and came across the staggering record for “greatest depth [of snow] in an inhabited area” of 572cm in Forest in Teesdale in March 1947.
Is that right? Are we talking one drift of 572cm or is that average depth on level ground? If the latter, how do you get out of the house to get coal/food etc?
Is there anyone on here who was around back then and remembers it? I can’t get my head around how it would work.
Lots of family stories from the time. My mother lived in settle and can remember snow still along the sides of the roads in june. My father lived on a hill farm below penyghent and talked of tunnelling through drifts on tje roads where the snow had banked up level witj barn roofs. But my grandfather said nit as bad as the winter of 1890 when he had to redo a year at school because the snow stopped him getting off the farm. But that might be billocks.
There was a lot more snow. On the road going from settle towards Stainforth i can remember snow fences in the 60's. Until they rotted away.
1963 wasn't much of a joke, either:
Then there's this classic of industrial documentary from 1955:
I was only 3 years old during the 1947 snow storm, and don't remember it apart from being very cold. We lived at RAF Mildenhall at the time in a timber bungalow. The pipes froze and we had no heating. I vaguely remember seeing snow banked up against the windows (they would only have been single glazed)
However I do remember the Feb 1978 west country snow storm. We lived in a small Dorset village just off the main Shaftesbury to Blandford road. I remember waking up to an eerie silence, and darkness, and there was a drift of snow up against the wall of our bungalow reaching right up to the eaves and covering the windows and front door. Opening the front door revealed a wall of snow and I spent the morning digging it out.
The snow was generally about 2' to 3' deep up to 15' where it had drifted. The car was buried under a drift completely covering it. The only visible thing was the roof radio aerial sticking up though the snow.
Fortunately we had oil fired central heating so could keep warm. The main road was completely blocked by drifts higher than me and, with neighbours we rescued about a dozen motorists from cars covered by drifts. Villagers with spare accommodation put them up for the next week. The snow was so deep that it was difficult to walk through it, particularly where drifting had occurred. We were trapped for a week before the snow ploughs eventually broke though. People were running low on food and medicines so as I had a pair of touring skis and skins I skied up to Shaftesbury, the nearest town to get some provisions. It was actually good fun!
I remember the general uncanny silence, due to a complete lack of traffic anywhere punctuated by the occasional helicopter from the Army at Middle Wallop who were flying evacuation trips for people requiring hospital treatment. This included a pregnant girl in our village who went into labour.
Eventually, after a week, the snow ploughs reached us and the main road was cleared. Their biggest problem had been abandoned cars which were impossible to spot being totally covered by drifted snow.
It was an interesting experience.
"January 1982. A good winter continues. It began mild and wet at the New Year, but then became very cold from the 5th to the 15th with some record low temperatures. December's cold air was never far away, and with anticyclones in place over Greenland and Scandinavia a cold front moved south, pushed down by northeasterlies, with cold air slowly reintroduced from the 3rd, preceded by heavy rain. Between the 5th and 8th over 100 mm of rain fell on the Southern Uplands and Pennines. As the ground was frozen, it just ran off. As a result there was severe flooding in the York district when the River Ouse broke its banks after rising to 5m above normal. Ice floes became jammed under bridges. The flood waters then froze over. On the morning of the 5th there was over 40 cm of level snow at Braemar. There was more snow in the north on the 7th; and -23C at Braemar; the next day Grantown-on-Spey fell to -26.8C. The battle between very cold and mild air in the south led to blizzards; the Midlands and Wales had 30-50 cm of snow on the 8-9th with easterly gales. Many places were cut off (e.g. Torquay and Weymouth). Some drifts were 20' high. Lasting 36 hours, this was one of the most severe blizzards of the century across the Southwest and Midlands. Then with clear skies, light winds, and snow cover, Braemar fell to -27.2C (equal British record for the lowest reading) on the morning of the 10th, and logged several other very low minima that month. The maximum on the 10th was only -19.1C: a record low maximum for Britain; with a freshening easterly wind even Weymouth did not rise above -4C that day. The following day the minimum was -26.3C. There were some other very low temperatures in Scotland on the morning of the 11th, including -26.6C at Bowhill, and -26.2 at West Linton, both in the Borders. The English record was also set early in the morning of the 10th (beating that just made in December 1981!): -26.1C at Harper Adams College, just outside Newport (Shrops.)." http://www.personal.dundee.ac.uk/~taharley/britweather.htm
I was around in 1963. I also remember the snow over the top from Crawleyside being heaped higher than the gritting lorries either side of the road in the 1970s and snow that drifted as high as the outhouse roofs in the lane outside.
In the 1980s when I worked at Kishorn a train was lost for a couple of days buried in the snow with its passengers
Stanhope used to be cut off for a week or so many of the winters of the late 60s early 70s
Winter 2013 had over a meter of snow on the tops above Weardale and there were four meter high drifts of snow around the old static engine building in the railway cutting above rookhope, including an incredible overhanging bulge of snow three meters tall suspended from a cornice that bottomed out a meter above ground. I remember an exposed wall of the building sort of seeded a linear drift downwind of the wall and not much wider than it.
Walking from Stanhope to Consett in winter around 2010, I recall passing a Freelander that was almost completely buried in the snow on Crawleyside, and seeing the top few cm of fenceposts sticking out of the snow cover in places and hoping I didn’t sink onto the barbed wire below as I walked over it. The Moorcock - may it rest in peace - was a welcome intermission on the walk.
In 1947 my grandad had just started up a building firm after being demobbed. He won a project in Hartington and by the time the bad weather hit, the job was already delayed. He and his men got their ex-army truck up the road from Ashbourne to Hartington right through the bad weather, often digging their way out of drifts (the fields had no snow at all, but drifting snow filled the roads between the drystone walls). He got to work nearly every day - he had his men to pay.
Meanwhile the RAF was using old bombers to airdrop supplies to villages like Hartington - typical crab-air publicity stunt I expect.
It was a really really bad winter apparently.
Early January 2010 was cold in Wales. 8 inches of snow on my car roof after returning from a desperate ascent of the Bristly Ridge in full blizzard conditions.
-11c the next morning outside the hut in Ogwen but -22c at Corwen as we drove home in my 4x4!
The following year in February, it was -11c at Glencoe but a mate arrived from Braemar where it had been -24c!
It was also the time when Altnaharra in northern Scotland had the most continuous record of temps never rising above freezing.
All this from memory.