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Memories of 1988


Sunny76
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Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London

    One of the least interesting years for weather in the 80s, and this was during my first year at high school.

    During this time we were informed by our English teacher of the dangers of using deodorants, and their impact on the environment. This was around the time of the hole in the ozone layer, and probably the first time I was made aware of terms like ‘global warming’ or ‘greenhouse effect’.

    1988 definitely seemed to be the first year when more warmer records were being set, and this coincided with our first very mild winter of 1987/88.

    The first time we didn’t see snow in London for a number of years, and it felt strange at the time, but I think personally, it was possibly down to the harsh January of 1987 and how unusual that event was. 
     

    January and February weren’t that memorable, but I vaguely remember it being sunnier than normal, and this trend continued into the spring, along with warmer than average temps.

    April felt summer like at times, and there was a thunderstorm on a Monday evening. 
     

    May was also quite warm, and more storms moved into the London area overnight on a Saturday. This was a hot period, plus more humid and thundery weather moved in on the Sunday. Think it was mid May, but can’t remember exactly.

    I have no memory of June, apart from a holiday to Torquay, and think the weather was average summer temps with decent spells of sunny weather.

    Have no memory of the cold and wet July, but do recall a few hot days in early August.

    Autumn was forgettable, apart from a warmish weekend in early October. Christmas Day was mild dull and dry.

    Edited by Sunny76
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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    The mild winter of 1987/88 stood out at the time after a run of generally cold, snowy winters from 1977 to 1987.  A couple of members of the Climatological Observers' Link noted similarities between that winter and the winters of 1974/75 and 1975/76 and wondered if 1988 was going to be a hot dry sunny summer along similar lines to 1975 and 1976.  Then of course came that infamous July...

    February 1988 produced record breaking sunshine totals in many southern and eastern parts of England (though subsequently beaten by the Februarys of 2008 and 2019), and locally it had more sunshine than June 1987.  In the Weather Log it was noted that this was the first February for a while when easterly winds were absent, although there were some (fairly tame) northerlies late in the month.  At my current local Met Office weather station, Waddington, there was a frontal snow event on 22 January 1988 caused by a secondary low in a polar maritime air mass, and a couple of dustings from the northerlies of late February, and another brief snowfall in mid-March.  Thus, by today's standards it wouldn't stand out as an unusually snowless winter, but compared with the winters of 1977-87, it would have seemed unusually mild and snowless.

    June 1988 was a generally dry settled month, but persistent NE winds brought frequent cool cloudy weather to the east and south.  It was warm and sunny over much of Scotland though.

    Waddington had 8 days of thunder in July 1988, mainly from a showery thundery first week, but the rest of the month was generally dull and wet, and at times windy.  The west and south-west had a particularly grim month: in Weatherwise Philip Eden noted that at Plymouth, the highest max in July 1988 was just 18.3C, and, in contrast, in July 1989, the temperature exceeded that value on 28 days out of 31.  Lancaster's stats for July 1988 included a mean max of 16.3C and just 111 hours of sunshine.

    Trevor Harley noted that a cold November and mild December stuck out this year.  November was generally dry, sunny and anticyclonic, but is most remembered for its northerly outbreak around the 20th which brought widespread snow, but the high pressure then repositioned to the south for December bringing a mild anticyclonic/westerly type, which then persisted almost without a break until mid-February 1989.

     

    Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    I recall, I think it was Bill Giles doing the forecast on the evening of 21st January 1988 warning there could be snow overnight. Woke up next morning and was disappointed to see nothing but there must have a small band or area of snow that came over my area because I got a surprise to see snow falling when I next looked out of the window and it was lying. The next  morning I recall snow falling heavily that Saturday morning but it had stopped by midday and the thaw was underway.

    The standout of February 1988 for me was the severe gale of the evening of 9th. That was a real blow also sleet with it. The next morning going to school, passed the Rumblelows store and part of the gable had collapsed because of the gale. Do remember a Thursday evening where sleet and wet snow falling and a Saturday where it snowed for a short time. 

    July was a washout, there was a Saturday, I think it was when the Open was being played, it just rained all day. 

    Recall camping with my uncle, aunt and a cousin one weekend in August at Morecambe and the weather being cloudy and some rain. I think an IRA atrocity happened that weekend.

    Remember the evening before going back to school after the summer holidays, you could see lightning in the distance flashing away, I stayed up as along as I could watching it getting gradually closer. The next day there was thunder.

    There was another storm in the middle of October during the evening. That was quite loud. 

    I think the UK snooker championship were being held when it snowed during the early hours here in mid-late November. Recall the snow cover. 

    There was a pathetic easterly at the start of December, disappointed that it delivered nothing but a little bit of sleet in showers. Had no ideas of 850hpas in those days, just assumed easterly =snow chances.

    Went to the cinema with a few schoolmates to watch "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" the day after the Lockerbie disaster, Christmas/New Year period was very mild. 

     

    Edited by Weather-history
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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)
    22 hours ago, Sunny76 said:

    One of the least interesting years for weather in the 80s, and this was during my first year at high school.

    During this time we were informed by our English teacher of the dangers of using deodorants, and their impact on the environment. This was around the time of the hole in the ozone layer, and probably the first time I was made aware of terms like ‘global warming’ or ‘greenhouse effect’.

    1988 definitely seemed to be the first year when more warmer records were being set, and this coincided with our first very mild winter of 1987/88.

    The first time we didn’t see snow in London for a number of years, and it felt strange at the time, but I think personally, it was possibly down to the harsh January of 1987 and how unusual that event was. 
     

    January and February weren’t that memorable, but I vaguely remember it being sunnier than normal, and this trend continued into the spring, along with warmer than average temps.

    April felt summer like at times, and there was a thunderstorm on a Monday evening. 
     

    May was also quite warm, and more storms moved into the London area overnight on a Saturday. This was a hot period, plus more humid and thundery weather moved in on the Sunday. Think it was mid May, but can’t remember exactly.

    I have no memory of June, apart from a holiday to Torquay, and think the weather was average summer temps with decent spells of sunny weather.

    Have no memory of the cold and wet July, but do recall a few hot days in early August.

    Autumn was forgettable, apart from a warmish weekend in early October. Christmas Day was mild dull and dry.

    it did snow in London in January 1988 i remember being stuck on a train from Chelmsford to Liverpool St somewhere around seven sisters "allegedly due to the snow" it was a one day event from memory it also snowed in April 1988 again another one day even that didn't amount to much

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

    A mild Jan and Feb with limited snow. Spring fairly average. A very poor summer. July and August were exceptionally wet and dull. A washout summer school holidays not good for a 10 year old wanting to be out all the time.

    Sept no memories. October ditto. Cold Halloween. November was dry cold dont remember any snow. Dec snowless exceptionally mild. 

    Not one redeeming feature 1988.

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    Incredible extremes in summer 1988. Dramatic switch of weather type at end of June. In the Scotland rainfall series [period of record 1931-present], June 1988 is the driest June in the series, July 1988 is the wettest July in the series.

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    Posted
  • Location: Islington
  • Weather Preferences: Freezing cold snowy winters & unsettled summers.
  • Location: Islington

    After a series of mild, albeit unexceptional months from December 1987 to May 1988 there was then a sequence of some rather chilly months that continued right up until December, almost ending on cue.

    Numbers in brackets show the cumulative anomaly 

    January: +1.4 (+1.4) / February: +0.9 (+2.3) / March: +0.6 (+2.9) / April: +0.1 (+3.0) / May: +0.5 (+3.5) / June: N/A (+3.5) / July: -1.4 (+2.1) / August: -0.6 (+1.5) / September:  -0.3 (+1.2) / October: +0.2 (+1.4) / November: -1.0 (+0.4) / December: +3.1 (+3.5)

    Similar to 1993 in this regard, though with less pronounced anomalies (except for December). Annual anomaly around +0.3 above the 20th century average and around -0.5 below 1991-2020.

    Whether the winter of 1987/1988 was the true start of the climatological shift or just happened to be a mild one is a guess - historically, the winter of 1987/1988 isn't an overly mild winter and certainly doesn't strike me as exceptional. Place it within the 2000s or even the first half of the 20th century and it would seem like an ordinary winter - as stated, it was its placement after a decade of mostly cold and snowy winters. I think for the south the winter of 1983/1984 was mild and relatively snowfree and as a whole probably 1975/1976 for the whole country. I wonder if at the time the prolonged "mild" spell from late-December to May was deemed unusual. Reports show that May 1988 in places was the first May without frost since 1970 - it tended to be a very modest month in this time period. It probably seemed like the weather was going back to its cold self come the summer and autumn, especially November - but even December probably wouldn't have seemed that unusual as it had been 7 years since a cold and snowy December - the 1980s had lots of mild Decembers. It seems 1988/1989 was the first sign that things were really out of ordinary. A generation of people who saw big snowfalls every winter would - in places - go on and have to wait 3-4 years (winter 1990/1991) - that absolutely must have been notable even for those who aren't the slightest bit interested in weather.

    Other reports I've read about 1988 is the very wet nature of the winter, the extremely changeable April, the severe thunderstorms of the 8th/9th of May, the poor weather of July and August, the cold and snowy November and the bone dry, mild, evergreen December.

    The chart for the 8th of December, 1988 is almost historical in a way - after the remnants of a very tame easterly/northerly spell the winds backed west. While the weather itself was benign, you could argue from this day onward the UK's climate would never be the same again (bar some blips).

    image.thumb.png.b626895e17a2433c879cb32db2816a5c.png

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
    14 minutes ago, LetItSnow! said:

    After a series of mild, albeit unexceptional months from December 1987 to May 1988 there was then a sequence of some rather chilly months that continued right up until December, almost ending on cue.

    Numbers in brackets show the cumulative anomaly 

    January: +1.4 (+1.4) / February: +0.9 (+2.3) / March: +0.6 (+2.9) / April: +0.1 (+3.0) / May: +0.5 (+3.5) / June: N/A (+3.5) / July: -1.4 (+2.1) / August: -0.6 (+1.5) / September:  -0.3 (+1.2) / October: +0.2 (+1.4) / November: -1.0 (+0.4) / December: +3.1 (+3.5)

    Similar to 1993 in this regard, though with less pronounced anomalies (except for December). Annual anomaly around +0.3 above the 20th century average and around -0.5 below 1991-2020.

    Whether the winter of 1987/1988 was the true start of the climatological shift or just happened to be a mild one is a guess - historically, the winter of 1987/1988 isn't an overly mild winter and certainly doesn't strike me as exceptional. Place it within the 2000s or even the first half of the 20th century and it would seem like an ordinary winter - as stated, it was its placement after a decade of mostly cold and snowy winters. I think for the south the winter of 1983/1984 was mild and relatively snowfree and as a whole probably 1975/1976 for the whole country. I wonder if at the time the prolonged "mild" spell from late-December to May was deemed unusual. Reports show that May 1988 in places was the first May without frost since 1970 - it tended to be a very modest month in this time period. It probably seemed like the weather was going back to its cold self come the summer and autumn, especially November - but even December probably wouldn't have seemed that unusual as it had been 7 years since a cold and snowy December - the 1980s had lots of mild Decembers. It seems 1988/1989 was the first sign that things were really out of ordinary. A generation of people who saw big snowfalls every winter would - in places - go on and have to wait 3-4 years (winter 1990/1991) - that absolutely must have been notable even for those who aren't the slightest bit interested in weather.

    Other reports I've read about 1988 is the very wet nature of the winter, the extremely changeable April, the severe thunderstorms of the 8th/9th of May, the poor weather of July and August, the cold and snowy November and the bone dry, mild, evergreen December.

    The chart for the 8th of December, 1988 is almost historical in a way - after the remnants of a very tame easterly/northerly spell the winds backed west. While the weather itself was benign, you could argue from this day onward the UK's climate would never be the same again (bar some blips).

    image.thumb.png.b626895e17a2433c879cb32db2816a5c.png

    An eerie look to that chart, two eyes and a scary mouth over the UK... an omen to come..

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    Posted
  • Location: Islington
  • Weather Preferences: Freezing cold snowy winters & unsettled summers.
  • Location: Islington
    1 minute ago, damianslaw said:

    An eerie look to that chart, two eyes and a scary mouth over the UK... an omen to come..

    Perhaps the mild monster... Two words, bog off! ❄️

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    • 3 months later...
    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
    On 25/03/2022 at 17:50, Weather-history said:

    I recall, I think it was Bill Giles doing the forecast on the evening of 21st January 1988 warning there could be snow overnight. Woke up next morning and was disappointed to see nothing but there must have a small band or area of snow that came over my area because I got a surprise to see snow falling when I next looked out of the window and it was lying. The next  morning I recall snow falling heavily that Saturday morning but it had stopped by midday and the thaw was underway.

     

     

    Weather forecasters got hammered for this

    From a Birmingham paper

    uJxm6rW.jpg44XKq7j.jpgr8OEUXE.jpg

    The Evening Standard

    jX24Hsw.jpg

     

    Weather maps from the Telegraph

    RVE0M8e.jpgcHW73uR.jpg

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    Posted
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
    3 hours ago, Weather-history said:

    Weather forecasters got hammered for this

     

    I remember it was forecast to stay cold with more sleet and snow during the weekend, but in the south at least it became much milder on Saturday with temperatures rising to more than 10C!

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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)
    On 17/07/2022 at 00:43, Weather-history said:

    Weather forecasters got hammered for this

    From a Birmingham paper

    uJxm6rW.jpg44XKq7j.jpgr8OEUXE.jpg

    The Evening Standard

    jX24Hsw.jpg

     

    Weather maps from the Telegraph

    RVE0M8e.jpgcHW73uR.jpg

    700 squid for a cellular phone in 1988.. thats 2 grand today..incidentally mobile phones are still called cell phones in NA

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
    On 25/03/2022 at 17:50, Weather-history said:

    .

    The standout of February 1988 for me was the severe gale of the evening of 9th. That was a real blow also sleet with it. The next morning going to school, passed the Rumblelows store and part of the gable had collapsed because of the gale. Do remember a Thursday evening where sleet and wet snow falling and a Saturday where it snowed for a short time. 

     

     

    6zmMneA.jpgcKm2fcv.jpg

     

    98ncuBE.jpg6T9usZ0.jpg3zpGsdS.jpg

    7m3D2Ct.jpg                         Ukoeu4S.jpg

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    • 2 weeks later...
    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl

    Main highlights or should I say memories - a mild wet Jan-Feb and largely snowless, any snow that fell was fleeting in nature, not much about March - June, think April was cold at times. July and August incesssantly wet, ruined the school holidays, Sept and Oct no memories, November early cold and snow. December ridicuously mild and snowless.

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    Posted
  • Location: Islington
  • Weather Preferences: Freezing cold snowy winters & unsettled summers.
  • Location: Islington

    Interesting that statesside it was a completely different summer. The summer of 1988 was a serious drought summer across large swathes of America with crippling drought that would persist in some areas until 1990. Large swathes of emperature records were set in all three months, particularly late June 1988. It may have been excessive ridging across America that spawned more low pressure over the U.K., causing the cold and wet weather in July in particular. This seems to happen quite frequently as (off the top of my head) 1936, 1954, 1980, 1988 and 2012 all were extremely hot overall but cool, wet summers here.

    Edited by LetItSnow!
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    Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
    2 minutes ago, LetItSnow! said:

    Interesting that statesside it was a completely different summer. The summer of 1988 was a serious drought summer across large swathes of America with crippling drought that would persist in some areas until 1990. Large swathes of emperature records were set in all three months, particularly late June 1988. It may have been excessive ridging across America that spawned more low pressure over the U.K., causing the cold and wet weather in July in particular. This seems to happen quite frequently as (off the top of my head) 1936, 1954, 1988 and 2012 all were extremely hot overall but very cold, wet summers here.

    You need to add 1980 to that list. That was a very hot summer in the US and Canada, but cold over here.

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    Posted
  • Location: Islington
  • Weather Preferences: Freezing cold snowy winters & unsettled summers.
  • Location: Islington
    1 minute ago, Sunny76 said:

    You need to add 1980 to that list. That was a very hot summer in the US and Canada, but cold over here.

    Absolutely, thank you for the reminder. I think NYC's hottest August on record to this day is August 1980.

    That being said, it's not a guarantee that a hot USA summer will lead to a bad summer here. 1983 and 2006 are examples of this.

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    Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
    1 hour ago, LetItSnow! said:

    Absolutely, thank you for the reminder. I think NYC's hottest August on record to this day is August 1980.

    That being said, it's not a guarantee that a hot USA summer will lead to a bad summer here. 1983 and 2006 are examples of this.

    I think 88 came close, and was possibly the early signs of climate change, but maybe 1980 was the starting point in North America.

    2011 was hotter than 1980, but you’re right. 80 had many days around or above 32c and a couple of weeks around 35-40c, and that was 42 years ago.

    Far worse than the 2022 hot spell. 

    1 hour ago, LetItSnow! said:

    Absolutely, thank you for the reminder. I think NYC's hottest August on record to this day is August 1980.

    That being said, it's not a guarantee that a hot USA summer will lead to a bad summer here. 1983 and 2006 are examples of this.

    Yes 83 was hot in Canada and the US, also 84 and 95 were hot over there. 

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    Posted
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
  • Location: Windermere 120m asl
    On 31/07/2022 at 10:39, Sunny76 said:

    I think 88 came close, and was possibly the early signs of climate change, but maybe 1980 was the starting point in North America.

    2011 was hotter than 1980, but you’re right. 80 had many days around or above 32c and a couple of weeks around 35-40c, and that was 42 years ago.

    Far worse than the 2022 hot spell. 

    Yes 83 was hot in Canada and the US, also 84 and 95 were hot over there. 

    83, 84 and 95 correlate with warm/hot summers here. Not so 1980 or 2011. 

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    Posted
  • Location: London
  • Location: London
    5 hours ago, damianslaw said:

    83, 84 and 95 correlate with warm/hot summers here. Not so 1980 or 2011. 

    What I meant was, 1980 and 2011 were hot summers in the USA, while it was a poor summer over here during those years. 

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