Jump to content
Thunder?
Local
Radar
Pollen
IGNORED

January 1984 snowy cold zonality


damianslaw
 Share

Recommended Posts

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

    Mentions of cold zonality and January has me wondering what were the base state conditions during Jan 1984. The month was an exceptionally snowy one in the north half of the UK. Cold zonality the reason. I think the PV was very strong to the NW and proves cold snowy weather can occur without northern blocking or affect of SSW.

    I was only 5 at the time and sadly have no memory of the winter. 

    Welcome memories and perspectives and understanding what caused the snowy cold zonal weather.

    Feb and March 84 also brought alot of polar maritime air as well. Dec 83 however was very mild.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    • Replies 9
    • Created
    • Last Reply

    Top Posters In This Topic

    Posted
  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and heatwave
  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft

    I thought Jan 1984 was very mild as my teacher (A Levels) had a strong interest in the weather. Probably wrong given the above

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
  • Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire
    On 31/12/2021 at 11:47, damianslaw said:

    Mentions of cold zonality and January has me wondering what were the base state conditions during Jan 1984. The month was an exceptionally snowy one in the north half of the UK. Cold zonality the reason. I think the PV was very strong to the NW and proves cold snowy weather can occur without northern blocking or affect of SSW.

    I was only 5 at the time and sadly have no memory of the winter. 

    Welcome memories and perspectives and understanding what caused the snowy cold zonal weather.

    Feb and March 84 also brought alot of polar maritime air as well. Dec 83 however was very mild.

    January 1984 was in my opinion up there as one of the most interesting periods of weather - no significant northern blocking and a great deal of polar maritime zonality giving frequent snowfalls to the northern half of the UK - it is a classic example of how it is still possible to see significant snowfall in the UK from an Atlantic flow if it orientates favourably to be of a polar maritime origin instead of tropical maritime.  I am not sure that February 1984 brought as much polar maritime air though - I believe that much of that month was anticyclonic with a fair amount of fog and frost with not much snow about.  I actually think that December 1983 did see some colder weather in the first half, but had a very mild second half especially over the Christmas period, before things improved going into January.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

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

    January 1984 was exceptionally cold over eastern Canada and scoops of that cold air kept crossing the North Atlantic to the British Isles.  It was a fairly mild month in the south where there were more incursions of tropical maritime air and the cold polar maritime air had to cross a larger expanse of ocean, but the north stayed mostly under the polar maritime air which was often cold enough to produce snow rather than rain or sleet.  As a result, the south had a high frequency of sleet/snow falling but not much on the ground, while from the north Midlands northwards and on high ground further south both falling and lying snow were frequent.  Northern Ireland and Scotland were particularly snowy.

    It was also notable for unusually high thundery activity in many parts of the country.  RAF Waddington near Lincoln reported thunderstorms with snow on the 3rd and 26th.  Thundersnow also occurred quite widely around the 13th-15th.

    The snowiest spell of the month was generally the 22nd-25th which had a setup quite similar to that of 5-7 February 1996.  A northerly outbreak on 19 January resulted in a pool of cold air settling over the British Isles, giving some very low minima in Scotland, and then frontal systems pushed in from the west and collided with the cold air, giving heavy snow generally from the north Midlands northwards.  Snow showers followed behind in the westerly flow on the 25th.

    Sunshine was well above normal towards the south-east of the UK, but near normal in most other regions.  I'm guessing that this might be because the SE didn't see many showers in the westerly & north-westerly incursions, and frontal systems often passed through overnight.

    In recent years I thought of mid to late January 2015 as a watered down version of the same kind of setup.  There have been other approaches - the third weel of January 2018 and around 11 February 2018, and in late January 2019, but the attempts in January & February 2020 generally disappointed at low levels.

    As for the rest of winter 1983/84, there was indeed a cold snap around 10-13 December 1983, via a northerly outbreak followed by frontal systems taking a while to clear the cold air mass.  February 1984 also had a chilly-ish north-westerly around the 6th-8th, though I don't think lying snow was widespread from that, even in the north.  Cold weather in late February and March 1984 came about via easterlies. 

     

    Edited by Thundery wintry showers
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: NR Worthing SE Coast
  • Location: NR Worthing SE Coast

    Jan 1984 was very severe in the highlands from what I remember with 3o ft snow drifts in the Cairngorms,but even low 0level northern areas had decent snowfalls

    Edited by SLEETY
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

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

    A bit of a no-show in the south unfortunately - along with 1983, 1988 and 1989 this stands out as one of the most Atlantic-driven Januaries of the 1980s. There was a pattern in the 1980s that the leap years (and 1989) produced the snowless winters - all the others had some snow.

    Main memories are lots of rain (and consequently, frequent cancellations of games at school), though I do remember one or two short-lived colder, bright periods - it wasn't quite the extreme mildfest seen in 1988 or 1989.

    Edited by Summer8906
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

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

    Thanks for recollections. It was a very snowy month in the Lake District. Many low level valleys had over a foot of snow from mid month onwards. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

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

    Going through archives, looks very snowy for northern hills, not much in the south though, but more than same setup would bring now, even 0.3C average higher temps can have a big effect on southern snow

    image.thumb.png.97ee017f3e91b1fb545234553915a5dd.png

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

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

    Just recalled another anecdote, my father was working near the west coast of Scotland near Helensburgh in January 1984 and he says that it was mainly wet snow where he was, but that there was deep snow just a little way inland, which would be consistent with the "westerly" snowfalls midmonth.

    Edited by Thundery wintry showers
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Posted
  • Location: Biddulph, Staffordshire Moorlands 750f ABSL
  • Location: Biddulph, Staffordshire Moorlands 750f ABSL

    Slightly off topic but Marco Petagna has just made this excellent tweet showing how snow days have become rarer in January

     

    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
     Share

    • August thunderstorms bring the risk of flooding and disruption

      Any rain should be welcome looking at the parched ground but intense downpours aren't enough. Thunderstorms bring the risk of flash flooding as the rain hits the hard, dry ground. Read the full update here

      Netweather forecasts
      Netweather forecasts
      Latest weather updates from Netweather

      UK Storm and Severe Convective Forecast

      UK Severe Convective & Storm Forecast - Issued 2022-08-16 06:11:14 Valid: 16/08/2022 0600 - 17/08/2022 0600 THUNDERSTORM WATCH - TUES 16TH AUG 2022 Click here for the full forecast

      Nick F
      Nick F
      Latest weather updates from Netweather

      UK Storm and Severe Convective Forecast

      UK Severe Convective & Storm Forecast - Issued 2022-08-15 07:58:06 Valid: 15/08/2022 0600 - 16/08/2022 0600 THUNDERSTORM WATCH - MON 15TH AUGUST 2022 Click here for the full forecast

      Nick F
      Nick F
      Latest weather updates from Netweather 1
    ×
    ×
    • Create New...