Jump to content
IGNORED

January 2003 Snow


polarlow2

Recommended Posts

Posted
  • Location: Hanwell, west London
  • Location: Hanwell, west London

Hi all,

I'm trying to find out a bit about the heavy snow that affected London in late 2003 - I think maybe Thursday January 31? It stands out in my mind because it appeared to be very poorly forecast.

The night before, the BBC predicted light snow showers affecting the south-east the next afternoon. In the event, where I lived at the time, in Dollis Hill, north-west London, we got an absolute hammering.

The snow began about 2pm I think, and got gradually heavier, continuing until about 9pm, leaving about five inches or so, in a really strong wind. My gut instinct tells me it must have been some sort of Thames streamer, given that the winds were from the north-east - can anyone shed any light?

It was a fantastic snowfall anyway, at the time the most snow I'd seen since 1991.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

You are probably recalling the northerly outbreak on the 30th January 2003, when a slight easterly component to the airflow helped bring heavy snow showers and some longer spells of snow inland from East Anglia and into London:

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2003/Rrea00120030130.gif

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2003/Rrea00120030131.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Hanwell, west London
  • Location: Hanwell, west London

Many thanks, that is indeed the one. Am I right in saying there was more snow in the south-east than was expected? It doesn't often get talked about so I was wondering if the heavier snow was restricted to northern suburbs of London.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

I can't remember if it affected south London but in Weather Log Philip Eden mentions "a sudden fall of 5-10cm in north London". The forecasts prior to the event generally envisaged snow showers for the usual North Sea areas in northerly flows, and underestimated how far south and west the snowfalls penetrated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Nope the snow spread fairly well west. had about 4 CM and a very strong, biting Northerly wind that day. Temperature rose to the best part of 1c during the whole day. Snowshowers and gale force winds dominated most of the afternoon and windchill was around -9c.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Home: Chingford, London (NE). Work: London (C)
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: cold and snowy. Summer: hot and sunny
  • Location: Home: Chingford, London (NE). Work: London (C)

Remember this quite well. I was in my first year of A-Level's at the time. It snowed very intensely and several cm's fell in a short space of time during the evening rush hour. This was the famous event where the forecasters and gritters were caught out resulting in drivers being stuck in their cars all night on the M11 as it hadn't been gritted at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

January 2003 despite being a mild month overall did bring two snowy outbreaks - one right at the end and one around the 8th I believe which brought a couple of inches of snow to central london - the first for a number of years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl
  • Weather Preferences: obviously snow!
  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl

dont think i got any then, but the cheshire gap snow of 3-5 Feb was good, not had snow from the cheshire gap that good since

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Home: Chingford, London (NE). Work: London (C)
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: cold and snowy. Summer: hot and sunny
  • Location: Home: Chingford, London (NE). Work: London (C)

January 2003 despite being a mild month overall did bring two snowy outbreaks - one right at the end and one around the 8th I believe which brought a couple of inches of snow to central london - the first for a number of years.

Yep, a Thames streamer set up on 8th January 2003. I was still in school back then in my first year of 6th form in Chigwell, which is on the border of SW Essex and NE London. Got to school by about 830ish, it was cold, dry and cloudy. By about 9 heavy snow started to fall and lasted right through until mid-afternoon. It was very heavy, and in that part of London/Essex, about 5 to 6 inches of snow fell. At that point, it was the heaviest snow central London had seen since Feb 1991 - i think the centre of London had about 3 inches of lying snow.

It takes a lot for snow to settle significantly in central London as it's so crowded and built up. Having lived in London all my life, i've seen many times when we've had snow where it has barely settled in central London, but as soon as you drive or take the train 15-20mins into the suburbs there is lying snow. Then came the Feb 2009 event, which became the heaviest snowfall for London since Feb 1991. Last winter also saw thick lying snow in central London - very rare as i've said - but it wasn't as much as the Feb 2009 event, simply because in Feb 2009 the heavy snow lasted all night from a streamer, whereas in December 2010, although the snow was very heavy and intense, wasn't from a streamer and snow only fell for about 3-4 hours rather than the whole night as it did in 2009.

Edited by danm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Hanwell, west London
  • Location: Hanwell, west London

Mr Data you are a legend for posting these videos! I actually remember this forecast well.

Do you have any from the later cold spell of January 2003?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Barnet/south Herts border 130m asl
  • Weather Preferences: snow, thunderstorms & all extreme weather
  • Location: Barnet/south Herts border 130m asl

I remember this event well (the first of the two). Started while I was at work really heavy they told us to go home early so around 4.30 I left but traffic was already gridlocked. I was only working 8 miles from my house but it took me 6 and half hours to get home! Was the scariest car journey of my life. Roads were so icey, pedestrians just standing there watching me slide towards them while I'm shouting "get out the way I've got no control". Then stuck on a hill for ages until some kind east Europeans guys pushed me up the hill.....would prob still be there if it wasn't for them lol. Brilliant snow event but very scary roads!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Newbury Berkshire
  • Location: Newbury Berkshire

Ah I remember this well too! I was working for the AA at the time and we covered most of the South East of England. The timing and intensity of it caught a lot of people out including the gritters. The ensuing gridlock on the M1, A1M, M11 and M25 meant that we were unable to get to a lot of the broken down vehicles and a lot of people abandoned their cars. I left work at 0330 that night and we still had a few hundred breakdowns still to attend.

This event and the Thundersnow of Jan 2004 serve as a reminder of how just how easy it is for our road infrastructure to grind to a halt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Portland, Dorset
  • Weather Preferences: Mixed winters and springs, thundery summers and meditteranean autumns
  • Location: Portland, Dorset

My memories are somewhat poor here, but I remember a thin covering of icy lying snow at the end of January 2003, in south-west Birmingham. The Cheshire gap snow was quite impressive on the 5th February (I think), with several hours of snow falling and accumulating to about 7 cm (as, incidentally I watched a male wren building his nest in ivy, ready for his bride to be :) )

Including one of the mildest Christmasses on record, the 2002- 3 winter experienced temperatures up and down like a yo-yo, with some severe frosts but some mild sunny days too, especially later on, as it led into the sunniest March on record in much of the UK.

This up and down winter (temperature-wise) struck me as an unsually dry and sunny season, and with a fair amount of southerly and easterly winds, and much less dull version of the 1995 - 6 winter.

The following 2003 - 4 winter also exhibited a somewhat yo-yo temperature regime, and was IMO, a diverse winter. Interestingly, February 2004 was the sixth most northerly February on record, yet was slightly milder than average.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Hanwell, west London
  • Location: Hanwell, west London

Cracking stuff Mr Data. I remember those forecasts well, it was only at the very last minute that the BBC changed their forecasts to something a bit more urgent. A lesser remembered snowfall for many but, in my neck of the woods at least, a little beauty!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...
Posted
  • Location: Cambourne Cambridge 70M ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Blizzards,Hot Thundery nights.
  • Location: Cambourne Cambridge 70M ASL

They don't make Northerly's like this any more. Remember when the 2nd trough came through here at 23:00.

And with that, the really nice sound of heavy dry snow blowing against the windows like sand.

post-9147-0-75685200-1358036270_thumb.jp

post-9147-0-33499700-1358036302_thumb.jp

Edited by 80sWeather
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Guildford, Surrey.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms & Snow
  • Location: Guildford, Surrey.

I remember this one well (Thursday 30th January 2003) at Guildford.

There was heavy wet snow before 8 am with about 1~2 cm lying on all ground by 9 am.

The snow started to thaw as less cold air spread in from the N.W. Temperatures were up to 2 deg.C. by 10 am. Just as I thought a pleasing bit of snow was over and I would have to cycle to work in thaw conditions to be followed by a dry day, the sky darkened noticeably to the N.W.

By 10:15 am, light snow was falling from the threatening sky when the wind suddenly increased to about 20 mph. The heavy powdery snow started at 10:17 am and I managed to get 2 photos with the window open to follow. Within 5 seconds of the 2nd picture at 10:20 am there was a good 'crack' of thunder to the S.W. during the snow squall. All surfaces were covered again, although in a powdery dusting. The snow ended at 10:22 am and temperatures had dropped to -0.5 deg.C.

This was my first true thundersnow event after thunder plus snow on 9th &13th April 1994 and 22nd February 1995. There was possibly distant thunder on 6th January 1994 during very heavy wet snow in the early evening (flashes seen to west and a rumble heard separately, thought to be railways and traffic respectively). The 2003 event was a portent of things to come almost a year later on Wednesday 28th January 2004.

Although sunny on the 30th Jan '03 for a while. Clouds developed with frequent snow showers and period of prolonged snow at 0 deg.C. during afternoon especially at 4 pm to 5 pm. Snow died out in evening and stayed at a depth of 5~5,5 cm.

post-7417-0-89379600-1359503959_thumb.jp

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

I remember late Jan and into early Feb 03 delivering a number of snowy showers and squalls thanks to a northerly airstream, the snow though struggled to settle.

The winters of 02/03 and 03/04 and 04/05 all delivered a potent northerly at some stage, in 02/03 is was late Jan/early Feb, in 03/04, we saw one around New Year, also late Jan and late Feb-early March, in 04/05 we had one on christmas day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...