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The Glaze And Snowstorm Of January 1912


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  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    This was a truely remarkable spell of weather which is sadly now virtually forgotten, a prolonged spell of rain, freezing rain and a heavy snow event, it is probably second to the event of late January 1940 but the 18th January 1912 event is rarely mentioned these days.

    High pressure over Scandinavia, low pressure over the Atlantic, it was very wet over many parts of the UK around on the 17th of January. Very cold air undercut the rain and it turned to freezing rain in the south and heavy snow further north. The heavy rain brought flooding to parts before the cold air encroached.


    Here is a report on the glaze from Chatham

    "The glazed frost produced remarkable effects in this locality. So heavily coated were the trees that they could scarcely bear the weight and the boughs swept the ground. Every tree presented a gorgeous spectacle. The deciduous trees were certainly the most graceful. During the darkness of the night two Lawson cypresses covered with pendants of clear ice reflected a thousand points of light from a street lamp."

    That must have been a magical sight.


    A photo taken by A.C Burgess from Chatham.

    A report from Haslemere

    "At about 8am, a cold wave or rather a layer of cold swept over this house. Rain fell heavily and before it could run-off the roofs or branches it froze. The roofs, weather tiling on the upper walls and the brick lower walls became sheets of ice, the icicles hanging to a length of from 6 to 18 inches. All gutter pipes and stack pipes became full of ice and the former had curtains of ice hanging from them. All boughs became coated with ice, in some cases 3 inches thick. The ground was not under the influence of frost but remained soft and muddy."

    Ashbourne: Rain fell continuously for 28 hours from 1am on the 16th followed by 33 hours of continuous snow.

    Gravesend: The rain froze as it fell on all trees and bushes breaking off many branches by its weight.

    Wantage: Heavy rain followed by 4 inches of snow

    Faringdon: snow 5 inches deep.

    Winslow: 6 inches deep snow

    Pyrton Hill: It began freezing some hours before rain turned to snow and trees and building were covered by icicles.

    Eye: 4 to 6 inches of snow

    Littlebredy: Heavy fall of snow after dark. Although it followed by 2 inches of rain and there was little or no frost, the snow was lying 4 inches deep on the morning of the 18th.

    Shifnal: 13 inches of snow

    Hoar Cross: 21 inches of snow, 4 to 10 ft drifts

    Bewdley: Wet and heavy snow. A ridge of snow resting on a single galvanised wire measured 7 inches.

    Eccleston: Snow 14 inches deep.

    Swerford: Snow fell from 9.15am on 17th and at 4pm on the 18th was about 10 inches deep.

    Buxton: 6 inches deep on 17th, 12 inches deep on 18th. 6ft drifts


    The cold spell was to last until the end of January and into early February 1912 when severe frosts began to become very intense.

    -20.0C at Braemar on the 5th.

    Loch Lomond became partially frozen over.

    17th January - 5th February 1912 CET: 1.2

    The winter of 1911-12 had an overall CET of 5.1, so it was a notable wintry spell in what was a mild winter overall.

    One historical footnote, whilst this weather event was taking place, Captain Scott and his companions had reached the South Pole only to find Amundsen and the Norwegians had reached the Pole a month before.


    From the Times of the 19th January 1912


    Edited by Mr_Data
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