A Frightfully Cold Winter for the UK

Monday, February 21st 2011, 1:51 pm
By: News 9

     Temperatures are starting to warm and spring is around the corner, thank goodness! But, this winter has also been an interesting and exciting one. Looking back on this winter season, one of the highlights that really stood out to me is just how brutal winter was for the UK. Looking at weather headlines from around the world on a daily basis, it amazed me the amount of articles I would read that seemed to reiterate the same thing…the UK was definitely having a frightfully cold winter!

     Winter began early for the Brits with the earliest winter snowfall in 17 years starting on November 25th and lasting through the 26th. England's equivalent of the National Weather Service, The Met Office, issued severe weather warnings for much of the country. Also, the village of Hawarden recorded a low of 15.8°, its lowest temperature reading in since 1944! By November 27th the The Automobile Association had been called out to 200,000 stranded drivers across the UK.

     December didn't prove to be much better with 16" of snow falling on the southern coast December 1st-2nd. From December 17th-18th over 7" of snow fell in parts of London, causing thousand upon thousands of passengers to be stranded at Heathrow Airport just before Christmas.

     The effects of the cold are evident even today. A UK favorite among chefs is the purple broccoli! Purple broccoli tastes identical to green broccoli, but has smaller florets and a gorgeous purple shade. The winter favorite is suffering from supply shortages after the main grower in Lincolnshire had temperatures plummet to 0° F in December.

     There is no questioning the historic magnitude of this year's winter in the UK. The Central England Temperature record is the longest temperature observation in existence. It has taken continuous readings for 352 years. According to the Central England Temperature, this last December had an average temperature of 30.7° F. Based on the data dating back to 1659, that puts it at the second coldest December on record; just shy of 30.6° set in December of 1890. With record keeping that reliable, there's no denying this was a historic winter for England. Now on to spring, with its lack of blizzards and temperatures that climb above freezing!

News 9 Meteorologist Stephanie Malone