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December 2001 - from euro high to greenland high


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

December 2001 was quite an unusual month, it was a very dry one, and often cold with lots of frost, and had a very cold snowy last week or so.

It began on a very normal footing, with the atlantic in ascendance, with wind and rain and mild temperatures, the siberian high lurked far to the east, and heights were strong to the south.

On the 6th /7th we saw the unusual occurance of the euro high suddenly moving north and linking with heights to the NE, to become a major blocking player, shutting out the atlantic on its westerly trajectory for the rest of the month. From the 7th right through until around the 20th, the UK sat under an anticyclone producing cold frosty night and days and lots and lots of sunshine but no snow to speak of. Things changed around the 21st, the high then began to retrogress west into the atlantic as a scandi trough formed producing a cold northerly flow and widespread snow. The rest of the month was characterised by cold northerly airstream and further snow at times, with heights eventually migrating over Greenland, allowing a proper high to form there for a few days, meaning the year ended on a bitterly cold note.

Its a month that is often not really discussed, but for wintry weather, it was a decent December, pales against the likes of 2009 and 2010, and even 2008 and the events of late Dec 2000, being more akin to 2005 in some respects, but it was good to see such synoptics.

Looking back at Decembers between 1995 and 2010, we did quite a bit of anticyclonic cold weather on occasion, in 1995, 1996, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. More recently only 2012 and to a degree 2017 produced such weather, most have just seen the atlantic dominating as in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.

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