year as well- I don't remember any snow in the last quarter of that year either though it was very frosty around Christmas and October also had a number of air frosts.

    As for other years, 1999/2000 was virtually snowless here as well (wintry showers on Christmas morning and again in April, no lying snow); 1989/90 had some lying snow in mid-December that I remember, though it only lasted a couple of days, the rest of the winter being mild and wet; 1992/3 was nearly as bad as 1991/2 with just some snow showers on the last weekend of Feb (didn't settle)- it seems 2001/2 and the year 2002 were also close to being snowless across much of the far S of England from what I have read on here and other weather sites.

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    Posted
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire

    Looking at the Bonacina Snowfall list, I would certainly say that "Little" should be divided into "Little" and "Very Little".

    Certainly, I would categorise the winters of 1988-89, 1989-90, 1991-92, 1999-2000 and 2001-02 as having "Very Little" snowfall. For most areas of the UK all these five winters were virtually snowless. Winter 1992-93 was also very poor for most areas, although some areas got a little snowfall in late Feb. Winters 1997-98 and 1998-99 also saw very little snow in most areas, and 2002-03 was also very poor for most areas except the SE.

    Winter 1991-92 is certainly by all means up there as being one of the most snowless winters on record, although in actual fact the winters of 1988-89, 1989-90, 1999-2000, and 2001-02 were all as poor for snow as 1991-92.

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    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    1987/88 was a totally disapointing winter after the previous ones.

    As 1988/89 and 1999/2000

    It was the heavy snows in april 89/2000 that saved them from being one of the more snowless to me.

    Not forgetting november 1988 cold spell.

    Edited by Snowyowl9
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    Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury

    The absence of a "Very Little" category in the catalogue is constantly being remarked upon; I certainly am all for introducing it, along the lines of its distinction between "Snowy" and "Very Snowy".

    Having said that, if it were introduced I'd keep 1988/89 as merely "Little"; due to the widespread lying snow in November and April although admittedly Dec, Jan, Feb were almost snowless for many. I can remember some snow here in Jan 1988 as well so that one was better than 1991/92. 1999/2000 definitely Very Little, 2001/2 in most western areas was actually snowier than 2002/3, though in the SE it does seem to have been practically snowless.

    What is the longest period people can remember at their location without lying snow (at 0900)? For me it's 2 years 9 months between Feb 1991 and Nov 1993.

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

    I don't agree with a "Very Little" vs "Little" simply because the analysis is trying to remain consistent with Brocanica's earlier analysis. To modify the categories would be changing his original analysis.

    In addition it's harder to accurately classify a winter as "Very Little" vs "Little". For instance, 1999/2000 was virtually snowless in many parts of England and Wales, but for Scotland and Northern Ireland December 1999 was quite cold and snowy, and it was a snowy winter overall in the Scottish Highlands. 1998/99, again, virtually snowless in many areas, but parts of NE Scotland, Norfolk and some east-coast counties of England had near average amounts of snow.

    At Lancaster, perhaps the most snowless of all was 1987/88, but in contrast Tyneside had only slightly below average snow that winter, due to some cool zonality in late January/early February 1988, and some northerlies in late February/early March 1988.

    For Cleadon, the longest period on my records without more than half-cover at 0900 appears to be just under a year- 3 March 2004 through to 19 February 2005. Gaps of 10 months are fairly common.

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    Posted
  • Location: G.Manchester
  • Location: G.Manchester

    Winter 1991/1992 was generally very snowless but there was plenty of frost.

    December 1991 being the real curious month.

    First half of December was exceptionally cold, average temperature 2.1c (3.2c below normal) and was the coldest first half of December since 1981 (which had a CET of 0.9c) and before 1981 only 1979, 1952, 1950, 1933, 1925 and 1916 had colder first halfs.

    Second half of December however, was exceptionally mild with a CET of 7.1c (2.3c above average) and from which only 1988, 1987, 1983 and 1974 were milder. 1987 being an uncanny example.

    Edited by Optimus Prime
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    Posted
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts
  • Weather Preferences: Rain/snow, fog, gales and cold in every season
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts

    The winter of 1991/92 wasn't the least snowy on record here but it came fairly close. The number of days with sleet or snow falling was only 11 which is equal lowest on record with 2006/07 but there were 6 mornings with snow lying and an accumulated depth of 15.2cm which, although very small, is more than in 1988/89, 1992/93, 1996/97, 1997/98, 2002/03 and 2007/08.

    Worst of the lot has to be 2007/08 with only 3 mornings with snow lying and an accumulated depth of 4.9cm.

    December 1991 had only 1 snowfall, 5.6cm on the 20th and January 1992 was almost snowless, just 0.2cm on the 10th and only 2 days with sleet or snow falling. February 1992 salvaged the disaster to some extent with 4 mornings with lying snow and a fall of 6.4cm on the 17th. Going forward into March there were just two snowfalls, the largest of which was a meagre 2.2cm on the 13th.

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    Posted
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
    Winter 1991/1992 was generally very snowless but there was plenty of frost.

    December 1991 being the real curious month.

    First half of December was exceptionally cold, average temperature 2.1c (3.2c below normal) and was the coldest first half of December since 1981 (which had a CET of 0.9c) and before 1981 only 1979, 1952, 1950, 1933, 1925 and 1916 had colder first halfs.

    Second half of December however, was exceptionally mild with a CET of 7.1c (2.3c above average) and from which only 1988, 1987, 1983 and 1974 were milder. 1987 being an uncanny example.

    No, the first half of December 1991 had a CET of 2.3, not 2.1, and all years are correct with colder first halves of December except for 1979, it was the first half of Dec 1976 that had a CET of 2.0, not 1979. All years are correct with milder second halves of December, and in fact Dec 1987 saw the warmest second half of December in the CET records, although 1974 and 1988 were almost as mild.

    The first half of December 1981 had a CET of 0.3, not 0.9.

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    Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury
    The winter of 1991/92 wasn't the least snowy on record here but it came fairly close. The number of days with sleet or snow falling was only 11 which is equal lowest on record with 2006/07 but there were 6 mornings with snow lying and an accumulated depth of 15.2cm which, although very small, is more than in 1988/89, 1992/93, 1996/97, 1997/98, 2002/03 and 2007/08.

    Worst of the lot has to be 2007/08 with only 3 mornings with snow lying and an accumulated depth of 4.9cm.

    December 1991 had only 1 snowfall, 5.6cm on the 20th and January 1992 was almost snowless, just 0.2cm on the 10th and only 2 days with sleet or snow falling. February 1992 salvaged the disaster to some extent with 4 mornings with lying snow and a fall of 6.4cm on the 17th. Going forward into March there were just two snowfalls, the largest of which was a meagre 2.2cm on the 13th.

    So the "13th Mar, Peak District" on that snow catalogue (the only snowfall they list for that winter) amounted to 2.2cm when 1988/89 with 10cm lying in Shrewsbury on 20th November (and 15cm in parts of the SE in April) was for a long time labelled "virtually snowless"?

    Interesting to see 1996/7 on that list; here that winter had 12 days of lying snow (Nov and Dec 2 each, Jan eight); the accumulated depth (if I understand the term correctly) was about 12cm. I always remember that as a mostly decent winter ruined by a rotten February.

    Edited by Summer of 95
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    Posted
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts
  • Weather Preferences: Rain/snow, fog, gales and cold in every season
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts
    Interesting to see 1996/7 on that list; here that winter had 12 days of lying snow (Nov and Dec 2 each, Jan eight); the accumulated depth (if I understand the term correctly) was about 12cm. I always remember that as a mostly decent winter ruined by a rotten February.

    Yes, a bit misleading that one. We had 17 days with lying snow that winter but the accumulated depth was only 15.0cm

    January had 12 mornings with lying snow but the depth was never more than 4cm, February, as you say, was dismal with only 2 mornings with lying snow and no depth greater than 1cm.

    The overall impression of that winter would have been much more snowy than 1991/92 even though the accumulated depth of snow was slightly less.

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    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
    Interesting to see 1996/7 on that list; here that winter had 12 days of lying snow (Nov and Dec 2 each, Jan eight); the accumulated depth (if I understand the term correctly) was about 12cm. I always remember that as a mostly decent winter ruined by a rotten February.

    It wasn`t a bad winter much better than 1991/92 thats for sure, until feb, with march/april even worse completely snowless.... feb 1997 as you say was very poor aswell with 4 days with wintry or a few snow showers here not even sticking.

    Edited by Snowyowl9
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    Posted
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire

    I think that Winter 1991/92 was one of those rare ones where I didn't see a single flake of snow. Very disappointing, especially after the previous Winter! I also remember the first half of December being particularly cold and frosty with some ice days, but dry. I thought at the time that this was the start of a decent Winter only for it to turn very mild during the second half of the month, with January and February being totally non descript.

    Edited by Don
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    Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury
    It wasn`t a bad winter much better than 1991/92 thats for sure, until feb, with march/april even worse completely snowless.... feb 1997 as you say was very poor aswell with 4 days with wintry or a few snow showers here not even sticking.

    Feb 1997 I remember being probably the most unrelentingly westerly winter month of the past 20 years; I remember almost every single day the synoptics showed a zonal westerly flow with its strength varying from moderate "Bartlett High" to full-blown gale force with low pressure to the north and no high in sight (towards the end I can remember one night where several people were killed in gales, the papers remarked that it was the most prolonged spell of high winds since Jan 1990). Although the statistics might show the aforementioned Jan 1990 and maybe a couple of other months (Jan 2005 and Jan 2007?) as having a higher "westerly" index, I don't think any was so completely dominated by westerlies to the exclusion of everything else (even the odd 2-day cool NW-ly) as was Feb 1997.

    March 1997 sticks in my mind for one thing: Fog. This was the only month of the past 15 years where several mornings running had thick fog of the can't-see-the-car-in-front variety; I remember a major road accident on one of the motorways near Birmingham on one of those mornings. However it was very mild (what seemed really odd about that fog was that it wasn't accompanied by frost, or even cold air) and mostly dry.

    April 1997, although snowless, was a fine month; long spells of warm sun by day and cool but not bitter at night- it was perfect weather for seeing Comet Hale-Bopp which was at its peak then.

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

    Philip Eden notes that February 1997 had one of the steepest south-westerly gradients on record, up there with February 1990 and January 1993. Those two months had an exceptional incidence of westerly gales and were exceptionally mild- though cool zonality was more of a feature in both cases than in February 1997.

    January 1990 had a strong south-westerly gradient but not as strong as in the aforementioned three months.

    April 1997 had a pronounced NW-SE split- a dry, very sunny month in the south and east, but very dull in Scotland and parts of NW England. In Tyneside the sunshine was close to average- and it was less sunny than March 1997 had been. Also, I reported sleet/snow showers briefly on the evening of 3 April 1997 from a NW'ly. I remember there was some fog about in Tyneside in March 1997 as well, particularly the middle part of the month- unusual for a mild "Bartletty" type month.

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

    I've vivid memories of the cold spell in early-mid december 1991 particularly around the 11th with black ice a real problem, also remember the generally quite cold week or so towards the end of Jan 92, other than that no real recollections of winter 91/92 and certainly very little recollection of any snow.

    As for other memories of snowless winters, 92/93 was quite poor a sprinkling around the 8th Jan and at the tail end of Feb, but nothing else.

    More recent memories - 97/98 and 06/07 very poor indeed, with last year not far behind. 99/00 wasn't that bad here in Tyne and Wear we got a few showers mid dec and more general snow around the 20th Dec, Jan was snowless but we had a bit around the 16th Feb.

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

    December 1999 had at least two snow events which produced fair accumulations inland, but no significant accumulations by the coast. On the morning of the 14th there was no lying snow at Cleadon (apart from the odd brief coating of hail during the heavier hail showers), yet at the Tyne Tunnel, just a couple of miles further inland, there was a good inch or two of lying snow.

    However Cleadon definitely had heavy snow on the 16th February 2000.

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    Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

    February 1997 was a very windy month gales on the 10th,gales to severe on the 13th,16th more gales infact in was wet`n windy on most days with more severe gales on he 19th and the 26th with storm force gust in a shower no damage though it seems.

    I do remember a prolonged spell like that.

    Edited by Snowyowl9
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    Posted
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
    December 1999 had at least two snow events which produced fair accumulations inland, but no significant accumulations by the coast. On the morning of the 14th there was no lying snow at Cleadon (apart from the odd brief coating of hail during the heavier hail showers), yet at the Tyne Tunnel, just a couple of miles further inland, there was a good inch or two of lying snow.

    However Cleadon definitely had heavy snow on the 16th February 2000.

    I remember the south and south west having a snowfall on the 18th December 1999. I believe the snow was 4 inches deep in places, although nothing like that in my area. It stuck around for a couple of days. This was certainly the only snow I saw during Winter 1999/00!

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

    Yes, I think that was the most widespread event of the winter. There was a potent northerly plunge around then, which resulted in snow in the Tyne & Wear area on the 18th, although significant accumulations were restricted to inland parts of the region. I recall some Atlantic systems stalled against the cold air in the S and SW before clearing south-eastwards, which will be why there were snowfalls. On the 20th the afternoon temperature at Cleadon barely got above zero.

    When we talk of cold zonality, December 1999 seems to be something of a "forgotten month", perhaps because most of the snow across England and Wales was wet stuff that didn't settle. However, the month was in many ways a sunnier version of December 1993, average to mild in the south but cold in the north, and over much of Scotland and Northern Ireland temperatures were 0.5 to 1.5C below the 1961-90 average. Ringway (Manchester Airport) reported 11 days of sleet/snow, similar to the 12 days reported in December 1993. Indeed I think it's the most recent example of a month that could be defined as cold zonal over a fair portion of the UK.

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