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Ranking beasts from the east, and what constitutes a beast?


SummerShower

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Posted
  • Location: Basingstoke
  • Weather Preferences: In summer, a decent thunderstorm, and hot weather. In winter, snow or gale
  • Location: Basingstoke

There seems to be a lot of discussion at present about the sudden stratospheric warming, and how it increases the chance of the beast from the east happening.  Whilst this is not guaranteed of course, far from it in fact, it has got me thinking the following:

1.  What have been the best 'beasts' in your lifetime and

2. What actually constitutes a true beast?

For me, being born in 1980, the real beasts that I recall were in January 1987 and February 1991.  They would get the top 1 and 2 positions respectively.  January 1987 tops it due to the severe depth of cold on the 12th and 13th, despite similar snow depths here in both events

3rd place I would actually give to 2018 due to the depth of cold late in the season.

However, I cant recall any other events that I would class as a classic BFTE.  The event in early feb 2009 was great here, but was it sustained and cold enough to warrant such a title?   

I know there are no temperature or longevity thresholds officially but certainly for me they need to last more than a few days and have several sub zero Cet days, preferably peaking at -3 or below.

Other events that were similar were jan 2003, jan 1996 and dec 96 into jan 97.  Maybe feb 1994 and dec 2009 too.  They dont really qualify though I feel, which makes me think how rare they actually are.

Much of the cold weather in december 2010 came from the north, so again doesn't qualify in this context.

Interested to hear other peoples thoughts on historic beasts..

 

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Posted
  • Location: Scunthorpe
  • Location: Scunthorpe

My best in order of depth of snow from the easterly are

1st

30th November / 3rd December 2010

This comes top purely for just how much snow fell overnight between 30th November and 1st December. Over a foot in Scunthorpe then we got another 4 inches on top on the night of the 2nd into 3rd. The rest of the month was mostly classic cold but little more snow fell

2nd

January 26th/27th 1996

This is one of the two that came top in my memories from my childhood. Heavy whiteout style snow showers throughout the 26th and these continued on through the night and into the morning of the 27th. Deposited over 8 inches of snow in total. Remained cold for around 2 weeks after this but the snow just disappeared overnight between 27th and 28th despite no warmup.

3rd

December 27th 1996 to January 1st 1997

This is one of my favourite post Christmas cold snaps from childhood. Started with the snow that came overnight between Boxing Day and the 27th. This stuck around and was then added to when the main easterly arrived on the 30th. Around 6 inches of snow in total between these days. A number of ice days then followed until around mid January 1997. Shame the cold went and never came back after that

4th

A tie between February/March 2018, December 2009 and February 2009

Despite the differences between these easterlies all were remarkable for different reasons. 2018 was simply how cold it was for so late in the season and to get a repeat in mid March too made this one a good pair of cold snaps. December 2009 was good because it meant a nice festive pre Christmas cold spell and it was really the teaser for what was about to happen after the Christmas period. February 2009 was good because it was the first prolonged cold spell for quite a few years after the generally disappointing winters between the end of the cold of January 1997 and 2007/08 winter.

5th

My final two - December 1997 and February 1996

The first one of these sticks in my memory even if it was very brief. The easterly between 15th and 17th December. Dry and cold but very cold easterly that gave significant windchill. The 17th was when the snow came but that was brief too. Was the only real cold highlight of a winter that was really ruined by the Super Nino

February 19th 1996 although not technically a true easterly was more of a beasterly North easterly. Gale force winds and heavy blizzard like snow showers giving whiteout conditions at times. Will always stick in my memory

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

March 2013, extreme synoptics cross polar easterly flow, more of a NE flow. Exceptionally cold maxima and heavy snow for some for so late in the season.

Late Jan 96, shortlived but it brought heavy snow here, not often the case from an easterly.

Late Dec 96 tamer version of the above

 

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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)

Born in Jan 1986 so have no memory of Jan 87.

For London, Feb 1991 still remains unbeaten in my lifetime, bar ‘87 which I can’t remember.  

Feb 2009 gave us our heaviest snowfall since Feb 1991, but the thaw set in after only a couple of days unfortunately.

Feb/March 2018 BFTE was excellent for the depth of cold, however snowfall totals were still dwarfed by Feb 1991 and Feb 2009. 

Other than that, some of the easterlies of the mid 1990’s were good - Jan/Feb 96 and Dec 96/Jan 97. End Nov/early Dec 2010 also good. 

Edited by danm
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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

1) 26th January 1996 delivered a lot of snow here for an easterly 

2) early February 1991, a snowy easterly

3) late February -early March 2018, that was cold and the strength of the wind.

4) Bitterly cold but not as much snow as with February 1991

5) late December 1996-New Year 1997, under a continuous snow streamer

 

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Posted
  • Location: Cheshire
  • Location: Cheshire
9 hours ago, Chasbrown said:

January 1985 was pretty good for me in Surrey. Can't remember if it came from the East or the North. 

Philip Eden suggests East, with several moderate snowfalls affecting Eastern districts from 5th to 22nd Jan, causing widespread traffic disruption plus lying snow of up to 20-25 cm in eastern parts of Kent, Essex and Suffolk. I was living in South London / Surrey at the time and also remember this month well.

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

maybe not classed as a beast, but this was snowy, think I had 72 hours continuous snow, -12 uppers arriving

archives-1994-2-21-0-0.png

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Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury

Jan 1987

Feb 1991

Feb 1994 (came in two waves about a week apart)

Late Jan 1996

Dec/Jan 1996/7

Jan 2013

Mar 2018 x2

Feb 2009 wasn't quite a beast, it had enough snow but not cold enough by day. Often thawed significantly only to top up again at night. The Jan (and Mar) 2013 cold spells were let down by a lack of really low minima but were better for low maxima so kept the snow cover for longer.

Biggest easterly fails:

1) Feb/Mar 2005- everyone knows about this one

2) Dec 1997- one cold day, couple of hours of snow then it went up to 10C that night

3) Dec 2002- just cloud and little frost

4) Feb 2017- similar to Dec 2002

5) late Dec 2005- OK for frost but very little snow and a very disappointing breakdown, similar to Dec 1997.

 

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Posted
  • Location: Edinburgh (previously Chelmsford and Birmingham)
  • Weather Preferences: Unseasonably cold weather (at all times of year), wind, and thunderstorms.
  • Location: Edinburgh (previously Chelmsford and Birmingham)

Surprised no one's mentioned February 2012 -- was a stunner in Essex. Six inches of snow on the 4th followed by a week of bitterly cold easterlies. Some very low maxima on the 11th (-12C or below in Essex; elsewhere many places in England fell comfortably below -15C).

The CET for the 14-day period commencing on 30th January was -0.7C. Not ultra-severe but certainly worthy of mention.

My memory of specific weather events only goes back to 2009, so my top spots would have to be late March 2013 and late February/early March 2018.

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

Yes January 1985 was a predominantly "easterly" month up until around the 20th, then turned "northerly" at the end of the cold spell.  Not sure if there were any particularly large individual snowfalls but certainly the persistence of the setup led to large aggregate depths in places.

I think the definition of what is and isn't a "beast" is murky, but there are some that clearly qualify.  Since 1980, January 1987, February 1991 and February 2018 are the starkest examples, and I'd also add early January 1982, a couple of the January 1985 ones, mid-February 1985 and late Nov/early Dec 2010.

There are quite a number in the murky grey area where I'm not sure if I'd call it a "beast" or not.  20-22 November 1993, 13-15 and 20-22 February 1994, 5-7 December 1995, 25-27 January 1996, New Year 1996/97, 27-30 December 2005, 2 February 2009, 17 December 2009, and those of January and March 2013.  The late March 2013 one in particular would surely have qualified if it had been a few weeks earlier in the season.   I wouldn't call February 2012 "a beast from the east" as we were very much at the "end of the line" but the continental air mass was so cold that even just being on the edge of it was enough to produce snowfalls when Atlantic fronts collided with the cold air.

Going further back than 1980, I can identify one "beast" in February 1978 and at least two in the winter of 1978/79 (around the New Year and 14 February).  Also mid-March 1979, while not as outstandingly cold, produced exceptional snow depths in the north-east in particular.  You then have to go back quite a while, but the easterly at the end of January 1972 is a possible candidate, and then there were plenty during the 1960s (1969/70 was also a snowy winter, but it came mainly from northerlies).

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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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)

1. Feb 78

2. Dec/Jan 79

3. Feb 91

4. Jan 87

5. Jan 85

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Posted
  • Location: chellaston, derby
  • Weather Preferences: The Actual Weather ..... not fantasy.
  • Location: chellaston, derby
5 minutes ago, cheeky_monkey said:

1. Feb 78

 

Really?..... where?..... i didnt get any here in Derby.

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Posted
  • Location: chellaston, derby
  • Weather Preferences: The Actual Weather ..... not fantasy.
  • Location: chellaston, derby

In terms of snow depth..

December 1990

December 1981

January 1987

February 1979

March 2018?

The 1985 snowfest was mainly in the South i think, we had some but not a lot here in Derby.
I remember deep snow in the winter of 69/70
i was seriously ill in bed in '63 so missed that one

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Posted
  • Location: chellaston, derby
  • Weather Preferences: The Actual Weather ..... not fantasy.
  • Location: chellaston, derby
17 minutes ago, Thundery wintry showers said:

Yes January 1985 was a predominantly "easterly" month up until around the 20th, then turned "northerly" at the end of the cold spell.  Not sure if there were any particularly large individual snowfalls but certainly the persistence of the setup led to large aggregate depths in places.

I think the definition of what is and isn't a "beast" is murky, but there are some that clearly qualify.  Since 1980, January 1987, February 1991 and February 2018 are the starkest examples, and I'd also add early January 1982, a couple of the January 1985 ones, mid-February 1985 and late Nov/early Dec 2010.

There are quite a number in the murky grey area where I'm not sure if I'd call it a "beast" or not.  20-22 November 1993, 13-15 and 20-22 February 1994, 5-7 December 1995, 25-27 January 1996, New Year 1996/97, 27-30 December 2005, 2 February 2009, 17 December 2009, and those of January and March 2013.  The late March 2013 one in particular would surely have qualified if it had been a few weeks earlier in the season.   I wouldn't call February 2012 "a beast from the east" as we were very much at the "end of the line" but the continental air mass was so cold that even just being on the edge of it was enough to produce snowfalls when Atlantic fronts collided with the cold air.

Going further back than 1980, I can identify one "beast" in February 1978 and at least two in the winter of 1978/79 (around the New Year and 14 February).  Also mid-March 1979, while not as outstandingly cold, produced exceptional snow depths in the north-east in particular.  You then have to go back quite a while, but the easterly at the end of January 1972 is a possible candidate, and then there were plenty during the 1960s (1969/70 was also a snowy winter, but it came mainly from northerlies).

The coldest, longest easterly i remember was Feb 86. But it was dry with hardly any snow. The frost penetrated the ground so deep that it was still frozen in early April, it deleayed a huge tree plantic project i was involved with.

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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)
6 minutes ago, mushymanrob said:

Really?..... where?..... i didnt get any here in Derby.

WWW.BBC.CO.UK

Watch archive news film from the winter of 1978 when much of Devon was cut off by the snow.

this..one of the worst blizzards to hit anywhere in the UK during the 20th century

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Posted
  • Location: chellaston, derby
  • Weather Preferences: The Actual Weather ..... not fantasy.
  • Location: chellaston, derby
2 minutes ago, cheeky_monkey said:
WWW.BBC.CO.UK

Watch archive news film from the winter of 1978 when much of Devon was cut off by the snow.

this..one of the worst blizzards to hit anywhere in the UK during the 20th century

Ah yes... it was localised to the South/Southwest... we got nothing here in Derby.

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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)
1 hour ago, Relativistic said:

Surprised no one's mentioned February 2012 -- was a stunner in Essex. Six inches of snow on the 4th followed by a week of bitterly cold easterlies. Some very low maxima on the 11th (-12C or below in Essex; elsewhere many places in England fell comfortably below -15C).

 

Yes true, Feb 2012 was great for the SE however I wasn't sure if could be classed as a BFTE? The heavy snow was essentially a result of Atlantic moisture bumping up against a cold continental feed, rather than a strong easterly with convection off the North Sea or troughs coming in from the east. 

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Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
58 minutes ago, mushymanrob said:

The coldest, longest easterly i remember was Feb 86. But it was dry with hardly any snow. The frost penetrated the ground so deep that it was still frozen in early April, it deleayed a huge tree plantic project i was involved with.

Yes I agree, I intended to mention February 1986 in my post, putting it in the same kind of category as January/March 2013 but more prolonged, but I got so caught up in mentioning other events that I forgot to include it.  I don't think there were any easterly outbreaks in February 1986 that I would call "beasts" but it was easily the most prolonged cold easterly spell since January/February 1963. 

February 1978 also had very deep snowfalls in the north-east from North Sea convection around the 10th, followed by a cold dry spell and then the big snowfalls in the south-west as Atlantic systems made only slow progress against the blocking high to the north that retrogressed from Scandinavia to Greenland.  Thus, there was indeed only snow for some during that spell, but two areas of the country had really exceptional falls.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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Posted
  • Location: Wyke regis overlooking Chesil beach.
  • Weather Preferences: Snowfall
  • Location: Wyke regis overlooking Chesil beach.

If we extend the ranking to the whole of the 20th century and the 21st century so far then in terms of average daily CET temperatures the ranking of the beasts is a somewhat surprising one.

1.    Feb 11th -19th 1929  minus 4.81c

2.    Jan 31st - 4th Feb  1956 minus 4.08c

3.   6th -15th Jan 1982   mimus 4.03c

4    17th - 20th Dec 2010 minus 3.93

5.   7th - 26th Jan 1963  minus 3.56c

6.   20th -29th Jan 1945 minus 3.52c

7.   8th -14th Dec 1981 minus 3.51c

8.    16th -20th Dec 1981 minus 2.62c

9    2nd -6th Jan 1941 minus 2.58c

10. 14th -22nd Jan 1942  minus 2.52c

11. 26th Jan -7th Feb 1954  minus 2.52c

13. 5th -26th Feb 1947 minus 2.46c..

14. 1st -7th Feb    1963 minus 2.06c

15. 15th - 19th Jan 1941 minus 2.04c

 

However by length of sub freezing spell the ranking looks a little different.

1.  1947 22 days 5th -26th Feb

2. 1963  20 days

3.  1940 17 days   24th Dec 1939 -7th Jan1940

4.  1954  13 days

5.  1956  13 days

6.  1986  13 days

7.   1987 12 days

9.   1991 12 days

10. 1962 12 days  (Dec23rd - 3rd Jan 63)

11. 2010 11 days  (17th -27th Dec)

12,  1985 11 days

13.   1982 10 days

14.   1947 10 days  24th Jan -2nd Feb

15.   1940 10 days 10th -19th Feb

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Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
4 hours ago, Thundery wintry showers said:

Yes I agree, I intended to mention February 1986 in my post, putting it in the same kind of category as January/March 2013 but more prolonged, but I got so caught up in mentioning other events that I forgot to include it.  I don't think there were any easterly outbreaks in February 1986 that I would call "beasts" but it was easily the most prolonged cold easterly spell since January/February 1963. 

February 1978 also had very deep snowfalls in the north-east from North Sea convection around the 10th, followed by a cold dry spell and then the big snowfalls in the south-west as Atlantic systems made only slow progress against the blocking high to the north that retrogressed from Scandinavia to Greenland.  Thus, there was indeed only snow for some during that spell, but two areas of the country had really exceptional falls.

Feb 1986 was one of the most easterly months of the last century or so, but snowfall was limited to eastern fringes, and far SW. There was no widespread long fetch easterly episode with blizzards, so in my book doesn't rank as a beast. It was persistantly cold, means often below 0 degrees throughout whole month.

Someone mentioned Feb 1994, there was a brief mini beast mid-month, remember it delivered heavy snow showers here, but amounts were not that much and it was shortlived. Temperatures were not that cold. The snowy spell later in the month came courtesy of atlantic fronts stalling in cold air, were meant to traverse north but came unstuck. I enjoyed Feb 1994 for its variety.

Feb 2012 - very cold first 12 days but no beast.

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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)
14 minutes ago, Broadmayne blizzard said:

If we extend the ranking to the whole of the 20th century and the 21st century so far then in terms of average daily CET temperatures the ranking of the beasts is a somewhat surprising one.

1.    Feb 11th -19th 1929  minus 4.81c

2.    Jan 31st - 4th Feb  1956 minus 4.08c

3.   6th -15th Jan 1982   mimus 4.03c

4    17th - 20th Dec 2010 minus 3.93

5.   7th - 26th Jan 1963  minus 3.56c

6.   20th -29th Jan 1945 minus 3.52c

7.   8th -14th Dec 1981 minus 3.51c

8.    16th -20th Dec 1981 minus 2.62c

9    2nd -6th Jan 1941 minus 2.58c

10. 14th -22nd Jan 1942  minus 2.52c

11. 26th Jan -7th Feb 1954  minus 2.52c

13. 5th -26th Feb 1947 minus 2.46c..

14. 1st -7th Feb    1963 minus 2.06c

15. 15th - 19th Jan 1941 minus 2.04c

 

However by length of sub freezing spell the ranking looks a little different.

1.  1947 22 days 5th -26th Feb

2. 1963  20 days

3.  1940 17 days   24th Dec 1939 -7th Jan1940

4.  1954  13 days

5.  1956  13 days

6.  1986  13 days

7.   1987 12 days

9.   1991 12 days

10. 1962 12 days  (Dec23rd - 3rd Jan 63)

11. 2010 11 days  (17th -27th Dec)

12,  1985 11 days

13.   1982 10 days

14.   1947 10 days  24th Jan -2nd Feb

15.   1940 10 days 10th -19th Feb

looking at Heathrow they recorded 28 days of sub zero temps from Feb 4th - Mar 4th 1986

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Posted
  • Location: Whitefield, Manchester @ 100m
  • Location: Whitefield, Manchester @ 100m

23rd March 2013 - the worst possible week for a canal holiday in West Yorkshire!
 

 

DF7793B7-BC99-450E-A68F-7456F0A87375.jpeg

Edited by Alexis
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Posted
  • Location: Shepton Mallet Somerset
  • Weather Preferences: Seasonal
  • Location: Shepton Mallet Somerset
On 07/01/2021 at 15:22, cheeky_monkey said:
WWW.BBC.CO.UK

Watch archive news film from the winter of 1978 when much of Devon was cut off by the snow.

this..one of the worst blizzards to hit anywhere in the UK during the 20th century

Remember it well, started on a Saturday evening, the wind was absolutely howling, we had hedge high drifts here in Somerset 

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