Daily Archives: March 3, 2010

British winter was the coldest for 31 years

A driver eases through Great Chart in Ashford, Kent, during what the Met Office has now confirmed as the coldest UK winter for 30 years. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Met Office figures recorded a December-to-February mean UK temperature of just 1.51C, while the 1971-2000 average is 3.7C

guardian.co.uk | Mar 2, 2010

by Adam Gabbatt

After suffering snow, sleet, rain and consistently freezing temperatures, the knowledge that the Met Office has officially recognised winter 2009-10 as the coldest in 31 years brings with it a certain grim satisfaction.

Provisional figures from the forecaster show the UK winter – which in forecasting terms lasts from the start of December until the end of February – has been the harshest, in temperature terms, since 1978-79.

The news may come as little surprise to those affected by snow in December and January, when falls of up to 2ft saw councils’ grit supplies run low, travel chaos and the return of the Guardian’s snow day live blog.

According to the Met Office the mean temperature in the UK was 1.51C this winter, compared to a long-term average winter temperature – calculated from data collected between 1971 and 2000 – of 3.7C. The mean temperature in 1978-79 was 1.17C.

The data shows that Scotland suffered the most this winter, with the provisional mean temperature 0.24C – only slightly higher than 1978-79, when the figure was 0.16C.

England, Northern Ireland and Wales were warmer, although temperatures of 2.12C, 2.05C and 2.09C respectively could only be considered mild by comparison with the Scottish figure.

The 1978-79 winter temperatures were 1.43C, 1.51C and 1.64C for England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

“Since mid-December cold weather has often dominated much of the country, with spells of snow and very low temperatures,” said a Met Office spokeswoman. “From southern England to northern Scotland, heavy snow caused travel disruption at times through the season.”

Heavy snow was still causing disruption last week, when Glencoe ski centre received one of the heaviest snowfalls recorded anywhere in the world.

In addition to the snow, the winter culminated with severe flooding in parts of the UK, with one woman killed when her car was swept along a stream.

The lowest temperature recorded this winter was in Altnaharra, around 50 miles south-west of John O’ Groats in the Highland region of Scotland. The -22.3C recorded there was the coldest UK minimum since 1995.

But confirmation of the coldest winter in a generation aside, the Met Office data shows there is some reason to be thankful.

The coldest winter since temperature records began in 1914 was in 1962-63, when the mean temperature for December, January and February was -0.18C.

Tallahassee sees coldest winter since 1978

tallahassee.com | Mar 2, 2010

By Jeff Burlew

Winter 2009/2010 is going down in Tallahassee record books as the coldest in more than 30 years.

The winter season was the sixth-coldest on record and the fourth-wettest, said Tim Barry, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. In the weather world, winter runs December through February, even though spring doesn’t officially start until March 20.

“It’s just been a very prolonged period of colder-than-normal temperatures,” Barry said. “I think everybody here is ready for the spring to begin.”

The average temperature for the three-month period was 49 degrees. That’s the coldest since 1978, when the average temperature was 47. Other years with colder winters were 1977, 1970, 1964, and 1958.

Forecasters knew the weather phenomenon known as El Nino would make this winter particularly wet and cold, Barry said. What they didn’t know was that a potent blast of Arctic air would dip all the way to Tallahassee in January and stick around like an unwanted house guest for nearly two weeks.

Temperatures dipped below freezing 14 days in a row starting Jan. 2, which broke the previous record for the most subfreezing days in a row, set in 1966.

Check back with Tallahassee.com for more on this story.