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Remembering Dec 95 And 96


damianslaw

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

My memory is turning back to Dec 1995 and Dec 1996, these being the last two predominantly cold and at times snowy Decembers.

Dec 95 started on a very mild note, but an easterly developed by the 5th bringing some early snowfall to eastern and southern districts, thereafter it remained predominantly cold and during christmas week exceptionally cold in the north. A wonderful month.

Dec 96 was much more settled than Dec 95 and was perhaps the last winter month we have seen dominated by cold high pressure, it was a very dry month in many parts. The last week saw lots of snow showers especially in the east. Another great winter month.

We have had some decent cold snowy spells in Decembers since, most notably last year and also mid-late 99 in the north, late 2000, 2001 as a whole (not quite in the same league as 95, 96 but not a bad month for wintry weather) early-mid 02 a weak easterly mind and late 2005, however for sustained cold, Dec 95 and Dec 96 shoot all decembers since face down.

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

December 1995 was the coldest since 1981 and I think December 1996 would have been as well, had it not been for 1995 being colder.

In Tyneside we had a white Christmas in 1995. The polar low on Christmas Eve just managed to keep its intensity to bring about 3cm of snow to Cleadon. East-coast snow showers on Christmas Day took the snow depth to 8cm. The cold snap on the 5th-8th December did not produce much snow by the east coast- the 5th had a wintry mix of showers, the 6th was surprisingly warm with rain, and then the 7th had flurries of wet snow.

December 1996, while cold, wasn't as snowy in Cleadon, but there was a frontal snow event overnight 26th/27th and a more widespread one on the 30th/31st- a steady snow cover of about 4cm resulted, with the classic "cold upper air easterly" mix of sunshine and snow showers.

December 1995 is the equal coldest month I have recorded, alongside February 1994.

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

December 1995 was indeed a cold month, and indeed the second coldest of any month in the 90s, and the start of the cold 1995-96 winter and also the start of a generally cold interlude that was to last more or less until January 1997. It did show the return of cold weather and snow in December for the first time since 1981. After the very cold December of 1981 had passed, there began a run of mild, mostly snow free Decembers in the UK. Large parts of the UK I believe went 14 years from 1981 to 1995 without seeing any snow cover during December, save for the Dec 1990 Midlands snowstorm. Although Dec 1996 was also cold, I don't recall that it was particularly snowy for most areas. It was mostly anticyclonic and cold, and the only snowfalls of note in Dec 1996 I believe occurred during the night of 26th / 27th in limited areas, and more widely in showers from an easterly on 30th / 31st.

You mention about Dec 2001 being cold, well I can rightly say, that despite northerlies for the last ten days, daily CETs were near average from the 25th to 28th and that was with northerly winds blowing, so GW was really with us that week. Significant cold in Dec 2001 was confined to the last three days and briefly around the 22nd / 23rd. The last week of Dec 2000 was certainly colder and saw more snow as a whole than the same week in 2001.

The 1960s indeed saw an exceptional run of cold Decembers with numerous notable cold spells to list.

Edited by North-Easterly Blast
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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

You mention about Dec 2001 being cold, well I can rightly say, that despite northerlies for the last ten days, daily CETs were near average from the 25th to 28th and that was with northerly winds blowing, so GW was really with us that week.

Actually it wasn't constant northerlies as you are suggesting.

A low pressure developed with a mild sector and this crossed the UK during 27th and 28th. The northerly and it wasn't a straight northerly at that but with a cyclonic curve devloped across the UK on the 29th as the low moved away.

Rrea00119671227.gif

Rrea00220011228.gif

And I also point out that it is never clear cut as you think. The most northerly December was 1967 but its CET was 4.2

Edited by Mr_Data
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Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

I remember the 30/31st December '96 very well indeed, blimey that was cold!

Been visiting the outlaws in Broughty Ferry, just outside Dundee, as we left for home mid-morning there were a few flurries in the air but nothing dramatic - nothing dramatic forecast either.

It gradually got heavier and heavier, the motorways were a nightmare, A roads even worse. The spray from the roads froze solid on the windscreen, the washer bottle (loads of screen wash in it) froze solid too.

Hubby was an experienced rally driver so not unaccustomed to driving in adverse conditions but even he struggled that day. The journey home to Church Fenton usually took about 5 hours, that day it was close on 13! We were seriously doubting if we'd make it at all but with two small children, a tiny baby and an Old English Sheepdog to contend with, we had no choice but to press on as best we could. What a nightmare!

The best bit of that period though was waking up the next morning to over a foot of the finest powder snow I've ever seen in this country, it was fantastic, the trials of the previous day didn't matter any more.

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

Neither Decembers stick out from what I remember. The December 1995 event was well publicised on the news over Christmas due to the snow while 1996 was just cold and frosty until the last few days when it was more windy and cold. January 1997 there was snow overnight which lasted most of the month until the wind, mild and rain set in in February.

December 2001 was a little more memorable for the severe frosts and snow right at the end (3cm)

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

After the very cold December of 1981 had passed, there began a run of mild, mostly snow free Decembers in the UK. Large parts of the UK I believe went 14 years from 1981 to 1995 without seeing any snow cover during December, save for the Dec 1990 Midlands snowstorm.

Some areas did see out Decembers 1982-1994 inclusive without snow cover apart from 8 December 1990, but they were most likely in the minority. The Decembers of 1982 and 1993 were cool zonal in central and northern districts and contained a number of marginal snow events. There was a northerly outbreak which brought snow cover for some around 11/12 December 1983, and snowfalls occurred in some areas towards the end of Decembers 1984 and 1985, plus around 20-23 December 1986. In addition to the famous snowfall of 8 December 1990, late December 1990 was cool zonal in the north and gave snow for some. 20 December 1991, with a polar NW'ly, saw snow for some.

You mention about Dec 2001 being cold, well I can rightly say, that despite northerlies for the last ten days, daily CETs were near average from the 25th to 28th and that was with northerly winds blowing, so GW was really with us that week. Significant cold in Dec 2001 was confined to the last three days and briefly around the 22nd / 23rd. The last week of Dec 2000 was certainly colder and saw more snow as a whole than the same week in 2001.

As implied in Kevin's post, you need to check out the airmass origin. There were northerly outbreaks on the 20th, 22nd/23rd, 25th/26th, and 29th/30th December 2001, but they were interspersed with milder north-westerlies taking air around from the mid-Atlantic and that, rather than a lack of Arctic airmass potency, was why the period was not exceptionally cold. The first half of January 1981, despite an unusual persistence of northerly winds, was not outstandingly cold for the same reason (indeed the month as a whole was quite mild).

This is in contrast to months like November 1977 when the repeated northerlies of the second half of that month often picked up air from relatively warm sources (although they still managed to bring snow for some).

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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

To think it all kicked off 14 years ago today. I remember Peter Cockcroft's pre-weekend forecasts warning of the imminent cold spell with those wind arrows and how they changed to the east. Got BBC weather broadcasts from December 1995 on tape and seeing those charts back then, it seems another world today.

Rrea00119951204.gif

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