diamond geezer

 Saturday, December 04, 2010

It's been snowy recently, hasn't it. Snowier than it has been for years. Although I'm sure it used to be this snowy once, didn't it, back when we were young? And then there was this snowy drought, until a couple of years ago. Or something.

So I've had a go at making a list of all the days on which it's snowed over the last 20 years.

Trust me, you can do this thing when you're the sort of person who keeps a daily diary (and who adds a special symbol in his diary every time it snows) (which is a bit sad really) (but, hey, quite useful right now, as it turns out). This is therefore a fairly unscientific list, unverified by meteorological professionals, and more dependent on whether I happened to be looking out of the window or not at the crucial moment. It also shifts, geographically, from East Anglia where I lived in the 1990s, to London where I've been living in the 21st century. That makes comparison between the two decades especially dodgy, because East Anglia's colder and nearer the North Sea and therefore gets more snow than inland 'heat island' London. In fact the whole thing's woefully subjective. But look, it's better than nothing, OK?

It snowed on every date listed in the tables below. Most snow events were just a few flakes or a light sprinkling. If it snowed enough to properly settle, the date's in bold. If it snowed a lot, and settled a lot, the date's underlined.

Snowy days in East Anglia (1991-2000)
1991Feb 6 7 8Dec 21
1992Jan 9, Feb 18 
1993Feb 26 27 28, Mar 1Nov 20 21, Dec 24 28
1994Feb 22, Apr 4 
1995Jan 1, Mar 2 6 27 28Dec 5 7 20 24 30
1996Jan 25 26 27, Feb 6 18 19 20 21 22, Apr 12Dec 27 30 31
1997Jan 7 9, May 6Dec 1 17
1998Feb 28Dec 15
1999Jan 12, Feb 8Dec 15
2000 Dec 28

There you go. 1995 and 1996 were especially snowy (by East Anglian standards, that is - I bet Scotland had more). And it definitely snowed more before 1997 than it did after. On to the 2000s...

Snowy days in London (2001-2010)
2001Jan 18, Mar 2 
2003Jan 8 30 
2004Jan 28 
2005Feb 21 22, Mar 4Dec 27
2006Feb 23 
2007Mar 19 
2008Mar 22 23Nov 23
2009Jan 5, Feb 1 2, Apr 6Dec 16 17 18 21
2010Jan 5 6 8 9 12 13, Feb 8 10Nov 30, Dec 1 2 3 6 16 17 18 20

What a weedy decade for snow, compared to the previous one. There's not been much snow in the London area at all, at least until that heavy fall in February 2009 which caught the capital by surprise. And then last winter was proper snowy, just like the good old days. 2010 in particular is turning out to be the snowiest year since 1996 (which is sore comfort if your trains still aren't running).

So yes, it has been snowy recently. Snowier than it has been for years. Although it used to be this snowy once, back when we were younger. Make the most of it, before global warming damns us all to perpetual 2002.

The Met Office's monthly UK climate summaries (2001-2010)
The history of British winters (1616-2008)
Log of the UK's White Christmas 'events' (1900-2009)

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