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Winter 1985/86 - the "other" snowy spells?


Summer8906
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Posted
  • Location: Hampshire
  • Weather Preferences: Bright weather. Warm sunny thundery summers, short cold winters.
  • Location: Hampshire

    Most of us either remember, or have heard of, the epic February of this winter.

    However I'm wondering whether anyone has any memories of 'other' snowy spells during this winter, particularly in the south? Monthly Weather Report suggests wintry weather at times in November (which has already come up in a previous thread) but also in early January when a protracted 'battleground' setup appeared to occur with mild air taking about a week to push in. I remember a cold and wet New Years Eve but don't have any clear memories of the early days of the new year.

    I'm trying to remember whether we actually got snow down here (thinking of the W Sussex, Surrey, Hants area in particular, but anywhere south of London would be of interest) other than in February. MWR suggests most of the action was further north. Anyone have any memories?

    Edited by Summer8906
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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    It turned cold on Boxing Day think we had a bit of snow and the last week of December was generally cold. Early January brought slider frontal systems bumping into cold air..  think we had 2 or 3 snowfalls nothing substantive. The rest of January was very average with not much snow before turning very cold at the tail end.

    The period November 85 to April 86 was anamously cold apart from most of December. It included a very cold November, one of the coldest Februaries of last 150 years and a cold March and very cold April. 

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    Posted
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
    1 hour ago, Summer8906 said:

    I'm trying to remember whether we actually got snow down here (thinking of the W Sussex, Surrey, Hants area in particular, but anywhere south of London would be of interest) other than in February. MWR suggests most of the action was further north. Anyone have any memories?

    I remember it being cold after Christmas with a little snow (near Woking).  I think there was the odd flurry during January, but the first significant snow did not fall until the evening of February 5th.  Some smaller snowfalls occurred throughout the rest of February, before a more sizeable one on March 1st.

    Edited by Don
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    Posted
  • Location: Dundee
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, thunderstorms, gales. All extremes except humidity.
  • Location: Dundee

    For many Feb 1986 was very cold but mostly dry. We actually ended up a touch milder than further south because of the winds coming from the East over a longer stretch of water but as a consequence also much snowier. W e had to wait until 2009/10 here for more official snow lying days?  
    November 1985 was cold and wintry at times. 
    December 1985 quite mild but snowy at the end.

    January 1986 average but again with a snowy end.

    March and April 1986 were also both rather cold.

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    There was a snowfall on the first Saturday (4th) of 1986 here. Always stuck in my head, Michael Fish gave a forecast of rain preceded by snow. It started snowing aound midday and lasted until late afternoon but it never turned to rain. There was a heavy snow shower the following Sunday afternoon. Was back at school on the Monday and the playground had become an ice rink, that was great fun. Remember expecting snow Tuesday but it took ages to get here. I remember lamp post watching when it finally reached here in the evening. The snow finally thawed on the Thursday. 

     

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheshire
  • Location: Cheshire

    Philip Eden recalls a bitterly cold February, the coldest February of the 20th century apart from 1947. There was generally little snow except on the 6th and 7th when 15-25cm fell in parts of the Home Counties, Hampshire and the IOW. I was living in S London / Surrey at the time and I have to say I don't recall much snow, unlike the following winter, Jan 1987 in particular, which I well remember for its snow and severe cold. 

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

    I think that snowfalls were frequent during February 1986; but I believe that snowfall was mostly in the form of showers and was frequent but mostly light, but what they were not is heavy blizzards such as of the likes of notable snowfalls like Jan 1987, Feb 1991.  Of course as is often the case with snowfall, some parts of the country were more favoured and got more than others in Feb 1986.

    Edited by North-Easterly Blast
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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
    15 hours ago, North-Easterly Blast said:

    I think that snowfalls were frequent during February 1986; but I believe that snowfall was mostly in the form of showers and was frequent but mostly light, but what they were not is heavy blizzards such as of the likes of notable snowfalls like Jan 1987, Feb 1991.  Of course as is often the case with snowfall, some parts of the country were more favoured and got more than others in Feb 1986.

    Feb 86 is forgotten by most because there was little snowfall. A few eastern coastal parts did quite well and there was some snow in far SW around 19th I think.

    Feb 85, 91 and 96 were much snowier but much less cold. 

     

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    Posted
  • Location: Hampshire
  • Weather Preferences: Bright weather. Warm sunny thundery summers, short cold winters.
  • Location: Hampshire

    I do remember Feb 86 being snowy in the sense that there was one heavy snowfall on Thursday 6th, which then remained on the ground for some time due to persistent low temperatures. Then there was another one on March 1st which topped up the by now worn and partly-melted earlier cover. I think if I remember right, some snow laid on the ground for the whole time between the snowfalls. Also remember the persistent and locked-in cold, which was longer in duration than some of the other 80s cold spells.

    So where I was (Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire border area) it was quite a notable event.

    Thanks for the other replies regarding the rest of the winter. Sounds like January 1986 was an old-fashioned average January, of the sort which is rare these days.

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    Posted
  • Location: Caterham-on-the-hill, Surrey, 190m asl (home), Heathrow (work)
  • Location: Caterham-on-the-hill, Surrey, 190m asl (home), Heathrow (work)

    I'd have been 10 years old and living in Kent, but do remember it fairly well, there wasn't much snow, but I remember most of Feb 1986 being very cold in the bitter easterly wind for days and days, despite being mostly sunny. The pond in my neighbours garden was frozen all the way down so we could walk across it and there were some very large icicles. 

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    Posted
  • Location: halifax 125m
  • Weather Preferences: extremes the unusual and interesting facts
  • Location: halifax 125m

    Just found some old records i kept here in the Pennines where i used to live at 340 Metres,am sure some of you will wish you were there.Not as amazing as 1979 but certainly the coldest persistant spell i have experienced in February.

    October 1985,midmonth had a very warm and sunny spell

    November 1985 .Frost and very cold weather on the 3rd,11,12,13,18,19,20,21,22,23,24

    Snow days 10th,25,26,29

    December 1985 Wet and windy for much of the month until Xmas,frost arriving on 26th and very cold into the new year

    January 1986 snow days on 2nd,8th,23,28,29,30,31,frost and showers mixed between earlier in the month.

    February 1986 Snow on every day between 28th Jan and 8th Feb,also snowed on 12,13,14,15,16,23,25,26.Most of this was blown around in a stiff easterly wind drifting snow for most of the time,we used our snowblower twice a day in this period.

    March 1986 Cold persisted until the 4th when rain arrived with a thaw.Snow also on 16th March,23rd and 24th with heavy snow before a thaw on the 25th.Snow showers all day on the 31st.

    April 1986  Snow on 1st and 4th.Much of the snow had been around a long time and had become hard in drifts and gullies,many patches under the walls persisted late into April despite becoming milder with showers.

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    Posted
  • Location: Dunstable 446ft ASL
  • Weather Preferences: cold with frost & snow in winter; hot and dry in summer
  • Location: Dunstable 446ft ASL
    14 minutes ago, hillbilly said:

    Just found some old records i kept here in the Pennines where i used to live at 340 Metres,am sure some of you will wish you were there.Not as amazing as 1979 but certainly the coldest persistant spell i have experienced in February.

    October 1985,midmonth had a very warm and sunny spell

    November 1985 .Frost and very cold weather on the 3rd,11,12,13,18,19,20,21,22,23,24

    Snow days 10th,25,26,29

    December 1985 Wet and windy for much of the month until Xmas,frost arriving on 26th and very cold into the new year

    January 1986 snow days on 2nd,8th,23,28,29,30,31,frost and showers mixed between earlier in the month.

    February 1986 Snow on every day between 28th Jan and 8th Feb,also snowed on 12,13,14,15,16,23,25,26.Most of this was blown around in a stiff easterly wind drifting snow for most of the time,we used our snowblower twice a day in this period.

    March 1986 Cold persisted until the 4th when rain arrived with a thaw.Snow also on 16th March,23rd and 24th with heavy snow before a thaw on the 25th.Snow showers all day on the 31st.

    April 1986  Snow on 1st and 4th.Much of the snow had been around a long time and had become hard in drifts and gullies,many patches under the walls persisted late into April despite becoming milder with showers.

    Thank you for sharing- I was visiting my girlfriend (now my wife - but end of life with frontal temporal dementia) who was at Huddersfield polytechnic. Went up there two or three times in February and early March - very snowy and freezing cold - wearing socks and gloves in bed together- happy days - loved visiting West Yorkshire from 1984 - 1987. 
     

    my worst experience was driving up on a Friday night first weekend in March 1987 - heavy snow and really poor visibility- by the grace of god I am still here ! 

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    Posted
  • Location: halifax 125m
  • Weather Preferences: extremes the unusual and interesting facts
  • Location: halifax 125m
    5 minutes ago, Dunstable Snow said:

    Thank you for sharing- I was visiting my girlfriend (now my wife - but end of life with frontal temporal dementia) who was at Huddersfield polytechnic. Went up there two or three times in February and early March - very snowy and freezing cold - wearing socks and gloves in bed together- happy days - loved visiting West Yorkshire from 1984 - 1987. 
     

    my worst experience was driving up on a Friday night first weekend in March 1987 - heavy snow and really poor visibility- by the grace of god I am still here ! 

    Ironically,i was at Polytechnic myself at Stafford at that time and travelled back up the M6 probably around 4pm on March 6th 1987.My diary says it snowed at night so i guess i missed driving in it but it does say Snow and wind all day Saturday and was filling our lane in with drifts.We also ventured to Huddersfield that day and struggled to get home later.It didnt stop us going out for refreshments in Halifax that night i do remember almost getting stuck despite my friend having chains on his Chivette,although i did stop at a friends lower down the valley as i couldnt get home,great times.

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    Posted
  • Location: Dunstable 446ft ASL
  • Weather Preferences: cold with frost & snow in winter; hot and dry in summer
  • Location: Dunstable 446ft ASL
    2 minutes ago, hillbilly said:

    Ironically,i was at Polytechnic myself at Stafford at that time and travelled back up the M6 probably around 4pm on March 6th 1987.My diary says it snowed at night so i guess i missed driving in it but it does say Snow and wind all day Saturday and was filling our lane in with drifts.We also ventured to Huddersfield that day and struggled to get home later.It didnt stop us going out for refreshments in Halifax that night i do remember almost getting stuck despite my friend having chains on his Chivette,although i did stop at a friends lower down the valley as i couldnt get home,great times.

    Great diary notes - I travelled up from Dunstable to Huddersfield on that Friday night - heavy snow all the way up the M1 but I didn’t hit problems until the turn off at Barnsley anD journey from their to Huddersfield-

    complete white out on a crossroads - went straight across when should have tuned left - didn’t even realise it was a crossroads ! We went to a pub just outside Halifax on Saturday lunchtime but by early afternoon it was snowing heavily -

    snowed all night as  I remember. Happy days -

    look back on them very fondly.

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    Posted
  • Location: Hampshire
  • Weather Preferences: Bright weather. Warm sunny thundery summers, short cold winters.
  • Location: Hampshire
    12 hours ago, hillbilly said:

    March 1986 Cold persisted until the 4th when rain arrived with a thaw.Snow also on 16th March,23rd and 24th with heavy snow before a thaw on the 25th.Snow showers all day on the 31st.

    April 1986  Snow on 1st and 4th.Much of the snow had been around a long time and had become hard in drifts and gullies,many patches under the walls persisted late into April despite becoming milder with showers.

    I remember the late snow in April though didn't settle down in the south where I was.

    March had ended with a notably windy spell for the past 10 days or so and this progressively got colder, before winds switched to the NE on the 1st and there followed a few days with bright weather and thundery snow showers on a NE wind.

    The whole of April was cold apparently, though only the first few days really stand out. I seem to remember the second week had a lot of dry, cloudy weather with extensive Sc sheets, and presumably it was still cold though can't remember clearly. There's then a blank in my memory (possibly related to returning to school, while the above corresponded to the Easter holidays) before a late April warm spell that I recall as being the first vaguely warm weather of the year. It reached around 16-18C I think, so not spectacular for late April, but warmer than anything up to that point. I also remember, while it was mostly bright, the warmth set off isolated showers. Wind was from the east.

    May is also something of a blank that year (unusual for May) but what memories I do have are largely dry and cloudy, with a wet Saturday morning round midmonth. Going back to the records, it looks like it was unusually zonal for May - but I don't remember it being particularly wet.

    Edited by Summer8906
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    Posted
  • Location: halifax 125m
  • Weather Preferences: extremes the unusual and interesting facts
  • Location: halifax 125m
    23 hours ago, Summer8906 said:

    I remember the late snow in April though didn't settle down in the south where I was.

    March had ended with a notably windy spell for the past 10 days or so and this progressively got colder, before winds switched to the NE on the 1st and there followed a few days with bright weather and thundery snow showers on a NE wind.

    The whole of April was cold apparently, though only the first few days really stand out. I seem to remember the second week had a lot of dry, cloudy weather with extensive Sc sheets, and presumably it was still cold though can't remember clearly. There's then a blank in my memory (possibly related to returning to school, while the above corresponded to the Easter holidays) before a late April warm spell that I recall as being the first vaguely warm weather of the year. It reached around 16-18C I think, so not spectacular for late April, but warmer than anything up to that point. I also remember, while it was mostly bright, the warmth set off isolated showers. Wind was from the east.

    May is also something of a blank that year (unusual for May) but what memories I do have are largely dry and cloudy, with a wet Saturday morning round midmonth. Going back to the records, it looks like it was unusually zonal for May - but I don't remember it being particularly wet.

    April was indeed cold,there hasnt been a colder one in over a Century.From my logs it seems a persistant cool month throughout rather than stand out very cold spells.It was mainly dry with showers with a wet period midmonth and becoming warmer on the 26th.

    May had a very warm first few days then was showery most of the monthwith warm days on the 16th and 23rd,some cold between and a cold end to the month.

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    Posted
  • Location: Hampshire
  • Weather Preferences: Bright weather. Warm sunny thundery summers, short cold winters.
  • Location: Hampshire
    5 hours ago, hillbilly said:

    April was indeed cold,there hasnt been a colder one in over a Century.From my logs it seems a persistant cool month throughout rather than stand out very cold spells.It was mainly dry with showers with a wet period midmonth and becoming warmer on the 26th.

    May had a very warm first few days then was showery most of the monthwith warm days on the 16th and 23rd,some cold between and a cold end to the month.

    Interesting that I have no memory of the warm first few days of May, though I have confirmed that this did indeed happen. Compared to other Mays of the 80s, it's remarkable how few memories of May 1986 I do have. In contrast, I have plenty of 1985 and 1987, including weather. Perhaps the weather was just uninteresting where I was (the south), with days and days on end of cloudy conditions with the odd bit of light rain from time to time; in a zonal pattern this is quite possible. I do remember dry and cloudy conditions for the late May holiday weekend which persisted into the half-term week, and that wet Saturday morning (likely to have been the 17th, I think) but that's it.

    I think August 1982 was synoptically similar to May 1986 (apart from a warm start) and for an August during my school days (i.e summer holidays) it's remarkable how few memories I have of it also, in sharp contrast to the surrounding Augusts of 1981 and 1983.

    Edited by Summer8906
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