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The severe winter 1894-95 A special report with Times reports

#1 User is offline   summer '85 

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Posted --

The winter of 1894-95 was severe with a CET of 1.2C. Here's a summary of this winter.
DECEMBER 1894

December 1894 was mild for the most part and the first three weeks were dominated by SWlies.

It was not until the last week, when the winds veered to the NW that colder weather arrived with frosts and snow showers to exposed areas.
18cm of snow was reported in Norfolk at the end of the month.

 

JANUARY 1895

 January started with cold northerlies and temperatures near freezing.

Troughs in the flow gave snow showers to most parts and many places had a snow cover, Oxford had 8cm by the 6th.
High pressure to the west moved across the UK and under the clear skies and with a deep snow cover, very low minima were recorded with -11C in parts of Norfolk

 

 

and -18C in parts of the Highlands. Freezing fog formed and was slow to clear, a maxima of -5C was recorded at Ross-on-Wye in freezing fog.
Milder air tried to push in from the Atlantic with a system and a heavy snowfall resulted across the UK with depths of snow of between 8 to 15cm being widely reported.

The Atlantic air finally broke through and there was a thaw resulting in flooding in a number of areas.
Temperatures were in double figures in the south, Kew recording 11C.

 The NNWlies returned on the 21st with a low over the near continent and
it's active cold front moving across SE England bringing thunderstorms, snow and hail.

 

The northerly flow for a few days and conditions were severe over northern Scotland with heavy drifting snow and snow fell elsewhere exposed to the north wind.

 

FEBRUARY 1895

At the end of January, high pressure was intensifying over Scandinavia and reached a pressure of 1049mb.

 

A very cold easterly flowed across the UK and most of Europe and there were severe frosts with minima of -13C at Loughborough and -15C being recorded at Chester.
Heavy snow showers came with the easterly with Yorkshire and Lincolnshire getting the brunt of the showers, South Shields was severely affected by 15 hours of continous snowfall
forcing the closure of the shipyard. Small polar lows affected the west with snowfalls, Douglas on the Isle of Man recorded 20cm of snow.
As the high over Scandinavia moved over the UK then came a phenomenally cold spell with exceptionally low minima. Temperatures of -20C or less were regularly recorded, -27.2C was recorded at Braemer on the 11th, the lowest ever UK minima, -24C at Buxton also on the 11th,
 -22.2C at Rutland. -12.7C was the mean average temperature for Wakefield in Yorkshire between the 5th and the 14th. Canals, rivers, lakes and ponds froze in the severe cold, the Manchester Ship canal was iced over, there were ice floes in the Thames and the Thames estuary itself was impassable because of ice.

Many people died of hypothermia, there was mass unemployment as industries were closed by the conditions and coal supplies dwindled as transporting coal by canal or rail became impossible.
As the high began to slip westwards, milder Atlantic air slowly encroached and temperatures crept above freezing for the first time in a couple of weeks, London had its first frost free night on the 21st for three weeks. Maxima temperature were finally returning to close to normal by the end of the month.

Data for Winter 1894-95

December 1894: 5.1  (+1.3)
January  1895: 0.2  (-3.3)
February 1895:-1.8  (-6.2)


Coldest spells of the winter

6th-13th January: -1.5

26th January-1st February: -3.0

5th-18th February: -4.8

 

The first half of February: -4.3

The period 1st January-14th February: 0

January 1895 is the 26th coldest ever recorded
February 1895 is the second coldest February ever recorded

Coldest daily CET maximum: -4.5C 6th February

Coldest daily CET minimum: -13.5C 8th February

Mildest daily CET maximum: 11.2C on the 13th December

Photos from February 1895

http://www.segfl.org.uk/victorianlearningjourney/images/medium/general/thames_frozen_over_1895.jpg
http://www.portcities.org.uk/london/upload/img_400/H4967.jpg
http://www.portcities.org.uk/london/upload/img_400/H4970.jpg
http://www.portcities.org.uk/london/upload/img_400/H6656.jpg


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#2 User is offline   summer '85 

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Posted --

To gauge just how cold that spell was in Feb' 1895, here are the record minima set for these dates in February that were set in 1895



7th: -21.7
8th: -25.0
9th: -23.9
10th: -25.6
11th: -27.2
12th: -20.6
13th: -21.9
14th: -21.7
16th: -23.9
17th: -23.9
18th: -23.9
19th: -22.2

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#3 User is offline   summer '85 

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Talk about enterprise, making money out of the severe cold with a trip to go ice skating!


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#4 User is offline   summer '85 

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Posted --

From the 7th February 1895 edition of the Times




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#5 User is offline   summer '85 

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Looking at those minimum temperatures and converting them into Celsius.

Cambridge, Loughborough: -13C
Oxford: -11.7C (-17.2C on grass)
York: -8.9C
London: -8.3C
Liverpool: -7.8C
Yarmough: -6.7C
Jersey: -6.1C
Scilly: -2.8C

Some maxima
London: -1.1C (Brixton)
Aberdeen: -2.2C
Yarmouth: -3.9C
York: -5C

Around Europe
Paris
Max: -7.2C
Min: -12.8C

Berlin
Max: -8.3C
Min: -10.6C

Vienna
Max: -10.7C
Min: -17C





 

 


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#6 User is offline   summer '85 

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Posted --

Here's from the 14th February 1895 edition of the Times.

One historical footnote, it was premiere night of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" It didn't get a frosty reception oTongue

 

 



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#7 User is offline   summer '85 

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Posted --

Some of those temperatures converted into Celsius

Loughborough: -16.7C
Nairn: -15C
Aberdeen: -12.2C
Oxford: -10.5C
Cambridge: -9.4C
London (8am): -8.3C
Liverpool/Dungeness: -7.8C

Around Europe

Paris
Max: -1.7C
Min: -11.7C

Berlin
Max: -6.7C
Min: -12.2C

Vienna
Max: -5.2C
Min: -8.6C

Rome
Max: 12.7C
Min: 6.8C

Lyons
Min: -6.7C

Nice
Min: 2.8C

Perpignan
Min: 3.9C


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#8 User is offline   summer '85 

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Note in the report of two people successfully crossing the Sound (between Zealand and Sweden) on ice. Can be seen on the map link.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/europe/denmark_pol99.jpg

One point of interest is that there have been only 8 sub zero CET Februarys but half of them have occurred since the second world war (1947, 1956, 1963 and 1986). It is remarkable to think that from 1659-1946, there were 4 sub zero Februarys in 287 years and there have been 4 in the last 60 years.

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#9 User is offline   summer '85 

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Posted --

15th February 1895 edition of the Times



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#10 User is offline   summer '85 

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Posted --

Some amazing stuff in that last article [wow]

A block of ice nearly 20ft high on the Thames bank at low tide, men digging ice out of canal
creating an ice wall of up to 10 feet high, several feet wide and two miles long! oShocked 

I wonder how long that took to melt! [wow]


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#11 User is offline   TrevP 

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Posted --

Quote

summer '85 - 8/10/2007 11:17

Some amazing stuff in that last article [wow]

A block of ice nearly 20ft high on the Thames bank at low tide, men digging ice out of canal
creating an ice wall of up to 10 feet high, several feet wide and two miles long! oShocked

I wonder how long that took to melt! [wow]

Is incredible Kevin!!!! 


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#12 User is offline   Dave K 

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Posted --

According to a local historian, minimum temperatures recorded in Tonbridge in 1895 as follows:

5 F / -15.0 C (6th Feb) max 23 F / -5.0 C
8 F / -13.3 C (9th Feb) max 26 F / -3.3 C

"Skating lasted (with one short break) from 6th January to 6th March. A bad blizzard on 23rd January"

Skating seems to be an important marker for archivists.
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#13 User is offline   Matt D 

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Posted --

Very interesting stuff, cheers for putting this together Kevin.

My eyes were drawn to the chart for 6th February 1895, with an intense anticylone stretching westwards from W Russia (Urals) right across Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland and into central parts of northern Canada!
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#14 User is offline   summer '85 

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The economic and human impact the great freeze was having



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#15 User is offline   summer '85 

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Posted --

In one of those reports, it mentions Lough Neagh was frozen over. Lough Neagh covers 151 square miles.

Those readings from Rutland in C, first value: air minimum; second value: grass minimum 

 

5th: -13.3C; -13.8C
6th: -19.4C; -20.6C
7th: -20C; -21.1C
8th: -22.2C; -25C
9th: -15C; -18.3C


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#16 User is offline   summer '85 

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Posted --

Here's the final installment.

February 16th 1895 edition of the Times.



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#17 User is offline   Ian Brown 

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Posted --

A great read as we anticipate the 'Hale cycle' winter period versus the modern era.
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#18 User is offline   summer '85 

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On the 23rd of January 1895, parts of eastern England was hit by a thundersnow event similiar to the thundersnow event of January 2004.

Here are some reports on this event.

Newark: Violent snow and hailstorm in early morning with thunder and lightning
South Lincolnshire: A remarkable storm passed over here. A heavy leaden cloud enveloped the district about 8am and snow fell thickly accompanied by thunder and lightning. The wind blew a hurricane and for 15 minutes was a perfect blizzard. The darkness was so intense that artificial light was necessary.
Oundle: Snow, hail, rain, lightning and thunder in the morning
Kettering: A violent storm burst over the town about 8.30am. Throughout Northamptonshite, it became so dark between 8.30 and 9.00am, that lights were used everywhere.
Easton Mauduit: Sun bright at 8.15am, about 8.40 am I was startled by a long rattle of thunder and saw a black cloud coming from NNW. it burst upon us with snow and sleet from about 8.50 to 9.30am.
London: It began to rain at about 9.50am with a boisterous wind from the SW, which suddenly raced to the north, changed from rain to sleet then to hail and finally settled down to a good fall of snow. Darkness as of night now prevailed as a sharp thunderstorm passed.
The steeple of St Clement Danes in the Strand was struck by lightning as was St Stephen's in Rochester Row, Westminster.
Kennington: Just after 10 o'clock, snow and hail fell heavily, accompanied by a perfect hurricane and the thunder and lightning which followed were terrific. For a time, it was almost impossible to carry on the tram or omnibus traffic and passengers on the roofs of the omnibuses and trams sought shelter in the shops and other covered ways.
Brixton: Many trees were blown over in the gale.
Kingston-upon-Thames: About 10am, the sky suddenly became overcast and a torrent of large hailstones accompanied by thunder and lightning. So violent was the wind that 6 large trees were levelled to the ground in an instant.
Sheerness: An interval of darkness, followed by snow thunder and lightning and a NW gale.
Hythe: At 9am, rain, at 10.20am, dense darkness and snow blizzard which lasted for a few minutes.
Crowborough Observatory: Sussex: Sky became suddenly overcast about 10.15am by a dense mass of cloud from NW, snow began to fall. In less than 5 minutes, quite  a hurricane came on, and a regular blizzard which continued till about 10.35am. At 10.25am there was a brilliant flash of lightning and a very loud and prolonged peal of thunder.


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#19 User is offline   BUTTERFLY 

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Posted --

Given the fact that some people died from hypothermia and others were put out of work, we should be grateful for our current mild winters!

I note that from 7th to 19th (except 15th) temperatures below -21 deg. C. were recorded and that these are the lowest minima for these days in February. Do you know what was the minimum on 15th February 1895 (the lowest temperature for 15th February was -21.5 deg. C. on 15th 1978 - see http://www.ukweather...posts=5&start=1, so 15.2.1895 must have been warmer), and why was it higher than the other days (was the wind stronger or from a slightly less cold direction, etc)?
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#20 User is offline   BUTTERFLY 

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Posted --

As the minimum for 12th February 1895 was -20.6 deg. C ., I should have stated in the last post above that temperatures below -20 deg. C., not -21 deg. C., were recorded for each day from 7th to 19th February 1895 except POSSIBLY 15th February (as the latter could have recorded as low as -21.4 deg. C. and still been slightly warmer than the -21.5 deg. C. on 15th February 1978).

This is probably the most remarkable spell of cold nights recorded in Britain; not only did it record the joint lowest British temperature (along with 10.1.1982 at Braemar and 30.12.1995 at Altnaharra in Sutherland) of -27.2 deg. C. at Braemar on 11th February 1895, it also recorded the longest consecutive spell of days which had the coldest temperature on record for those dates in any year, of 8 days from 7th to 14th February (indeed if 15th February also had been colder than in 1978, this would have continued until the 19th February, giving 13 successive such days. Also, there must have been at least 8 successive days below -20 deg. C., though if 15th was below -20 deg. C , then there would have been at least 13; I say "at least" since it is just possible that -20 deg. C . or below was recorded on 20th February 1895 (where the lowest temperature was recorded in 1978, with -22.0 deg. C. - the lowest for 21st is -18.3 deg. C. in 1968, while the lowest temperatures recorded on 5th and 6th February are exactly -20.0 deg. C. in 1912 and 1917 respectively) so theoretically there might have been a 14 days spell of temperatures below -20 deg. C. There may even have been 1 or 2 other days below -20 deg. C. as (a) The lowest temperature recorded in Britain on 31st January is -21.4 deg. C. on 31st January 1895, indicating that the very cold spell started before 1st February 1895 (b) The lowest for 4thb February is -21.7 deg. C. in 1897, so potentially 4th February 1895 might have fallen below -20 deg. C. After 21st February, all days except 26th (-18.3 deg. C. in 1963), 28th (-19.3 deg. C. in 1986) and 29th (-12.8 deg. C. in 1936) have recorded below -20 deg. C. so theoretically there could have been more days towards the end of the month below -20 deg. C although the narrative above indicates that after 21st temperatures started to return to normal. It is likely that February 1895 contained easily the largest numbers of days when the temperature fell below -20 deg. C.. Even -15 deg. C. or -10 deg. C. is extremely cold (quite a few sites in the British Isles, especially on or near the coast, have not even recorded as low a temperature as either of these) and it is probably also true that February 1895 contained record numbers of these days as well.
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