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UK Headed For Coldest March Since 1962

March 26, 2013

By Paul Homewood





A week ago, I reported that we were heading for the coldest March since 1970.

Since then it’s got even colder. If the latest CET figures of 3.2C are maintained, (and the forecasts suggest they will go lower), this month will be the coldest since 1962, when they were 2.8C.


Interestingly, the Met Office Report, below, for March 1962 shows that similar high pressure blocking systems were responsible then as now, though with the subtle distinction that then they were centred over Greenland, thus feeding in northerly winds. This year, they have tended to be further east over Scandinavia, which has drawn in winds from the east, but also allowed low pressure fronts to push up from the south. It is the latter, of course, that brought the heavy snowfalls.




There has been some talk about the current cold weather being caused by global warming, but a look at the GISS Temperature Map for March 1962 offers a contrasting perspective.




Clearly, global warming, or disappearing ice could not have been responsible for the cold weather in, not only most of Europe, but also North America and much of Asia. Instead, the extremes of heat and cold, seen in Greenland and NW Europe respectively, are clear evidence of the blocking pressure systems. The same high pressure that fed northerly winds over Britain was sucking up mild air from the south into Greenland and the Canadian Arctic.


It will be interesting to see the GISS map for March. Nevertheless, the February version makes it clear that the cold winter in much of the NH has not been the result of global warming, or even a warmer Arctic. The global temperature anomaly was an insignificant 0.04C, while the Arctic was much colder than normal. It is this cold Arctic air that we are experiencing now.




Finally, let’s take a look at GISS’s NH anomalies for Dec-Feb.




The trend of rising temperatures ended in 2006/7, since which temperatures have fallen back to 1990’s levels.

Scientists and others, who are attempting to pin the blame for cold winters on global warming, are tying themselves into ever greater contortions. We are getting cold winters again because the NH is getting colder again, at least in winter. It really is as simple as that.

Perhaps they would be better employed finding out why, and explaining what causes the sort of blocking systems that regularly affect the Earth’s climate.

But maybe there is no money in that.




While looking for references for 1962, I came across this Wikipedia article on the “Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962”.


The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 occurred on March 6–8, 1962 along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. Also known as the Great March Storm of 1962, it was considered by the U.S. Geological Survey to be one of the most destructive storms ever to affect the mid-Atlantic states. One of the ten worst storms in the United States in the 20th century, it lingered through five high tides over a three-day period, killing 40 people, injuring over 1,000 and causing hundreds of millions in property damage in six states.

The massive storm was caused by an unusual combination of three pressure areas, combined with atmospheric conditions of the Spring equinox which normally cause exceptionally high tides. The storm stalled in the mid-Atlantic for almost three days, pounding coastal areas with continuous rain, high winds, and tidal surges, and dumping large quantities of snow inland for several hundred miles.

Homes, hotels, motels, and resort businesses were destroyed along North Carolina’s Outer Banks from Cape Hatteras, Nags Head, and Kill Devil Hills north to Virginia Beach, where the waves broke the concrete boardwalk and sea wall. Even some cities further inland such as Norfolk and Hampton in Hampton Roads were inundated with punishing winds and high water. Construction work underway on the new Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was dealt a severe blow, and a major piece of custom-built construction equipment called "The Big D" was destroyed.

At the Town of Chincoteague on Virginia’s Eastern Shore near the border with Maryland, six feet (2 m) of water covered parts of Main Street, and most of the island was flooded to various depths. On adjacent Assateague Island, the Chincoteague Fire Company lost a portion of its herd of wild Chincoteague Ponies. Misty, the local pony made famous by Marguerite Henry‘s award-winning children’s book Misty of Chincoteague and the 1961 movie Misty, survived by being brought inside a house. Also along the Delmarva Peninsula, at Wallops Island, a million dollars in damage was done to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Further north, 60 mph (96 km/h) winds and 7.6 m (25 ft) waves struck Ocean City, Maryland. Waves more than 12 m (40 ft) high occurred at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware destroying the boardwalk and beach front homes. Sand dunes were flattened along the entire length of Delaware’s ocean coastline. In New Jersey, the storm ripped away part of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. Avalon, New Jersey lost 6 blocks. Long Beach Island was cut through in several places. The decommissioned destroyer Monssen was washed ashore near Holgate. In New Jersey alone, an estimated 45,000 homes were destroyed or greatly damaged. In New York, on Long Island, communities such as Fire Island were decimated; 100 homes there were destroyed. Wave heights reached 12 m (40 ft) by the shore of New York City. Extensive damage to trees and structures and beach erosion was also reported along the southern New England coast, particularly along coastal Rhode Island, and in New London and Fairfield Counties in Connecticut, although less severe beach erosion was reported in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The weather front off the coast drove snow upon inland areas. Snow fell as far south as Alabama, and temperatures plunged to around 0°C (32°F) across Florida. North Carolina experienced blizzard conditions. The Shenandoah Valley received nearly 60 cm (2 ft) of snow. In Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains, 1 m (39 in) of snow were recorded at Big Meadows. The storm tracked far enough south that New England avoided major snowfall, with immediate coastal areas of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts receiving 2-4 inches of snow, and with little to no accumulation away from the immediate shoreline areas.

The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 killed 40 people and injured more than 1,000. The coastal areas from North Carolina to New York were battered and changed forever by the wind, waves, and record high tides. Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded and many destroyed. Property damage was caused in six states valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Its impact was so powerful that the U.S. Weather Bureau took the extraordinary step of giving it a name: "The Great Atlantic Storm."


Can there be any doubt at all that, if this storm had happened today, it would have been held up as an example of the new extreme weather we could expect as a result of global warming?

  1. Andy DC permalink
    March 26, 2013 3:47 pm

    I remember the Ash Wednesday storm at a kid. We had two periods of snow, the first one late at night and the 2nd was the following late afternoon and evening. Where I lived, about 10 miles north of DC, each of the two periods brough 5.5″ of snow, a total of 11″. There were sustained winds near 40 mph and thd snow blew right thru the 2 window AC units we had installed and started accumulating on the floor.

    Snowfall totals in the DC area varied tremendously. National Airport on the Potomac received only about 5-6 inches, but the western suburbs had 15-20″. Back toward the Blue Ridge in places like Front Royal and Winchester received 30-36″. Quite a storm!

    That is quite a blow to the alarmists to have both the US and UK having their codest March in decades. Is it possible this March could be colder than 1962 in the UK?

    • March 26, 2013 6:24 pm

      No, Andy.

      If the month lasted another week it might have done though!

  2. April 5, 2013 11:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.


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