1900-1949
 1900-1909  1910-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949
main historical menu
<<<<1850 - 1899

1900-1909
 1900 (February):
One of the WETTEST Februarys across England & Wales (using the EWP series).
 1901 (December):
NE GALE/SNOWSTORM 12th: cut communications in all parts of England. (TEC). This was caused by a DEEP DEPRESSION moving east up the English Channel. In England, SNOW heavily blocked roads and caused havoc for livestock. Many telegraph wires were brought down and the railways were brought to a standstill.
 1902 (31st January): HIGHEST RECORDED ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE BRITISH ISLES
The mean sea level PRESSURE reached 1053.6 mbar at Aberdeen Observatory in north-eastern Scotland on the 31st January, 1902 at 2200GMT. (This value was incorrectly listed as 1054.7mbar for over 80 years, due to an incorrect conversion from inHg to mbar: see 'Weather'/July 2006/S.Burt). This is the highest authenticated MEAN SEA LEVEL PRESSURE value known in the British Isles.
 1902/03: (various): VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS
The following volcanic eruptions are known about this time, which may have resulted (or at least played a part) in the 'poor' weather that follows:
8th May 1902: Pelee (Martinique) [ destroyed the city of St. Pierre, with 29000 deaths: possibly the deadliest volcanic explosion of the 20th century.]
24th October 1902: Santa Maria (Guatemala) [ killed at least 5000 - large ash deposit, noted as far away as San Francisco, California. ]
February & March 1903: Colima (Mexico)
>According to a diagram in [VOLC], the intensity of solar radiation decreased between 10 & 20% after these events. ('The Weather', Kimble & Bush; 'Volcanoes', Decker & Decker)
 1902 (Summer):
The CET value of 14.3degC was low, but not exceptional in this series (about 1C below the all-series mean); however, according to the University of Berne (reported by the RMetS/'Weather' 2004), this summer across the whole of Europe was the COLDEST in a joint proxy / instrumental series which began in 1500.
 1902 (Annual):
A notably DRY year across England and Wales (using the EWP series).
 1903 (February):
VERY MILD. CET value=7.1degC, amongst the top 5 mild Februarys in the 20th century. The anomaly on the 'whole-series' was well in excess of +3C & it lies firmly within the 'top-10' since 1659. Of particular note, we had to wait until the notably WARM period of the 1990s before this value was exceeded, with 7.3degC in the Februarys of 1990 & 1998.
A spectacular dry DUSTFALL: affected much of England and Wales on February 21st.
26th/27th: Deep LOW crossed Ireland & moved towards NE Scotland, with a reported PRESSURE of 953mbar at Dundee. WINDS to the south of its track brought WIDESPREAD DAMAGE - some DEATHS with communications widely disrupted. At Southport (Lancashire) around dawn, the WIND averaged BF11 (>=56 knots / 64 mph), with a GUST here of 80 kn. A passenger train was overturned as it crossed a viaduct in north Lancashire. In Ireland (then still part of the UK), the WIND was even stronger - possibly the worst storm (of wind) across the island since January, 1839. In Phoenix Park, Dublin nearly 3000 trees were blown down and much DAMAGE was caused to property in the City. Other towns/cities in Ireland suffered, e.g. Cork (a girl killed) and Belfast. Lamb reports that at Douglas, Isle of Man, the STORM of the night of the 26th/27th was thought to be 'probably of almost unprecedented violence'. Many shipwrecks both close inshore and on the high seas. (details from 'Weather Eye', Ian Currie & HS/23).
 1903 (May to September): NOTABLY WET SUMMER & AUTUMN
These 5 months were all notably WETTER than average: the EWP % were 129%, 128%, 168%, 160% and 132% (respectively, relative to the 1961-90 mean), which is an average of 143% overall. The often persistent & widespread RAINFALL gave rise to much FLOODING across the south of England, particularly along the Thames Valley. As noted below, October was also very wet, and adding this month in, the six month's total EWP was 715mm (161%). Specifically for the London area (based on Kew), the summer period in 1903 was the WETTEST in that series which started in 1697 ('Weather' October 2004/R MetS/Mayes).
As to TEMPERATURES, for the three summer months (June, July & August), the anomaly on CET for these was -1.3, -0.6 & -1.3C. For Kew specifically, the mean TEMPERATURE anomaly was -2C, with June notably COLD. The anomaly on June MAXIMUM temperature at Kew was -3C. Using the Camden Square (Westminster) record, it was the COLDEST June for 46 years.
 1903 (October): EXCEPTIONALLY WET MONTH OVER ENGLAND & WALES
With 218 mm in the long-period England and Wales Rainfall series (began 1766), this was the wettest month (any month) in that series. The next closest (20th century only) was November, 1940 with 197mm.
 1903 (Annual):
Notably WET by the EWP series: in the 'top-10' of wet years in that series, and the wettest year since 1872. (For London/Kew Observatory specifically, it was the WETTEST year in a series that began in 1697).
 1904 (November):
There was widespread SNOW between the 20th and 23rd in 1904 when a large area of southern Scotland and northern England averaged 46cm of level snow, with heavy drifting in places.
 1905 (January):
PRESSURE (MSL) of 1053.1 mbar recorded at Falmouth Observatory (Cornwall) on the 28th. (According to Stephen Burt, the England & Wales record highest barometric pressure).
 1905 (Annual):
A notably DRY year across England and Wales (using the EWP series).
 1906 (Summer):
A fine summer. It ended with an intense HEATWAVE at the end of August 1906. TEMPERATURES reached or exceeded 32degC widely on four consecutive days from the 31st August. Of note, the September record MAXIMUM of 35.6degC was set at Bawtry, South Yorkshire on the 2nd September.
 1906 (November):
A remarkable (given how late in the year it was) WARM spell occurred within the last third of this month, from the 22nd to the 25th: a MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE of 20.0degC (presumably recorded in degF then converted later) was recorded on the 23rd November, 1906 at Lairg (Sutherland / Highlands / SE end of Loch Shin). One of only a handful of >=20degC readings in November in the reliable UK thermometer record.
 1906 (December):
HEAVY SNOWSTORMS 26th-30th in much of Scotland, as a succession of polar lows/troughs moved south in an arctic airstream. Widespread SNOW elsewhere across Britain, the snow though not reaching the London area until early on the 26th. Severe transport dislocation across northern Scotland (Aberdeen and other centres isolated for at least 3 days), and snow disruption elsewhere over Britain.
 1907 (July):
During the afternoon of the 22nd July, 1907, HEAVY THUNDERSTORMS occurred across a wide area of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. These caused extensive FLOODING in urban areas and severely DAMAGED standing crops in the countryside. In Watford (Hertfordshire), significant FLOODING occurred. This was caused by over 60 mm of RAIN falling in a couple of hours. In South Wales, at least 80 mm of RAIN was recorded from one location in Monmouthshire, together with a SEVERE HAILSTORM and associated LIGHTNING DAMAGE. The HAIL (possibly as large as 'pigeons eggs') completely blocked a river & stripped trees of bark and foliage and was still evident 10 days later (as ice). (Currie, TEC & others)
 1907 (Summer):
A notably COLD summer; Although often portrayed as an era with wonderful summers, the Edwardian & immediate pre-Great War years had an above-average incidence of what can only be described as indifferent/poor such seasons. The notably fine summer of 1899 (q.v.) was not equalled or bettered until 1911 (q.v.) and this in turn wasn't matched until 1933! Looking specifically at the Central England Temperature (CET) series for the years 1900 to 1914, and using an 'all-series' reference value of 15.3degC (c.f. 1981-2010 value of 15.9degC), then of these 15 years, only three (1900, 1901 & 1911) had a +ve anomaly >=0.5C, and of course only 1911 stands out (+1.7C). Conversely, no fewer than 7(!) summers had negative anomalies >=0.5 (1902, 1903, 1907, 1909, 1910, 1912 and 1913). Of these, five (1902, 1903, 1907, 1909 & 1912) had anomalies >=-1.0C. So the 'bias' for this pre-Great War period was strongly towards cooler-than-average summers, with a strong tendency to 'clustering' of the poor seasons.
Looking specifically at 1907, with a CET of 13.6degC (-1.7C/all-series LTA), this was ranked (equal with 1823) fourth COLDEST in that long series; only 1860, 1816 & 1725 were colder. Both June & July had anomalies close to -2C on all-series LTA, with August not quite so anomalously cold. [CET]
 1907 (October):
Very WET, though there are at least 20 wetter such-named months in the England & Wales Precipitation series (1766-2013). The EWP figure of 153 mm represents roughly 170% of the series average, and as this is an 'areal' value, some places in England & Wales at least would have been much WETTER. For example, at Ross-on-Wye (Herefordshire), the monthly total was 216 mm (or about 8.5 inches), and in some parts of Dorset, over 250 mm (or nearly 10 inches) of RAIN fell. (Currie/Weather Eye & MWR/Met Office)
 1908 (April):
In 1908 a SNOWY week over most of the United Kingdom culminated on the 24th and 25th in one of the heaviest spring snowfalls on record in southern England.
  1908 (July):
Very high TEMPERATURE recorded in southern Scotland. On the 2nd, the maximum was 32.8degC at Dumfries (Dumfries & Galloway) .. see also 2003.
 1908 (December):
26th to 29th December: HEAVY SNOWFALL over many parts of Great Britain, causing significant road (& railway?) chaos. On the 29th, 18 to 20 cm of SNOW fell at Southampton, Hampshire and up to 25cm in Dumfries and Galloway.
 1908 (Annual):
A notable year for HEAVY SNOWFALL.
  1909 (Summer):
One of the 15 or so COLDEST summers using the CET record (13.9degC / anomaly on 'all-series' of -1.4C) across England & Wales [in a record back to 1659].
> June was the equal (with 1916 and 1972) COLDEST of the 20th century, with CET=11.8degC, anomaly around two-degrees C below the LTA (whichever series is used), and the second-COLDEST (with the other two noted) June in the entire series. A day MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE of just 10degC (presumably this was registered as 50degF) was recorded in Oxford and Bath on the 6th. There was more outstandingly COLD, WET (some significant THUNDERSTORMS) & DULL weather from the 10th to the 12th, and also 20th to 28th. The Trooping the Colour in London was abandoned on the 24th. June was also a very DULL month, with no sunshine at all in London from the 2nd to the 6th.
> July continued WET, with significant / widespread THUNDERSTORMS in the last week of the month - VIOLENT THUNDERSTORMS on the 25th, particularly in Fife. (See also entry against summer 1907, above)[CET]
 1909 (December):
19th to 21st December: Scotland, Wales and England (except the south): HEAVY SNOWFALL. In Cardiganshire (Wales), the Peak District (central England) and along the Welsh coasts, roads were heavily blocked with SNOW.
 1909 / 1910 (Winter):
In a record starting 1900, one of only five winters (December, January, February) with 5 or more 'SEVERE GALE/STORM' episodes in a winter season: this one had 6, and thus was second in a list that has winter 2013/14 as number 1 (q.v.)
[from 'Weather', May 2014, ex: Jenkinson Gale Index / CRU / University of East Anglia]
 1900-1909  1910-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949
Back to main historical menu.
1910-1919
 1910 (January):
26th and 28th January: HEAVY SNOWFALL over Scotland and northern England.
 1910 (June):
Between the 5th and 10th June, 1910, the weather was very THUNDERY across England & Wales. The STORMS were particularly intense & 'noteworthy' on the 7th and 9th across the Thames Valley and the south Midlands. On the 7th, THUNDERSTORMS, producing intense RAINFALL, HAIL & widespread LIGHTNING affected large areas from Surrey to Worcestershire, with evening-time seeing high-yield STORMS in Oxfordshire. Some places had around 100 mm of RAIN in two or three hours. On the 9th, mid-Berkshire (around Reading / Caversham) and parts of Oxfordshire (again) were visited by intense (Webb says 'exceptional') THUNDERSTORMS. HAIL too was a feature, with diameters of at least 2.5 cm, isolated 3.5 cm being recorded as well as 'HAIL drifts' of 2 to 3 feet (roughly 60-90 cm). RAINFALL totals, where known, exceeded 100 mm, and the 132 mm (non-standard but reasonable) in under 3 hours in Wheatley (Oxfordshire) is a 'remarkable' amount for a UK storm. (from 'Weather'/June 2011/Webb)
 1911 (31st May): SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS OVER ENGLAND
Violent thunderstorms were reported from many parts of lowland south-eastern England on this day, with local flooding/landslips, lightning and gust damage. In particular, a total of 17 people were killed in the London area, and 4 horses died on Epsom Downs on this 'Derby Day'.
 1911 (Summer):
Notably WARM (& for many a SUNNY - see below) summer; high PRESSURE was near or over the British Isles for many weeks at a time, with southern areas especially favoured. One of the top 7 or so WARMEST of the 20th century, and just inside the 'top-10' all-series summers (as at 2013). Using the CET series (began in 1659), the values for the three 'standard' summer months of June, July & August (with all-series anomalies) were: 14.5 (+0.2), 18.2 (+2.3), 18.2 degC(+2.6C). The July value placed that month just outside the 'top-10' for that month, but that for August is ranked about 6th or 7th: certainly in the 'top-10' in this very long series! All the more remarkable, as the 50-years 1900-1949 contained only 4 VERY WARM summers, compared for example with 7 in the period 1950-1999.
MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE on 9th August at Raunds (Northamptonshire) and Canterbury (Kent) 36.7degC (98degF/converted?). Until the Augusts of 1990 & 2003, the highest known / accepted in UK).
July 1911 was a spectacularly SUNNY (& DRY) month. There was an average of over 10 hours of bright sunshine (as recorded by the Campbell-Stokes recorder [CSR]) over much of southern England. 384 hours of bright SUNSHINE were recorded at Eastbourne and Hastings, East Sussex during this month, and these are thought to be the highest sunshine totals recorded anywhere for any month in the UK. (NB: in July, not June!). For the SE of England as a whole, with something like 300-350 hours of BRIGHT SUNSHINE, this month (with July 2006) is regarded as the SUNNIEST month (any month) on record, though comparison with late 20th century / 21st century figures are difficult due to changing instrumentation.
Summer 1911 overall was DRY, with large areas of central-southern England, the south Midlands and parts of eastern Scotland having less than 50% of long-term RAINFALL. The summer included an exceptionally DRY July - in the 'top-5' of dry such-named months in the EWP series. A longer period (April to September) was also notably DRY, at least over England, where approximately <70% of the long-term average RAINFALL fell. (EWP)
[ Of some political note, on the 10th August, 1911, in the midst of this protracted hot spell, the Parliament Bill (later Act) passed through the House of Lords by a majority of 17; this was a highly significant event in the progress of parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom, and effectively the Act (when granted Royal Assent 18th August) removed the ability of un-elected peers to obstruct the will of the elected House of Commons. ]
 1912 (January):
8th January: HEAVY SNOWFALL on this day. 25cm in Tayside at Crieff. Later in the month, on 17th/18th January, the HEAVIEST SNOWFALL of 1912 occurred, affecting all parts except southern England. Disrupting traffic and breaking down trees.
 1912 (March):
Notably WET across England & Wales (using the EWP series).
 1912 (Summer): NOTABLY WET, COOL & DULL
As might be expected given the excessive RAIN (see below), TEMPERATURES & SUNSHINE values were distinctly disappointing. Because the mean CET for June & July were not too far from the all-series average, the final all-season mean of 14.3degC was not a 'record-breaker', coming roughly 30th COLDEST in the list. What made this summer stand out was the persistent COLD of August: the CET value was 12.9degC (-2.7C on all-series mean), and as such was the COLDEST such-named month in that long series. Although we don't have homogeneous SUNSHINE series for the time (across the UK), individual stations give a flavour of the DULL weather. At Kew Observatory for example, all three months had below-average sunshine, with July at 76% and August at 58% of the (then) long-term values. However, other summers of the time (e.g. 1909 & 1913) also had equally low (or lower) aggregate totals over these three months. [ According to an article in 'Weather' (see reference), the weather (and hence the temperature levels) were possibly affected by a veil of high-altitude volcanic dust etc., from an Alaskan volcano that erupted in early June of this year. ] (Ref: 'Weather'/July2011/Kendon & Prior & CET)
Notably WET for the months of June, July & August. 410 mm in the EWP series ~ 200% of modern-day averages. The WETTEST such defined summer in the EWP series (as of 2013). Over twice the average amount of RAIN fell in a broad swathe from Cornwall to Norfolk, with >250% in places. However, London & the Home Counties, though still generally receiving well above-average RAINFALL, 'only' achieved anomalies around 125-150%.
> August 1912 was EXCEPTIONALLY WET with 193 mm of RAIN, the wettest such-named month in the EWP series. Severe FLOODING occurred across many parts of east & central England. (EWP)
[ It is worth emphasising that this exceptionally WET, COOL & DULL summer came a year after one of the most glorious summers in anyones record! Doom-mongers in the climate-change community need to be aware of these historic precedents. ]
 1912 (Autumn):
A notably COLD period August, September and October: CET values were (with anomalies to 1961-90 averages): August: 12.9(-2.9)/coldest such-named month in the entire series, September: 11.1(-2.5)/in the 'top-10' of coldest Septembers, and October: 8.2degC(-2.4C); The prolonged spell of depressed temperatures may have resulted from the eruption of a volcano (Katmai) in Alaska on 6th June, 1912. From a diagram in 'Volcanoes' [VOLC], the decrease in intensity of solar radiation following this event was between 10 & 20%, and may have been greater than that for Krakatau in 1883.
 1912 (November):
29th/30th November: A depression advanced east across southern regions of England, with SNOW in many places. In the northern parts of Great Britain, SNOW fell to 20 or 25cm, as far north as Strathclyde.
 1913 (January):
11th/12th January: a HEAVY SNOWFALL in southern Scotland and northern England. SNOW fell in a considerable depth, especially in Perthshire with SNOWDRIFTS of up to 3m in places. Railway and postal services were delayed.
 1914 (March):
A very WET March across England & Wales. The EWP value was 120mm, around 160% of LTA and within the 'top-10' of wet Marches in that series. The WET weather was particularly a problem for East Anglia, with local anomalies of around 200% leading to much FLOODING. In London, it was the WETTEST March until 1947.
 1914 (December):
28th December: HEAVY SNOW event over England. SNOW, very thick and of an 'unusual' size (?) caused damage to many trees. At Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire HEAVY SNOW fell for 4 hours amounting to a depth of 18cm. { The phrase ... 'unusual size' suggests large, 'wet', unstable flakes, with a temperature around or a fraction above freezing-point, which would adhere then freeze readily on all exposed surfaces . . . hence the damage to trees. }
 1914 (Annual):
31 DEATHS from LIGHTNING in this year. (TORRO).
 1914/1915 (Winter):
This held the honour of being the WETTEST winter in the EWP series for a considerable time with 423mm for December, January and February. However, as of 2013/2014, when there were exceptional PRECIPITATION totals, 1914/15 is now the second-wettest winter in that record.
At Coulsdon (Surrey) the total was some 500 mm.
 1915/1916 (Winter):
A notably WET winter, for the second year running, by the EWP series. 374 mm for December, January and February. (see also 1959/60 & 2013/14). NB: this might also imply that areas across the English Channel were also WET, and of course at this time, the protagonists taking part in the 'Great War' (UK, France, Germany & their allies) were suffering in the 'sea of mud' in the trenches of NE France & the Ardennes.
A notably WET February across England & Wales (using the EWP series).
 1916 (March):
A WIDESPREAD SEVERE NORTHERLY GALE (STORM TO SEVERE STORM-FORCE in southeast England) & associated BLIZZARD affected much of East Anglia, the east & south Midlands, parts of Southeast England & the West of England/West Country during the 27th & 28th March, 1916. Large numbers of trees brought down due to combination of wet / sticky SNOW freezing on boughs, and HIGH WINDS/northerly (over eastern areas to at least Beaufort Force 9 or 10, with Kew Observatory reporting Force 11 for a short time early evening of the 28th as the parent low moved NE across SE England and onto the Netherlands by the 29th**). The SNOW set in after nightfall of the 27th, and in some places lasted over 24hr. SNOW depths were difficult to ascertain due to DRIFTING / BLIZZARD-conditions, but some reports of 15-20cm over East Midlands seem credible. 48hr RAIN/SNOW totals in a broad swathe from the Wash / Norfolk, across the northern & far western Home Counties, to Somerset, Devon & Cornwall exceeded 25-30mm, and in the Fens/East Midlands, upwards of 50-60mm fell, with stations in Northamptonshire recording over 70mm for these 48hr. (It was also very WET (mixed RAIN/SNOW here) in Cornwall.) Much DISRUPTION to transport, both road & railway, across the southeastern 'quadrant' of England - also large number of telephone / telegraph lines cut due to weight of snow. At Margate (Kent) much DAMAGE to shop fronts, with Dover recording GUSTS to 75kn.
(**lowest PRESSURE estimated for this system 968mbar in Lyme Bay at 0100GMT on the 28th.) [ based on article in 'Weather' / RMetS 2004 ]
 1916 (October):
On the 11th in 1916, 208.3 mm of RAIN fell at Kinlochewe (Kinlochquoich / western Scotland). At the time, the highest 24hr rainfall recorded in the British Isles, and now amongst the top 6 or 7 such events - still (at 2013) the HIGHEST for October.
 1916/1917 (Winter):
One of the most SEVERE WINTERS of the 20th century up to 1939/40. A major problem in the Great War for all the parties to the conflict.
Feb/Mar/Apr CET values (anomalies) were: Feb: 0.9(-2.9), Mar: 3.2(-2.5), Apr: 5.4(-2.5).
16th January 1917: HEAVY SNOWFALL in England. 31cm at West Witton, West Yorkshire and 15cm at Durham. This was followed by a HEAVY SNOWFALL in England between the 25th and 26th January.
26th January: HIGH TIDES and SEVERE GALES combined to bring a disaster to the English Channel coast of the SW peninsula. The small fishing village of Hallsands (South Hams of Devon, close to Start Point) was all but destroyed when high winds / high seas broke over the few cottages in the village. No-one was killed, but the village was virtually abandoned. (Apparently previous dredging elsewhere to support the enlarged harbour at Devonport down the coastline was a contributory cause, with the fore-shore becoming destabilised as a result.)
 1917 (April):
Following what was one of the most SEVERE winters of the 20th century (see above), a dramatic SNOWSTORM affected many northern areas of the British Isles during the opening days of April this year. BLIZZARD conditions occurred in many hilly regions, with much distress and death to livestock. 3 metre SNOWDRIFTS reported in Ireland. In many parts of Ireland, SNOW fell for much of the two days 1st/2nd. Philip Eden says this April was possibly the 'snowiest' in the 100 years prior to 2000.
 1917 (Summer):
A WET summer in the EWP series, with 138% of LTA (1916-1950). It was especially WET in the Kew Observatory series: 314mm was recorded there for the three summer months, representing nearly twice the long-term average. I think it reasonable to assume that this excessive RAINFALL was also representative of conditions across the Channel along the northern portions of the War Front (French/British/German).
On the 28th of June, a shallow depression moving eastward along the English Channel brought remarkably HEAVY RAINFALL to a large area of southern England: falls in excess of 50 mm were recorded from Cornwall to Sussex with a daily/24hr RAINFALL total of 242.8mm recorded at Bruton in Somerset (about 127mm in 3 hours and 165mm in 5 hours). With only sporadic thunder, the bulk of the fall was made up by a spell of steady/heavy rain over a wide of areas during the night. The Bruton event is the highest known for June, and amongst the top 3 or 4 for the entire record. 213.1mm was recorded nearby in the Quantocks, at Aisholt, and 150mm at Street, Glastonbury. Needless to say, such rain led to FLOODING & caused a local dam wall to be breached, which contributed to downstream flooding on the river Stour.
 1918 (January):
7th January: HEAVY SNOWFALL: northern Scotland badly affected. At Deemess, Orkney, SNOWDRIFTS of 120cm were reported, while the Highland railway in Sutherland and Caithness was blocked by SNOW for some days. This was followed over England by HEAVY SNOW between the 15th and 16th January. In the East Anglian Fens, SNOW fell to a depth of 15cm, while in the Welsh mountains a number of sheep were lost in SNOWDRIFTS.
 1919 (January):
The first major SNOWFALL of 1919 occurred in the first week of January between the 3rd and 4th. HEAVY SNOW occurred in the Midlands and northern England, causing damage to telegraph wires in Derbyshire and 35cm of SNOW to fall at Buxton, Derbyshire. On the 3rd, 22cm fell in Manchester. This was followed at the end of the month by another HEAVY SNOWFALL in the Midlands and northern England between the 27th/28th.
 1919 (March/April):
A COLD couple of spring months (CET anomalies -1.6C and -0.8C respectively) and one of the WETTEST Marchs over England & Wales (using the EWP series); April had near-average RAINFALL.
During March 1919 there were several falls of SNOW in the London area, the heaviest fall being on the 27th with a depth of 23cm noted.
In April, the widespread deep SNOWFALL as late as the 27th was most remarkable. It was deepest in the eastern half of England, including the London area, where in many places there was 30 cm of level snow.
  1919 (September):
A late spell of HOT weather early in the month. (Raunds, Northamptonshire max on the 11th was 32.2degC, Nottingham on the same day 29.4degC: the next day [ 12th ] Nottingham MAXIMUM was just 13.9 degC).
Following the hot spell (see above), there was an exceptionally EARLY SNOWFALL overnight 19th / 20th of several inches (at least 2 inches/ 5cm at Princeton) on Dartmoor and other elevated areas (Herefordshire specifically known: elevation ~300ft), with snow of lesser cover being reported from Wales, The Midlands, Dorset & Devon. Reports of snow cover at low levels in Scotland & Northern England, with a substantial covering over higher ground throughout Wales (lying on slopes of the Black Mountains/SE Wales down to an altitude of 1300ft), covering the Clee Hills in Shropshire and also over Exmoor and Dartmoor (see above). Sleet showers observed at lower levels as far south as the Thames Valley. Cyclonic/northerly flow.
 1919 (November):
The 11th (the first anniversary of the armistice), saw the start of a notably SEVERE/WINTRY spell. On the night 11th/12th, a SEVERE SNOWSTORM occurred, depositing 8 inches (20 cm) in the streets of Edinburgh, 12 inches over Dartmoor, and 17 inches at Balmoral.(GPE) Even in southern England, SNOW fell on 7 days or more during the month.
 1900-1909  1910-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949
Back to main historical menu.
1920-1929
 1920 (May):
THUNDERSTORMS in central and northern England on the 29th May in 1920 resulted in serious damage, and people were DROWNED in their homes: in Louth, Lincolnshire, at least 104mm of RAIN fell in two hours, flooding the town. The "Louth storm" was probably one of the most SEVERE in the 20th century. A depression moved north on the 29th. A storm developed on its cold front. Not only was the rain heavy at Louth, but at Elkington Hall, three miles to the west, 117mm (or 119mm, sources differ) fell in three hours from about 2pm. Even more probably fell to the west, and recent estimates state at least 150mm during the storm, possibly much more. As water fell on the Lincolnshire Wolds, the River Lud rose by 6 feet (about 2 m) in 10 minutes, with FLOODING, destruction of bridges, and 23 people were drowned as a torrent 200 yards wide swept through the village of Louth, which formed a bottleneck to the river and its tributaries. The river rose to 15 feet (4.6m) above normal, in just 15 minutes if eye-witness reports can be believed. (NB: on the same day 42mm fell in twenty minutes and a total RAINFALL for the storm of 82mm at Leyland, Lancashire.)
 1920 (Summer):
A notably COLD summer using the CET record. The value was 14.0degC, placing it in the 15 or so coldest summers in the series.
 1920 (December):
Eastern and southern England: HEAVY SNOWFALL 11th/12th December - The SNOW was reported as 'very dry'. It fell without any wind, and as a result, no drifting occurred. Clacton (Essex) and Salcombe (South Hams of south Devon - Salcombe is a coastal place) received depths of 35cm. Further HEAVY SNOWFALL was reported daily until the 16th. In Plymouth it lay on the ground for 10 days. This was considered (at the time) to be the worst snow in the district since the blizzard of March 1891.
  1921 (March - November):
In the EWR series, the DRIEST such period [true at the time - not checked as to recent years] in the entire series (started in 1727).
 1921 (July):
Within a remarkably DRY (extended) spell [ see above & below ], this month was both DRY & very WARM. The EWP value of 29 mm was no record, but represented around 50% of the long-term mean. However, the TEMPERATURES averaged over England & Wales came out at 18.5degC (CET), an anomaly of some +2.5C, and well into the 'top-10' of WARMEST Julys in that series (started 1659).
 1921 (19th to 21st November): PERSISTENT DENSE FOG EVENT
Dense fog blanketed many parts of England during this period, causing many road traffic accidents and seriously disrupting railway services, in the days before automatic warning and signalling systems. Severe delays to shipping on the Thames - in those days the Ports of London, Tilbury etc., were vital for movement of goods, foodstuffs both nationally and internationally.
 1921 (Annual):
Lowest PRECIPITATION TOTAL in any calendar year recorded at a station in Margate, Kent: 236 mm [ but note possible gauge error ]. Part of the notable DROUGHT of 1921: one of the longest of the 20th century, lasting for almost a calendar year. In east Kent, barely half of the long-term average fell; however for western Scotland it was an unusually WET year.
In the EWP series, this was the DRIESTyear in the 20th century, with just 629mm of RAIN. (The driest in the entire series is thought to be 1788 with 614mm -- so this is the second driest in this series. However, note that this year was a 'true' anomaly in that the rest of the decade had average or above-average PRECIPITATION.)(see also 1714, 2003).
> The 17 month period August 1920 to December 1921 (which includes the whole of 1921 of course) is regarded as the second-DRIEST (or second 'most-intense' DROUGHT) across the 'English lowlands' (after that of 1995-1997/q.v.) [Kendon et.al., 'Weather'/RMetSoc/April 2013]
 1922 (January):
A SNOWSTORM affected northern parts of Scotland between 3rd and 5th January, then another HEAVY SNOWFALL occurred just over a week later on the 15th January, affecting a much wider area of Britain. WIDESPREAD BLIZZARD conditions (GALES & HEAVY SNOW) in this latter event, again particularly SEVERE in Scotland.
 1922 (Summer):
A notably COLD summer using the CET series (began 1659). With a value of 13.7degC, it was (as at 2013), one of the 10 or so COLDEST by that measure. July was particularly COLD, being in the top-10 such COLDEST named months.
 1923 (February):
One of the WETTEST Februarys across England & Wales (using the EWP record). With a value of 153 mm (representing circa 230% of the all-series mean), it was the WETTEST February of the 20th century, and the second wettest in the entire series (as of 2014).
 1923 (December):
25th December: The final HEAVY SNOWFALL of 1923 occurred in Scotland and northern England on Christmas Day. Glasgow had 20cm, which was reported to be the heaviest SNOWFALL in the Glasgow area for 33 years. In Aberdeenshire, SNOW fell to a depth of 60 to 90 cm.
 1924 (January):
8th/9th January: all parts of Great Britain experienced HEAVY SNOWFALL. Depths in parts of London measured 15cm.
 1924 (May):
A WET month in the England & Wales precipitation (EWP) record with a total of 122 mm, placing it within the 'top-10' of such-named months. However, the large total was largely a function of one widespread HEAVY RAIN event which occurred across the EWP domain: on the 31st May, over 50 mm of RAIN fell in a broad swathe from the Cotswolds to the Mersey / Manchester area, with a large sub-area having in excess of 100 mm of RAIN. Such events are not common across lowland England. [EWP]
 1924 (August):
On the 18th, at Cannington, Somerset ("The Quantocks"), 238.8 mm of RAIN (and HAIL - 7 to 15 cm depth in places) fell in a 24 hr period (due to a series of localised, intense overnight THUNDERSTORMS), with some 127mm in just 2 hours; all precipitation from this highly local storm fell in the 'early hours'. This is the highest (known) such event for August, and amongst the top 5 or 6 such events in the known record (possibly in the top 3 according to source, attribution, accuracy etc.)
 1925 (June): EXCEPTIONALLY DRY MONTH OVER ENGLAND AND WALES
Using the England and Wales precipitation series, a value of just over 4 mm of rain was recorded in this series, which represents around 6% of the (current/1961-90) series average. This was the driest June in the entire series (began in 1766), and the second driest ANY MONTH in the same series, after February, 1891 (3.6mm).
 1926 (October):
SLEET on the 21st as far south as the Isle of Wight. 25th: SNOW fell in London, with 'several inches' reported.
> SNOW on the 28th gave 5cm cover at Hampstead (Heath), London. At Harrogate (Yorkshire) there was morning SNOW cover for three consecutive days. Snow was a foot deep (30cm) at Dalnaspidal near Perth on the 28th. (Apparently the severe weather was blamed on the sun: either an auroral display of the 14th/15th, or on low sunspot activity; as regards the latter, the cycle [16] was one of a low maximum, though by no means dramatically low.)
 1927-1930 (Annual series):
A run of 4 consecutive WET years; not achieved again until 1965-68 (q.v.)
 1927 (28th January): PAISLEY STORM
Paisley recorded a gust of 89 knots, amongst the highest gusts recorded in the area since reliable wind records began. Eleven people were killed and over 100 were injured, with widespread damage throughout the Clyde valley area. Looking at the broader picture, the STORM (deep DEPRESSION passing between Scotland & Iceland) that produced these high WINDS was responsible for a further 15 deaths elsewhere in Scotland. There was widespread DAMAGE across the British Isles. For example, in the Morecambe Bay area of Lancashire, the sea wall was severely damaged, allowing the sea to FLOOD the town and countryside for several days. [HS/23]
 1927 (August, September & Summer overall):
Perhaps the WETTEST combination of such-named months in the EWP series for the 20th century. (See also 1946). The summer (June, July & August) across England & Wales comes out just over 150% of LTA. At Kew Observatory, the total RAINFALL June to September inclusive=357mm (~170%), with August & September, as elsewhere, notably WET.
 1927 (25th-26th December): WORST CHRISTMAS PERIOD BLIZZARD IN A CENTURY
During the late evening of the 25th, what is regarded as one of the worst SNOWSTORMS in the 20th century occurred. Most of the country experienced snow, but the south bore the brunt: undrifted depths up to 60-70cm over higher ground, with drifts in varying places up to 15 feet or more [over 4.5m] - many roads blocked (some for a week) with vehicles stranded. The snow was noted as 'soft & clingy', bringing down many telephone lines - at this time few such were in underground ducts.
 1928 (January):
Notably WET across England and Wales - in 'top-5' of wet Januarys by the EWP series.
(6th/7th): NORTH SEA SURGE/THAMES ESTUARY SEA FLOOD
A north to north-westerly severe GALE (GUST speeds ~ 70kn or a little higher, e.g., 73 kn at Spurn Head, Lincolnshire), produced a strong SURGE down the North Sea coast of eastern England (as the filling low slipped away towards Poland), which combined with a high ('spring') tide in the Thames estuary, produced severe FLOODING in the London area as the Embankment was breached in several places with many roads damaged. The sea-level was some 6ft (about 2m) above the predicted level. At least 14 people were trapped and drowned in their homes due to the rapid rise of the water, with thousands left homeless. [ This is of course long before the construction of the Thames Barrier ][HS/23]
 1928 (November):
The second-half of November, 1928 was notably STORMY with two occasions of widespread SEVERE GALES / STORMS affecting the British Isles:
> 16th/17th: widespread SEVERE GALE/STORM DAMAGE across southern Britain as a rapidly moving open-wave DEPRESSION ran in off the Atlantic, with a central PRESSURE when over North Wales midday 16th of around 968 mbar. Strongest GUSTS were recorded at Valentia Observatory: 75 kn and 81 kn on top of a tall mast (mooring mast?) at the airship airfield of Cardington (Bedfordshire). GUSTS of around 70 kn / 81 mph were recorded at Croydon (S. London) and Lympne (Kent).
> 23rd-25th: Associated with a STORM cyclone that crossed southern Scotland on the 23rd, heading swiftly for southern Scandinavia, GALES were felt in all districts, a SEVERE GALE in the W'ly WINDS everywhere south of the track of the depression centre. BAROMETRIC PRESSURE in Edinburgh 950.7 mbar at sea level (afternoon 23rd). Strongest GUSTS according to Lamb were 94 kn at St. Ann's Head near Pembroke and 79 kn inland in the heart of East Anglia at Mildenhall (Suffolk). [HS/23]
 1928/1929 (Winter):
One of the most SEVERE WINTERS of the 20th century. During the January & February months in Hampshire, 150 hours of continuous FROST. The CET value of 1.7degC represents around 2C deficit on the long-term/all-series mean; ICE FLOES were reported in the lower Thames & Estuary / TEC.
What is thought to be one of the highest depths of undrifted SNOW ever recorded in a single snowstorm in the British Isles (except at high mountain levels) occurred on the 16th February in 1929 when 182cm [probably recorded as 6 feet] fell in 15 hours on the southern fringe of Dartmoor near Ashburton. Notable very heavy SNOW STORMS.
 1929 (January to April):
A notable DROUGHT affecting Britain: the anomaly across these four months comes out at around 50% of LTA.
 1929 (November):
Exceptionally heavy daily RAINFALL (211.1 mm) in the Rhondda Valley/ Lluest Wen Reservoir (South Wales) on the 11th November in 1929: the highest for November across the UK for a 24 hr period, and amongst the top 6 or 7 such events in the entire record. Also, the highest daily rainfall total (known / accepted) for Wales, up to 2004. SEVERE FLOODING in Glamorgan as a result.
 1929/1930 (Autumn/Winter):
A very WET four month period October 1929 to January 1930 inclusive. In particular across England and Wales, November & December recorded well over 180% of LTA PRECIPITATION, with both of these months within the 'top-10' WETTEST such named months. [EWP]
Noted as the 'wettest' December of the 20th century over Scotland.
 1929 (December):
December 1929 was a month of excessive RAINFALL (see above) and repeated or persistent GALES. The GALES were associated with the frequent passage of depressions and secondary depressions. They were felt most severely in coastal districts of the south and west of England & Wales and the south of Ireland, particularly between the 5th & 7th but again on the 12th and from the 20th to the 29th. On the morning of the 5th, Pendennis Castle (Cornwall) recorded an hourly mean WIND of 61 kn. The strongest GUSTS were reported in the Isles of Scilly (96 kn) and Falmouth (89 kn), both on the 7th. [HS/23]
 1900-1909  1910-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949
Back to main historical menu.
1930-1939
 1931 (June):
On the 14th, a MAJOR TORNADO cut a 12 mile long swathe through Birmingham and its environs during the afternoon. Areas of STRUCTURAL DAMAGE. Other SEVERE STORMS were reported from north Lancashire and southwest Cumberland with much DAMAGE and one loss of life. (see also 2005/July)
 1931 (August):
THUNDERSTORMS over much of England 3rd to the 6th. SE Oxford had 50mm of rain on the 4th; Steeple Langford (Salisbury) had 114mm in 135 minutes (on same day?). STORMS over London on the 5th: 85mm at Chingford, 53mm in 50 minutes at Tottenham, and 26 mm in 22 minutes at Wimbledon in the morning (of the 5th). 48mm in 75 minutes at Puddletown.
> More INTENSE RAINFALL on the 8th: 145mm at Bolton, 100mm of it 150 minutes. Local FLOODING. Also on the 8th, at Boston, Lincolnshire, around 117 mm of RAIN fell in 3 hours and about 137 mm in 5 hours. (I have some suspicion that Bolton and Boston have been mixed up here, but for the moment can't separate the two.)
> More STORMS on the 14th in London.
> 15th: VIOLENT HAILSTORM in Southwold (Suffolk coast), which 'caused cattle to stampede & bathers on the beach were bruised and hurt by large HAILSTONES'.
 1931 (Summer):
A distinctly WET summer using the EWP series for England & Wales. The %age on LTA was circa 150%.
 1931 (September):
Following the excessive RAINFALL of the preceding summer (see above), it was not surprising that localised torrential downpours produced problems on presumably saturated ground: STORMS over the first four days of the month led to SEVERE FLOODING over the Midlands and north of England. At Lutterworth (Leicestershire) 30mm of RAIN was reported in 5 minutes on the 3rd; and another 20mm in 14 minutes fell during the next day. 127mm fell at Castleton (North Yorks.) on the 4th. This led to extensive FLOODING of the River Derwent. There was a notable FLOOD in the Malton, Yorkshire area - and no doubt in adjacent areas. (JMet); Serious FLOODING was also noted in Leeds (W. Yorkshire), apparently from a 'localised event', similar to those detailed above. Depth of waters 2 to 3 feet (up to ~1m) with many industrial properties flooded.
 1932 (Spring):
Notably WET spring in the EWP series, just outside the 'top-10' wettest such-named seasons. In particular, May 1932 was exceptionally WET across at least the England/Wales domain. In that series (begins 1766), the total given is 130 mm, representing around 200% of the LTA and placing it within the 'top-5' of WETTEST such-named months. FLOODING was reported from various spots - most notably in Bentley, a suburb of Doncaster (then West Riding of Yorkshire, now South Yorkshire) where FLOOD waters lingered for at least five weeks: considerable hardship in the general area with one coal mine being cut-off and men not being able to start work. [EWP]
 1933 (February):
In 1933 between the 23rd and 26th GALES and HEAVY SNOWSTORMS swept across much of Britain; this was probably the first occasion the Meteorological Office issued a forecast for road traffic dislocation due to snow to the general public. Described as a 'Great BLIZZARD' in Ireland, Wales, northern England, Midlands, southwest England: Whipsnade (Bedfordshire) up to 60 cm, and 45 cm at Harrogate, Yorkshire. The HIGH WINDS / GALES (easterly) in the west & north provided the mechanism for DEEP DRIFTING. Up in the higher southern Pennine towns, the depths were even greater, with level SNOW values of around 70cm observed at Buxton (Derbyshire) & Huddersfield (Yorkshire). There were reports in these areas of drifts of around 2 m, but of course in the highest parts of the Yorkshire Dales & North York Moors, for example, DRIFTS of at least 4 m were reported. Even across southern England, depths of between 15 & 30 cm were common. Many villages in South Wales and Yorkshire were isolated, with trains from Fishguard to London badly delayed.
 1933 (Summer):
Notably WARM summer: fifth warmest of the century & ranking (as of 2013) ninth in the entire series. Regarded as extending from Jun through to September: The CET values for each month, with anomalies (rel. to 1961-90 averages) were: Jun:15.6(+1.4), Jul:17.8(+1.7), Aug:17.6(+1.8), Sep:14.9(+1.3).
 1933 (Annual):
One of the two DRIEST years in the EWP series in the 20th century & in the 'top-10' for the series overall (as of 2013). Nominally, 718mm of rain for the year: other low years: 1921=629mm and 1964=731mm.
 1933/1934 (Autumn 1933-Autumn 1934):
Major DROUGHT, which was intense across southern Britain. Severe surface water impacts in 1933 followed by significant groundwater / water-supply impacts in 1934, where southern England crops especially were severely affected by lack of water. Using the EWP series, the DRY weather started in April of 1933, and during the following 20 months (i.e., until November 1934 inclusive) just three had above-average RAINFALL (and then not by much), 9 had much-below average PRECIPITATION, and the 'extended' winter of 1933/34 (November to February) had just under 50% average rainfall, including the notably DRY February of 1934 (12 mm / ~fifth normal PPN) which ranks within the 'top-10' of DRIEST such-named months in that series. [EWP]
 1934 (late October/early November):
A WINTRY spell much of the UK 30th October - 2nd November: On the last two days of October, parts of Scotland had HEAVY SNOWFALL with West Linton, Borders having up to 20cm; the Islands of Lewis and Harris had HEAVY SNOWFALL between 1st & 2nd November. Further south, SNOW/SNOW SHOWERS fell widely across the English Midlands & the SE of England on the 31st October. 5 cm level snow was recorded at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire & a covering was observed, at least for a time, across the Chilterns [hardly surprising], but apparently snow for the most part in these areas melted rapidly before registering an official 'snow-lying' day.
[ This may be the last time before October 2008 (q.v.) that snow LAY in parts of southern England in that month - some doubt here. Remember that there is a distinction between snow (or sleet) falling and lying - for the latter, snow must cover more than half the ground at 09GMT observation hour to count. Afternoon/evening snow on one day can often melt sufficiently by the following morning (particularly if ground is warm), such that it does not count as an official day of snow lying. ]
 1934/1935 (Winter):
One of the WARMEST winters (by CET) in the series which began in 1659. Up to 2013/14, rank=9 Value=6.13; Dec=8.1, Jan=4.5, Feb=5.8 (Others: 1686, 1796, 1834, 1869, 1975, 1989, 1990 and 2007.)
 1935 (May):
Widespread SNOW affected Scotland, northern England, Wales, parts of the English Midlands & SW England on the 16th/17th: one of the LATEST SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL events across southern England (TEC: see also 1955). On the 16th (according to TEC), SNOW 3 inches deep at Cambridge; Falls of SNOW produced 11cm (recorded as 5 inches I suspect) as far south as Tiverton (Devon) on the 17th. There were SNOWDRIFTS 2 feet deep in the Yorkshire Dales (GPE), and much greater values in the Pennines. Other values (from JMet): Woffelee (Borders) & Giggleswick (N. Yorkshire) 15cm. Snow fell on the higher ground between Blackburn (Lancashire) and Leeds to a depth of 30cm on the 16th. In western England, SNOW is very rare in May, but Lancaster & Southport (both Lancashire) reported snow falling on the 17th. (Apparently the first snow observed in these two low-level locations in May since 1891). At Birmingham, it was the worst May SNOWSTORM for 60 years. SNOWDRIFTS up to 1m high blocked several roads in the Pennines. Snow showers even reached the normally (for May) very mild Isles of Scilly.
 1935 (Autumn):
A WET autumn (England & Wales domain). All three months had well-above average RAINFALL (by the EWP series) as follows: September 137 mm/~170% (all-series), October 135 mm/~150% & November 152 mm/~160%. None of these places the individual months in the 'top-10' of their respective series, but the persistent of rain caused FLOODING problems quite widely. [EWP]
 1936 (29th August): LARGE RANGE OF TEMPERATURE IN ONE DAY
In the Rickmansworth 'frost-hollow', within 9 hours on the 29th August, 1936, the TEMPERATURE rose from an overnight low of 1.1 degC to an afternoon high of 29.4degC...a range of 28.3degC. In degF, which may in fact be how the values were recorded, this equates to 34.0degF to 84.9degF: a range of 50.9degF. ( see also 1978 & 1995.)
 1936 (October):
The second-half of this month produced two notably STORMY spells across maritime NW Europe. The first, 17th-19th October, brought W/NW'ly HIGH WINDS which cause minor DAMAGE across the British Isles, but produced a SEVERE FLOOD SURGE on the continental side of the North Sea. Then, 26th/27th, an even more potent DEPRESSION swept in from the Atlantic across Shetland, heading for Oslofjord by 27th. This produced GUSTS in the range 75-90 kn across Scotland & its islands, with DAMAGE in the Clyde valley. Once again, there was sea FLOODING on the other side of the North Sea. [HS/23]
 1937 (February):
One of the WETTEST Februarys across England & Wales (using the EWP series).
28th February: GREAT SNOWSTORM/BLIZZARD - W & N BRITAIN
A great snowstorm which set in on the 28th February, on a northerly gale, produced snow drifts some 13 feet deep in many western and northern parts of Britain. The drifts lasted in some places throughout March.
 1938 (February to April):
An exceptionally DRY spell over England & Wales, with an anomaly of roughly 30% across the three months. April, with a total of just 7 mm, was the DRIEST such-named month in that series, and the fifth-DRIEST any-named month (last updated 2013). It was even drier along parts of the English south coast; for example, at Poole (Dorset), no rain was recorded at all in April, and at Mayflower Park, Southampton, just 0.8 mm of RAIN was logged this month. (EWP, DWxB). In Scotland, not so dry, with anomalies around 70%.
Dry springs can be notably chilly, but this spring included the second-WARMEST March in the CET record [as of 2014]. With a value of 9.1degC, this represented an anomaly of around +4C on the long-term average, and was only just pipped to 'top spot' by 1957, with a value of 9.2degC. Despite the undoubted warming of the lower troposphere in recent years, no March since this latter date has come close to equalling or exceeding those values. (CET)
 1938 (June):
Unusually intense DEPRESSION (for early summer) 1st/2nd bringing HIGH WINDS to southern England & along the Channel coastline. GUSTS of 76 kn at Calshot (Hampshire), 69 kn Lizard (Cornwall) & 60-62 kn in the Thames Estuary. The GALE was described at the time (Lamb) as being of 'unprecedented violence' for the time of year. [HS/23]
 1938 (June+July):
Noted (in 1998) as the WETTEST in the Scottish rainfall series (started: 1869) ... see also 1998.
 1938 (October):
In the early hours of the 4th, a VERY INTENSE DEPRESSION moving east-north-east across northern districts of Scotland, brought EXCEPTIONALLY SEVERE GALES to most parts of the British Isles, especially England and Wales, resulting in considerable DAMAGE / some DEATHS. The Irish Sea received the full force of this storm, mean hourly winds of 50kt or more being recorded at Fleetwood, Southport, Bidston Observatory and Holyhead; 56 knots at the two latter places were the highest recorded (at that time) in any month during the long records of these stations. The HIGHEST GUSTS in this region were 83kt at Bidston Observatory, 80kt at Holyhead and Manchester, and 78kt at Southport. The highest GUST in this storm was one of 90 knots at St. Ann's Head (Pembrokeshire/Dyfed).
A WET month by the EWP series with circa 150% of the long-term average by that measure (though by no means a record.) Watendlath Farm (Cumbria) recorded 475mm from the 2nd to the 12th of the month.
 1938 (November):
On the 5th this month, the MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE reached 21.1degC at a number of places across East Anglia; one of only a handful of occasions when the November temperature has reached or exceeded 20degC in the UK. (See also 1906, 1946, 1997 & 2003).
 1938 (18th to 26th December): BEST 'WHITE CHRISTMAS' OF THE 20TH CENTURY
During the very severe December of 1938, over a foot of snow fell in places over the eastern part of Britain, and to the west, it was in the realms of 2 feet! Snow fell variously from the 18th until the 26th, and with little of the traffic pounding of recent years, contributed to a fine, winter event. [The following year - the nation was fully engaged in the Second World War.]
  1939 (January):
A notably WET month: in the 'top-5' wet Januarys by the EWP series. The area between London and Norwich (across the northern Home Counties and into East Anglia) had 300% of average RAINFALL, e.g. 128mm of RAIN at Chelmsford (circa 220%). There are several reports of significant FLOODING due to the high rainfall totals.
Quite a 'SNOWY' month overall. 25th/26th: Widespread SNOW southern England and South Wales, with significant SNOWFALL in parts of the London area. Depths of up to 14 inches (35cm) were measured on Hampstead Heath. In central London though, nothing like the amount of snow due possibly to the heat-island in the City. A SEVERE SNOWSTORM over the higher ground in the Southwest of England & South Wales. 50cm of SNOW in Berkshire, Wiltshire & Hampshire. Much DRIFTING in the strong winds. In South Wales, SNOW caused a train to stop, while in parts of Berkshire, Hampshire & Wiltshire, snow fell to a depth of 60cm. 2000 people lost their telephone lines in Reading. On the 26th, the Cantref Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons, received 35cm of SNOW and on the morning of the 26th, Stanford Dingley (Berkshire) had nearly 50cm. DRIFTS of 3.5m were also reported on the high ground in SW England over these two days.
 1939/1940 (Winter): FIRST WINTER OF WORLD WAR II
The winter of 1939-40 was not so intense as that of 1894-95, but was longer and SNOWIER. Using the CET record, the overall value for the combination of December, January & February was 1.5degC, some 2C below average TEMPERATURE. The key 'cold' month was January (see below).
January 1940 was one of the 20-or-so COLDEST Januarys in the CET record, with a value of -1.4degC (roughly 4.5C below the all-series average), and just outside the 'top-10' of coldest such-named months. The month started cold, but with a mild spell towards the end of the first week; however, bitterly COLD conditions set in with a vengeance during the second week, with some days of persistent FREEZING conditions, frequent SNOWFALL and biting winds. ICE FLOES were reported in the lower Thames Estuary ( TEC ). The month was notable for a GLAZED FROST event at the end of January 1940 (26th) as the bitterly cold conditions of the previous three weeks started to be displaced, though there was more significant SNOWFALL 27th/28th before the milder weather finally took over by the month's end.
January 1940 was quite a SNOWY month, especially for Scotland & England. On the 16th/17th, SNOW occurred in many parts of the UK. It was heavy in eastern parts of Kent & east Sussex, where deep DRIFTS occurred. 30 cm (possibly more) at Eastbourne, Sussex. On the 26th HEAVY SNOW over the north; four feet (circa 120cm) of SNOW in Sheffield on the 26th and 10 foot (circa 300 cm) DRIFTS reported in Bolton, Lancashire on the 29th. Most of England & Scotland experienced SNOWFALL during this last week. Much of Yorkshire, Derbyshire & Cheshire received between 30 and 60 cm. In Sheffield (South Yorkshire), 120cm of SNOW fell. The West Highland railway line in Scotland was blocked, with some villages isolated. By the 28th, 27 cm of snow lay at Pontefract (West Yorkshire), while as a direct comparison London only reported 15cm. On the 29th, the SNOWFALL on the western parts of the Pennines made a train snowbound a few miles south of Preston (Lancashire) for 36 hours. At Crawford (southern Scotland), 400 passengers were stranded for 6 days. [needs checking / corroboration].
[ Although the land war, as far as western Europe was concerned, was very much in its 'phoney' phase, hostilities on the high seas ( surface & submarine raiders ) ensured that trade was hit from early in the War; reduction of supplies was aggravated by the sometimes severe weather, though we were more self-sufficient (in food terms) than we are now in the 21st century, and our expectations as regards food availability and variety are higher in modern times. ]
 1900-1909  1910-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949
Back to main historical menu.
1940-1949
 1940 (May & June): FINE WEATHER: FALL OF FRANCE/DUNKIRK EVACUATION
WARM & SUNNY. Allowed air operations on both sides [ i.e. RAF & Luftwaffe ] to proceed unhindered during the 'Fall of France', Dunkirk [ Operation 'Dynamo' ] etc. The last week of May, and the first week of June, 1940, the weather in the eastern Channel was unusually quiet, which allowed the 'little' ships to operate where they were not designed to do so. Even Force 5 or 6 winds would have significantly changed the course of history, as many fewer than the ~364 000 troops of all nationalities (mainly British & French, but also Poles and Belgians) would have been recovered to the English side of the Channel: ended 4th June, but the principal period of evacuation was 27th May to 1st June. The weather wasn't the primary factor - it allowed, for example, the Luftwaffe to attack formations trying to embark to cross the Channel; the main reason the troops were evacuated in such large numbers was that German High Command failed to press home the advantage for whatever reason. (Ref: 14)
 1940 (late Spring, Summer & early Autumn):
Extended periods of fine & DRY weather (see also above); May, June, August & September were all dry months, with %ages on all-series mean of 65%, 32%, 20% and 61% respectively. This benign weather was interrupted by July 1940, when the EWP series gives 113 mm, or around 190% of the all-series mean. These figures are reflected at Southampton (Mayflower Park), when the total RAINFALL in each of the months listed (May-Sep) was: 8 mm, 5 mm, 98 mm, 0 mm ( absolutely DRY!) and 41 mm. It is interesting to speculate that these lengthy spells of dry weather helped RAF Fighter Command in preparation for the air onslaught from across the Channel; given that many airfields has grass airstrips (either at the 'primary' or 'relief / alternate' landing grounds), excessive rain in the summer would have seriously hampered operations during what we now call the 'Battle of Britain'. (EWP)
 1940-1942 (Winters): SEVERE WINTERS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
The three winters of the early war years (1939/40 to 1941/42) were notable for some harsh conditions. In the '39/'40 winter, not only was snow a significant problem, but it contained the longest-lasting RAIN-ICE event (27th January to 3rd February, 1940) known for these islands, with severe transport dislocation, and many injuries on the ice in a large area from north Wales across parts of the south-west Midlands to the southwest and central-southern England. During the same period, a great SNOW storm with a VIOLENT GALE affected southeastern England with snow drifts well above 15 ft. January, 1940, with a CET of minus 1.4degc, was the coldest (to that date) of the century, only later beaten by January 1963(q.v). On January 19th 1942, a great SNOWSTORM affected much of Britain with much dislocation of life. February 1942 was notably COLD - one of the 10 coldest Februarys in the CET series. The severity of these winters caused much hardship, particularly as the convoys across the North Atlantic were being severely interrupted by U-Boat attacks. However, its worth noting that the severe weather affected much of the continent of Europe as well!
December 1941 and January 1942 saw the harsh Russian winter weather put paid to the German advance on Moscow. From early in December 1941, TEMPERATURES just outside Moscow were down to (minus)45degC or lower, over a full SNOW cover. The main attack on the capital occurred on 22nd December, but by then conditions for troops were extreme, who lacked proper winter clothing & whose tanks, guns etc., had not been 'winterised'. Military historians suggest that the failure of German High Command to press home the attack on Moscow in the late summer of 1941 was a key error, meaning that major offensive operations had to occur in the depths of the Russian winter. By January, 1942, TEMPERATURES as low as (minus)52degC were being recorded. Estimates are that more German soldiers died from bitter cold than from combat action; however, Soviet losses, both military and civilian, were also high. (Ref.14)
 1941 (January):
Much SNOW just after mid-month: The first major SNOWSTORM of 1941 occurred between 18th & 20th January: In Scotland & northern England, SNOW fell to a depth of 60cm, with 30 cm in parts of the Midlands. On the evening of the 20th, nearly 45cm fell at Birmingham. At Hoylake (Merseyside), SNOWDRIFTS were up to 3m high. In Scotland, the SNOWSTORMS were especially SEVERE, with parts of Sutherland & Caithness isolated by DRIFTS up to 4.5m. 50cm at Balmoral on the 22nd. BLIZZARD north-east England and southeast Scotland - noted at the time as the 'worst since March 1888'. At Consett, Derbyshire, SNOW DEPTHS of up to 4 feet (120 cm) reported.
 1941 (February):
18th to 20th February, 1941: BLIZZARD eastern England/southern Scotland with worst hit area between Tees Side and North Yorkshire. Six trains were buried in DRIFTING SNOW north of Newcastle upon Tyne, with over 1000 people on board. At Durham, snow depth 105cm and at Newcastle upon Tyne 70cm. Sunderland and Durham were completely cut off for a while. Considerable telephonic disruption due wet/freezing snow clinging to overhead telephone lines. (NB: First winter of the 'real' war after the phoney winter 1939/40: food shortages acute.)
 1941 (Annual):
Although not notably DRY nationally, across the south of England, as evidenced by Southampton (Mayflower Park) figures & remarks from elsewhere, it was a year without excessive rainfall. The annual RAINFALL total at Southampton represented roughly 87% of the long-term mean there and further west, at Poole (Dorset), there were four periods of extended DRY weather, the longest being from 10th June to 10th July, when no measurable rain fell.
 1943 (January):
Notably WET over England & Wales (using the EWP series).
 1943/1944 (late winter 1943 to early summer 1944):
Across the 'English lowlands' DROUGHT conditions prevailed: reckoned to be amongst the 10 most-intense such-events (~70% modern-day average RAINFALL) in a dataset starting in 1910.['Weather', April 2013]
 1944 (6th June): "D-DAY" NORMANDY LANDINGS
The most critical phase of the second World War for the western Allies was the landing of thousands of troops and large amounts of material in the initial attack on the German occupied north coast of France (Normandy beaches). The attack was postponed from the 5th to the 6th based on a weather forecast of unsuitable weather, and even on the 6th, conditions were not ideal, with landing craft having problems with HEAVY SWELL. One of the important factors in the decision to delay by one day was that RAF Bomber Command and USAAF Strategic Air Force could not attack important targets in the invasion area (and the key 'junction' / supply points to the rear), without some prospect of sighting the targets: this also applied to the Allied naval forces, as they needed to 'spot' shore targets for success. As it turned out, if the attack had taken place on the 5th, heavy and extensive CLOUD COVER over northern France would have seriously hampered these operations - by the morning of the 6th, the cloud had either cleared, or become 'lifted' and well broken, allowing more accurate (for the times) targeting.
> The month of June, 1944 was most unusually unsettled, and two weeks later, June 19th/20th, a MAJOR STORM affected the Channel area disrupting follow-up operations. A strong northeast WIND - onshore to the post-invasion bridgehead beaches - at least Beaufort force 7 at times, was accompanied by thick, LOW CLOUD. This disturbed weather lasted to at least 22nd June with only slight easing of the wind. These conditions caused havoc to the build of forces and supplies, but by this time, the foothold in France was sufficiently firm (and German forces were anyway on the 'back foot' - at least for a time), and the liberation of western Europe was never really in doubt. (but see also 1944: December - the 'Battle of the Bulge').
[NB: May 1944 was largely a 'benign' month - with a lot of fine, anticyclonic weather which aided the build-up of forces and positioning around the southern and western coasts of Britain and Northern Ireland. Indeed, it transpires that German forces (von Rundstedt / Rommel) in France were on a high state of alert, fearing the attack during May. By early June, German meteorologists and intelligence assessed that the threat was less, due to the weather deterioration, and withdrew some forces for training etc. The fact that the Allied forces (Eisenhower) decided to 'go' in a "WEATHER-WINDOW" in an otherwise unfavourable set-up may have caught German High Command off-balance. The STORM of the 5th was also helpful in keeping Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft on the ground, so failing to spot that the Allied forces had had a 'false start'! ]
 1944 (15th December): GLENN MILLER'S PLANE LOST
On this day, Major Glenn Miller, USAAF, flew from a small airfield in southern England, heading for Paris across the English Channel. The aircraft did not arrive. There is great doubt surrounding the loss of Miller, (probably the greatest band-leader of the time) and his aircraft, but it seems likely that a returning bomber-wave off-loaded ordnance over the English Channel prior to returning to English bases; with heavy cloud cover, it could not be ascertained that there was air traffic below - and in any case, one small aircraft would be difficult to spot, so it is assumed that Miller's aircraft was caught by this redundant ordnance.
 1944 (16th December - 23rd December): BATTLE OF THE BULGE/ARDENNES OFFENSIVE
German High Command asked for climatological information on when was the best time to launch a counter-attack (to oppose the US/British/Commonwealth/Free-Europe forces sweeping across northern France and the Low Countries). Conditions required were that CLOUD COVER should be so complete & persistent that allied aircraft could not define targets (the German air-force, the Luftwaffe, was essentially of little use to oppose the allied air-fleets supporting ground operations). The period chosen by German staff meteorologists was early to mid-December, and on the 12th, the date of attack was set for the 16th. The "Ardennes Offensive" (as German High Command named the operation) progressed well as allied air forces could not support ground-troops safely, and as there was a snow-cover, the radar altimeters were not accurate for precision bombing. However, by the 23rd, cloud was lifting/breaking and the first allied attack and support sorties (food, ammunition etc.), were flown. The German attack ran out of steam, and on 3rd January, 1945 (despite heavy SNOWFALL), a renewed thrust by US & allied forces began & by 16th January, all territory lost to the Ardennes Offensive (or "Battle of the Bulge") was re-taken. (Ref.14).
 1945 (January):
SNOW a feature of this month.
> 9th/10th: Bellingham (Northumberland) up to 60 cm of SNOW in the first half of the month.
> Later in the month, 22nd up to the 25th, South Wales & SW England experienced significant SNOWFALL (noted in JMet as on the 25th) with up to 60 cm in Glamorgan; Cardiff 45 to 75 cm (the latter figure is quite remarkable for a low-ground location).
> Later still, 29th/30th, HEAVY SNOW again affected the north of England and southern Scotland. Edinburgh had 25 cm on the 29th, while on the 30th, 25cm fell at Harrogate (North Yorkshire). SNOWDRIFTS of 6m blocked roads in Morayshire, Sutherland and parts of Dunbartonshire and in northern Scotland snowdrifts trapped many trains.
 1945 (Spring):
A notably WARM season over England and Wales (see also 1990). If including February, then the spring was especially notable for early occurrence of warm days. CET values were (with anomalies rel. to 1961-90 averages): Feb:7.1(+3.3), Mar:7.9(+2.2), Apr:10.1(+2.3).
 1946 (August & September):
A notably WET combination of months. By the EWP, the total was=263mm, though some places would have had much more than this. In the 20th century, in the top 3 or so such pairings - perhaps the 2nd wettest, only beaten by 1927=293mm; much FLOODING.
 1946 (November):
On the 3rd, the TEMPERATURE reached 20.6degC at Aber in North Wales; the next day (4th), it rose to 21.7degC at Prestatyn (North Wales/Denbigh-Flint). This latter value is the HIGHEST November TEMPERATURE in the UK (as at 2013). Temperatures of 20degC or more in November are a rarity, and these events are one of only a handful of such. (See also, 1906, 1938, 1997 & 2003).
[ The CET anomaly was greater than +1.5C on the modern-day average for a November, and placed it within the 'top-20' of WARMEST such-named months.]
 1946/47 (Winter): HARSH, POST SECOND WORLD-WAR WINTER - SEVERE RATIONING
COLDEST February in the CET record, and coldest February at Edinburgh since 1764. One of the HARSHEST winters experienced in the British Isles, though there was little hint of severe weather until after mid-January, when pressure rose from a High over Greenland, extending across to Scandinavia & leading to bitter easterly airflow for most. Also regarded as the SNOWIEST winter in the century, and for perhaps back to the middle of the previous century. (see 4. below)
The winter continued at its most SAVAGE in March, 1947, hitting particularly hard at a time of fuel and food shortages after the second World War. Significant adverse effects for upland farmers, such that many abandoned their way of life, most notably in Wales & the North of England.
Some notes from the usw ng: "The worst of the weather began in late January and the spell did not finally relinquish its grip until mid March. Some very HEAVY SNOWFALL - a sequence of severe BLIZZARDS led to accumulations estimated at between 50 and 120 cm across the English lowlands, with drifts often in excess of 10 feet, sometimes 15 feet (quite remarkable compared with late 20th / early 21st century experience). The Second World War had been over for only 18 months, fuel was rationed, as well as food and clothing. Power cuts were common, frequent and widespread, and there was a shortage of coal (the main source of heat other than gas), due to transport problems, and the need to divert coal to the power stations. Mean TEMPERATURE below 0degC for 9 weeks. Bulldozers were diverted from bomb clearance to snow clearance. Ice-breakers had to be used in the River Medway (no dates or further details for this) & ICE FLOES were reported in the lower Thames & its Estuary / TEC. There were severe losses to agriculture; 2 million sheep died, and the FROSTS destroyed much of the late potato crop. The aftermath was equally severe, with widespread burst pipes, local flooding as snow melted: winter of extreme misery.
THE SNOWY WINTER OF 1947: This event began late, as up until mid-January, although there had been cold spells, the weather was not particularly extreme. Includes the coldest February (by CET = minus 1.9degC) in that series, and you had to go back to 1895 for a comparable value (minus 1.8). This is now thought to be the snowiest winter of the 20th century (and perhaps the snowiest since 1814), with some snow falling somewhere across the country between 22nd January and 17th March & although some lowland areas in southern England & more generally in the west had little lying snow, for much of the country, there was continuous SNOW cover from the last third of January until roughly mid-March & the greater part of the UK had some form of snow cover continuously from 27th January to the 13th March. Level snow depths exceeded 2ft (circa 60cm) and there was much drifting. Much dislocation (railways particularly badly affected - a vital part of the infrastructure at this time) and great hardship emphasized the reduced circumstances the general population were enduring after the recent War.
 1947 (March): ...AND THE HIGH RAINFALL/SNOW-MELT FLOODS OF 1947
As the heavy accumulation of SNOW was eroded by rapidly rising temperatures, along came the RAIN which caused major FLOODING. March 1947 EWR rainfall was over 177mm (over 300% of average) - the WETTEST March across England & Wales by that series (as at 2014).
Warm air and heavy RAIN moved slowly across the south-west of England on the 10th, spreading slowly northeastwards thereafter, and FLOODS affected huge areas by the 13th due to a combination of the HEAVY RAIN & rapid THAW. At Teddington Lock (Thames / Middlesex), the second highest stream-flow was recorded (at the time), in a record that started in 1883/84. There was significant RAINFALL on almost every day from the 12th March to the 4th April, 1947. The Thames was reportedly nearly a 'mile wide' at Maidenhead [Berkshire]. Water supplies were contaminated with raw sewage. Many thousands of properties were FLOODED / DAMAGED, with up to 6000 in the Thames basin alone. A Commonwealth Disaster Fund was set up, to help relieve the food shortages: and all this for a country that had recently 'won' the War!
A severe south-west GALE on the night 16th/17th coupled to the high tides and high inland water levels, combined to breach dykes in eastern Fens of England. Much of lowland eastern England, from Yorkshire down to Essex were affected by flooding.
For Scotland as a whole, March 1947 was the COLDEST of the twentieth century - the milder conditions further south taking some time to have an impact across northern Britain.
 1947 (Spring):
(see also individual notes above): this season was the 4th WETTEST (as of 2013) such-named in the England & Wales series, with only 1979, 1818 & 1782 wetter. The total in this dataset was 314mm, representing around 160% of the LTA. As noted above, the exceptionally WET March proved the deciding factor.
 1947 (Summer):
Notably WARM summer: one of the top 7 or so of the century. August in particular was very SUNNY, notably DRY and very WARM. RJ Prichard ('Weather', February 2013) states that … " the month was unprecedented (for fine weather) for over 75 years over practically the whole of the British Isles - only surpassed by August 1995."
 1947-1949 (Two years):
Across the English lowlands the period late summer 1947 to early autumn 1949 was assessed as one of the most intense DROUGHT episodes in a UK MetO dataset that started in 1910. Using the wider EWP series, the total RAINFALL over the period August 1947 to September 1949 (26 months) represented about 80% of the long-term average: the period August to December 1947 was especially noteworthy for rainfall deficiency; as is usual with such events, there was considerable variability with a few WET months mixed in with extended dry spells. For example, January 1948, with 177 mm was the WETTEST such-named month in the entire series (see below for more). ['Weather'/RMetSoc, April 2013, EWP]
 1948 (January):
Notably WET over England and Wales - the second WETTEST January (after 2014) in that series (as at 2014). Exceptionally WET in many central and northern areas of England and over north Wales: new records for Valley (Anglesey/NW Wales), Ringway (Manchester), Tynemouth (NE England) and Watnall (Nottingham).
 1949 (April):FINE/WARM EASTER - RECORD TEMPERATURES
The start of Easter saw sunshine and RECORD April TEMPERATURES in many parts of the country; 23 degC was exceeded in places on the 15th. On the 16th (Easter Saturday) in 1949 the TEMPERATURE reached 29.4 degC at Camden Square in London, the highest April temperature - recorded in the United Kingdom (and England) for the 20th century (and perhaps in the known record**). On the same day, the TEMPERATURE reached 28.9 degC in Kensington, Wealdstone and Greenwich, and some authorities regard this latter value as a truer representation of the values on this day. (** also possibly the earliest known date in the 20th century for '80degF' or more to be recorded.)
 1949 (Summer):
Notably WARM summer: one of the top dozen or so of the 20th century. The mean value over the three months of June, July & August=16.5degC, just over a degree C above the all-series mean. For some time afterwards, this summer was regarded by the post-war generation as a 'bench-mark' of fine summers - but a cluster of seasons with higher values came along in the last quarter of the 20th century & early 21st to eclipse it: these were (in date order) - 1975, 1976 (warmest in series), 1983, 1995, 1997, 2003 & 2006. [CET]
 1949 (Annual):
A notably VERY WARM year: almost equalling the years 1999 and 1990 about which so much fuss was made (at the time). In the CET record in fact (which roughly represents the central lowlands of Midland and Home Counties England), with a value of 10.6degC it ranked (as of 2013), as fourth warmest, with 2006 the warmest year (10.8degC). [CET]
 1900-1909  1910-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949
main historical menu
1950 - 1974>>>>