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This Week’s Snow Is A Taste Of The Past

March 2, 2018

By Paul Homewood




OK, I cheated!

This was what Moonbat had to say back in 2010. But, as we know, he still holds the same views, that the latest cold spell is all the fault of global warming, melting ice caps, blah blah.


I have not seen any actual snowfall data this morning for the worst affected areas in the South West, but the Met Office were predicting 30 to 50 cm in their weather warnings yesterday, with much less away from the hills and moors.

 Paul Gundersen, chief meteorologist at the Met Office said: “Whilst initially the snow will be patchy in nature, will turn heavier and more persistent through the afternoon and evening and it will become very windy. 10-20 cm of snow is to settle widely across the red warning area with 30-50 cm possible over the hills and moors.


The Telegraph today also notes:

Up to 50cm (19in) of snow could yet fall over parts of Dartmoor, Exmoor and south east Wales, forecasters said

suggesting that the snow totals have not yet reached the top of the range.


Yesterday I spotted Channel 5 advertising a special programme on the weather, in which they described the snowfall as “unprecedented”.

Given the apocalyptic way in which this week’s weather has been treated, how unusual has it been?

By coincidence, the Met Office blog ran a piece on Feb 16th about the blizzards 40 years previously:

Blizzards devastated the South West 40 years ago

It is the 40th anniversary of the start of what was one of the worst blizzards to have affected the United Kingdom in the last 100 years. It affected South West England and south Wales for five days from 15th to 19th February 1978 before milder weather edged in bringing a general thaw.

The cold air initially moved into the UK from the east around the 7th, and was further enhanced by a cold pool of air moving in from central Europe between the 10th and 14th .

The weather set up, with a huge contrast in air-masses either side of a weather front, led to considerable snowfall for the South West on the 15th and 16th and this was followed on the 18th and 19th by an unusually severe blizzard which extended to south Wales.

Snow accumulated to depths of about 60cm in places on Dartmoor and Exmoor and to 85cm at Nettlecombe (Bird’s Hill) in Somerset, but drifts of at least 6m were reported over a wide area which included Dorset and Wiltshire.

The exceptional weather cut communications and caused severe hardship, and although milder weather soon reached the south-west, several towns and villages were isolated by snowdrifts for some days and it was reported that there was still snow on the ground in early July.

Snow depths at 9am on 20th February:

Devon, Somerset, and Devon

85cm Nettlecombe, Birds Hill

60cm Princetown Prison

39cm Bovey Tracey Yarner Wood

38cm Crewkerne

40cm Winfrith (near Dorchester)

30cm Poole

South Wales:

39cm Rhoose

38cm Bridgend


Those figures would suggest they had much more snow in 1978.

It will be noted that the meteorological set up was very similar to this week, with high pressure pulling in cold winds from the east meeting a low pressure system in the south west.

The Met Office report for the month noted that most of the snow fell on the 18th/19th, so would be of a similar duration to Storm Emma.

The blizzard had also been preceded by heavy falls further north, again mirroring this week’s events.




Extreme snowfall events, such as this week’s are still comparatively rare in England, but have regularly happened in the past. There is certainly no justification in playing the global warming card.


What about temperatures?

CET mean temperature dropped to –3.6C on the 28th, and yesterday was at –3.5C.

Looking back through the record, temperatures like that in February are pretty commonplace. Even so, Wednesday was the coldest February day since 1991.




Looking at March temperatures, yesterday was the coldest March day since 1965, and 5th coldest on record.




I have long been pointing out that the run of mild winters we have had in recent years have been notable for the relative absence of really cold spells, rather rising temperatures across the board.

This week proves that the cold weather has not gone away.

Sorry, George, but that white stuff outside is not what global warming looks like!

  1. Athelstan permalink
    March 2, 2018 2:23 pm

    warm weather is the exception, not the norm.

    As with Historically, Geographically, Geologically, we need to look at the bigger picture, it is the human condition – not to.

    • Athelstan permalink
      March 3, 2018 12:21 am

      I should explain the top line, the UK lies at +52ºN, and the oft’ ignored but very salient fact that, we are in a warming period between glaciation events namely the Pleistocene Geological era.

  2. Chris Treise permalink
    March 2, 2018 2:33 pm

    Well in Plymouth we had about 1 inch, move 10 miles away onto the moors, there was lots more, but as they are still cut off we don’t know how much more! A Met office red alert left the South Western counties cut off, the next Ice age commeth!

  3. Thomas the Scot permalink
    March 2, 2018 2:44 pm

    May I suggest that in the last diagram a decimal point is missing.

    Thomas the Scot

  4. Jack Broughton permalink
    March 2, 2018 3:01 pm

    The British Brainwashing Corp does not need any justification to “play the global warming card”. Part of the brainwashing lies in repetition. …. must be true…. we have experts and scientists who say this etc.

  5. Nordisch-geo-climber permalink
    March 2, 2018 3:12 pm

    ITV are describing this week as “extreme weather” instead of calling it “winter”. Now why might that be? It was extreme in 1982 when at my house in February it did not get above freezing day or night for three weeks, and we had minus 19 centigrade. Not exactly Canada, but bigger snow drifts than this week. No one has a sense of perspective these days.

  6. March 2, 2018 3:19 pm

    I am completely cut off in north Devon, but we didn’t have more than a few inches. The problem is steep lanes between high banks, with the snow blowing into the lane with big overhanging cornices.

    I remember how cold February 1978 was as I was doign early mornign training for the London Marthon

  7. john cooknell permalink
    March 2, 2018 3:30 pm

    As human beings, when our beliefs are confronted by events that contradict everything we hold to be true, we very rarely review our beliefs and change them. This is part of our human nature.

    So George is only being human, when he searches out anything that will help his mind come to terms with what is going on when he looks out the window.

    Global Warming exists only in the models and reconstructions, that have been formulated by those who believe in it. The temperature ” record” is likely polluted with confirmation bias.

    However, all those who visit this site, including me, are human as well.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      March 3, 2018 11:10 am

      Groupthink is what it is called.

  8. dennisambler permalink
    March 2, 2018 3:38 pm

    This worked for George….

    “We suggest that, in the realm of the public, forces act to maintain or denounce a perceived reality which has already been constructed. That is, an issue introduced by science (or media for that matter) needs continual expression of confirmation if it is to be maintained as an issue.

    To endorse policy change people must ‘believe’ that global warming will become a reality some time in the future.

    Only the experience of positive temperature anomalies will be registered as indication of change if the issue is framed as global warming.

    Both positive and negative temperature anomalies will be registered in experience as indication of change if the issue is framed as climate change.

    We propose that in those countries where climate change has become the predominant popular term for the phenomenon, unseasonably cold temperatures, for example, are also interpreted to reflect climate change/global warming.”

  9. A C Osborn permalink
    March 2, 2018 3:44 pm

    I am not sure if it was the 1978 blizzard but here in Wales it was similar to Phil in Devon, my boss had to leave his car due to blocked lanes and ended up walking on the snow on top of the cars that were stranded in them.
    I managed to get home through Swansea, but the Snow heaps caused by clearing paths etc did not clear for a long time.
    The problem is the youngsters beleive all this rubbish of unprecedented etc.

    • John189 permalink
      March 2, 2018 5:08 pm

      It may have been, A C Osborn, or it may have been 1982. Past blizzards, especially of their worst effects were fairly local, are often forgotten in the rush to hav ethe worst/coldest veer event. In South Wales the 1978 storm was worst near the Glamorgan coast, as indeed was the current storm with over 50cm of lying snow this morning at Rhoose – a lowland site. In January 1982 undrifted snow depths in the Welsh Valleys were widely over 40cm and in Cardiff the roof of the National Sports Pavilion collapsed under the weight of snow. There are many other major snow storms that have been largely forgotten – West Yorkshire in January 1977 and December 1981; South Wales Valleys and Southern Scotland in early February 1996; west Midlands, northern England, south-west Scotland, northern Ireland and north Wales in late March 2013…but hang on: that is only five years ago. Only five years since a queue of traffic on a lowland route in West Cumberland was buried beneath drifts. Unprecedented – no. Overhyped – yes. And certainly a wonderful introduction to “meteorological spring””!

      • Curious George permalink
        March 2, 2018 5:53 pm

        “Unprecedented” is a pet word of alarmists. Also, “social justice” and “climate justice”. In the past, it used be a “proletariat”, but it has been temporarily suspended after Trump got elected by votes of the working class.

      • Hivemind permalink
        March 2, 2018 9:05 pm

        Don’t forget “Extreme”.

  10. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 2, 2018 4:56 pm

    I thought weather wasn’t climate? Why now has that changed?

    When did weather become climate?

    • Joe Public permalink
      March 2, 2018 6:22 pm

      “When did weather become climate?” …. when it’s perceived as ‘adverse’.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      March 3, 2018 11:12 am

      Whenever it suits the Warmist cause.

    • Chris Lynch permalink
      March 3, 2018 12:13 pm

      That’s an easy CAGW principle to grasp – when it’s cold it’s weather, when it’s hot it’s climate. Repeat to yourself like a mantra until you stop questioning.

  11. igsy permalink
    March 2, 2018 5:01 pm

    The Met Office have announced that the UK has broken its record for the lowest maximum temperature for March in a 24 hour period: Tredegar, -4.7 °C. Remembering how big a deal it was for the BBC when a thermometer at Heathrow Airport briefly exceeded the all-time hottest-ever record when a jet went by, I thought this news would be prominently displayed. Can anyone help me find it on their website?

    • Joe Public permalink
      March 2, 2018 6:24 pm

      Try it’s propaganda-dissemination arm:

      • igsy permalink
        March 2, 2018 7:59 pm

        Thanks Joe. But I fear I have misled you by my ambiguous use of pronouns. I meant, of course, help on finding the BBC’s proclamation regarding the all-time coldest-ever record (for March, at least).

    • Joe Public permalink
      March 2, 2018 8:46 pm

      “I meant, of course, help on finding the BBC’s proclamation regarding the all-time coldest-ever record (for March, at least).”

      Aunty’s Heathrow report was simply the hottest instance during a day of their chosen month (since summer of 1976 in heatwave)

      The Tredegar record is over an entire 24-hour period during a month – (March) – a fair, and perhaps ‘stronger’, comparator.

    • tom0mason permalink
      March 3, 2018 12:29 am

      This blog covered that story here —

  12. Peter Mead permalink
    March 2, 2018 5:28 pm

    There was a great program on last night that showed the original reports on the 1963 “big freeze”. It was wonderful to hear the information reported dispassionately and reasonably by the BBC, with no hyperbole. Unfortunately it was hosted by Chris Packham, who then went on to point out that the report hadn’t addressed the poor little birdies who had had such a hard time. To his credit though, he did say that, funnily enough all their populations had recovered by now (could be thousands of years of getting by without human help had assisted here!). But of course he spoilt it all by a reference at the end to “global climate change”. I suppose it would have been a bit crass to call it global warming. Watch out for this phrase in the future, it’s so much fuzzier than global warming!

    • March 2, 2018 10:27 pm

      Oh look it’s the bit of the BBC video from 1963 where the weatherman explains about the weather coming from the north.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 3, 2018 12:39 am

        1963 was the year I got my first motorcycle – a BSA 250cc C15, towards the end of June.
        Riding round the Yorkshire Dales there was still snow under the Northern sides of the dry stone walls right up into the beginning of July.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      March 3, 2018 11:16 am

      The phrase ‘global climate change’ could be part of the war on the Medieval Warm Period which the Warmists like to claim was only in the Northern Hemisphere and so can be conveniently ignored. Happily, inconvenient evidence is there and growing to show that it was a global event so the question of why the Vikings settled and farmed Greenland when you can’t in this warmest period evah remains.

  13. March 2, 2018 5:35 pm

    One of the news channels, worst in living memory, really? There are still folks around who remember 1947, 1962 etc.

  14. dearieme permalink
    March 2, 2018 5:36 pm

    Anyone who can remember the winter of ’63 sneers at all this jessie stuff. I dare say it’s even more true for the codgers who can remember ’47.

  15. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 2, 2018 6:51 pm

    I emailed Midlands ITV to complain about the wall-to-wall snow coverage. I told them that although there was a lot more snow in 1963 there are a lot more snowflakes today.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      March 2, 2018 10:12 pm

      Funny. I note what you did there.

  16. tom0mason permalink
    March 2, 2018 7:05 pm

    I thought this may interest people here…
    Sub zero UK-CET means for the last day of the meteorological winter (28th or 29th Feb)

    1783: -0.1
    1785: -3.8
    1786: -0.9
    1795: -1.0
    1796: -0.3
    1800: -0.2
    1816: -0.5
    1866: -3.2
    1875: -0.3
    1877: -1.0
    1881: -0.1
    1886: -0.3
    1904: -2.9
    1929: -1.7
    1946: -0.8
    1955: -2.3
    2018: -3.6

    Umm, unprecedented ?

  17. AndrewGibbs permalink
    March 2, 2018 7:47 pm

    I remember walking to school in1947 with the snow over my wellies a mile there and back without parents! Not allowed now. 1962 in London and a lot of snow again. Feb 1978 taking my girl friend to my birth place in Cornwall and had to stop in Exeter because of severe snow blocking the A38. Nice. We married the next year! Life in East Anglia was very cold for the first few years of of the 80ties and has slowly got warmer thank goodness.
    We are now experiencing weather again.
    So what is new?

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      March 3, 2018 8:11 am

      In 1962-1963, living in view of my nom de plume snow arrived between Christmas and New Year and was still visible on the hills when school broke up for the summer holidays. I averaged less than 2 whole days per week at school during the winter term that year*. In other not so severe winters we lost days to snow most winters. Although the schools remained open every day in winter, just us children from outlying areas were cut off. When we were sent home early because there was a chance we’d be cut off from home the town (Crieff) kids were very jealous.

      *Would my parents have been fined these days?

  18. mothcatcher permalink
    March 2, 2018 9:48 pm

    Just a word of appreciation for the efforts of the real climate guys- the weather forecasters. The Met Office forecasts for these events 3-4 days out have been accurate to an extent I have rarely seen. Even the forecasts of overnight lows (in which I’m particularly interested) have been pretty much spot on. They’ve been making real progress over the last decade or so and we should recognise it.

  19. March 2, 2018 11:12 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Heard stories of that blizzards where cars were buried. It was a remarkable period of weather but far from unprecedented.

  20. Chris Martin permalink
    March 2, 2018 11:19 pm

    The historically great March blizzard in south west England was 5-9 March 1891. I think more than 200 died. Recent days have seen nothing like the scale of that great storm.

  21. Joe Public permalink
    March 2, 2018 11:26 pm

    Compare & contrast:-

    June warmth:

    Possible reaction if March cold continues:

  22. John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia permalink
    March 3, 2018 12:56 am

    But, but, but, The Guardian said this time last year, “Northern hemisphere sees in early spring due to global warming.” Hot or cold it is still “caused by Global Warming.”
    But who are we to question the “experts”?

  23. markl permalink
    March 3, 2018 2:24 am

    More ‘fake news’. It’s interesting how such a banal exclamation could become so true.

  24. gallopingcamel permalink
    March 3, 2018 5:15 am

    Back in 1947 it started snowing in mid February and even in south Wales the drifts were six feet deep. Some snow lingered into late March.

    The following summer was the hottest in living memory.

  25. paul weldon permalink
    March 3, 2018 7:22 am

    ”I have long been pointing out that the run of mild winters we have had in recent years have been notable for the relative absence of really cold spells, rather rising temperatures across the board”.
    I totally agree with this statement, in fact it agrees totally with my theory that average annual temperatures are strongly correlated to wind direction. Paul, if you want to see my recent paper on this correlation, please let me have your e-mail address.

  26. Mick I permalink
    March 3, 2018 7:54 am

    You are right to suggest that the conditions we are experiencing are by no means unprecedented. I well remember the snow of 1978 and how Dorset was virtually cut off. The snow was much worse than this winter’s and far longer lasting.
    I’m also old enough to remember the winter of 1962/63 when the snow in Sussex was at least 2ft deep all around our town and the temperature didn’t rise above freezing for a whole month.
    Cold soon became a way of life that was easily coped with.
    Of course in those days it was just weather as we hadn’t invented global warming yet so had nothing to blame it all on.

  27. Green Sand permalink
    March 3, 2018 9:10 am

    How is Moonbat on the Antarctic?

    ‘Mission to giant A-68 berg thwarted by sea-ice’

  28. March 3, 2018 11:45 am

    I wonder how those who have EVs are getting on? Energy in the battery drops 50% for every 10 deg. drop in temperature (rate of a chemical reaction halves for every 10 deg drop). Stuck in a snow drift? Unlike a petrol car, you cannot run the engine to keep warm; battery will probably be dead anyway (see above).

  29. mongoose permalink
    March 3, 2018 1:33 pm

    And that week in 1978, I got a train to Exeter without too much nonsense. Got there in the morning and dragged my body up the hill upon which stands the University. (And it is a decent hill; the last v steep bit is known as “Cardiac”.) And so I was one of a pretty decent few who attended for interview. Ok, I think the buggers gave me that unconditional offer just for turning up.

  30. youngdoug permalink
    March 3, 2018 8:11 pm

    Remember the 78 blizzard well. In our snowed in Devon village the paths dug from the houses in the square all converged on one place… the pub. Nobody minded at all.

  31. Roger Payne permalink
    March 4, 2018 4:17 pm

    I was a boy of 13 in 1947, it snowed, and snowed, and snowed. everything froze, no coal to heat us. Then in 1963, started on Boxing Day, went on for week after week. Bitterly cold. Sea froze too. 1947 they said on the radio it was all due to global warming. (no, actually I made that bit up). It also snowed in 1976 in June for a short time, then went on the become hot, hot, until late September. Climate changes. So does weather. So do oceans and the sun and orbital paths, and gravity, as well as Earth diameter. Human gullibility does not.

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