Have you ever wondered if the UK has cold winter weather? Here are some facts. The UK experienced some of its coldest December and January temperatures as far back as the 1800s. The following is a guide to the coldest weather in the UK. If you live in the UK, you should read this article to make sure you know when to expect the next cold snap! It will give you some great information to get through the winter months.
Coldest December in the UK
According to official Met Office figures, December 2010 was the coldest month in the UK since 1910. Average temperatures were below zero and snow stayed on the ground for four weeks. It was also one of the coldest Decembers since records began, with temperatures averaging minus 1.0C (28F). This was far colder than the average December temperature for the last century, which was 4.2C. A few things should be noted before we celebrate the coldest December in the UK.
The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for large swathes of the UK today. The warnings cover the eastern half of Scotland, Devon and south-west Wales. The weather is expected to improve by Friday, but there will still be plenty of snowfall. Forecasters say the combination of cloud and rain will create a perfect storm for snow. It’s possible that some areas will have some sunshine on Thursday, though the weather will remain bitterly cold for the rest of the UK.
Coldest January in the UK
Last month was one of the coldest ever recorded for the UK. Temperatures plunged by as much as eight degrees below average across the United Kingdom. Rivers and lakes began to freeze. Some parts of the UK were completely buried under snow. A snowfall of up to two feet a day was recorded in many locations. The average temperature for January was 2.2 degrees C. Despite this record low, the UK is still facing some of the coldest months of the year.
Compared to recent decades, colder winters were less common before the twentieth century. The “Lorna Doone” winter of 1683-84 had a CET of -1.2 degrees. But since the 1980s, the number of cold winters has steadily declined. This winter would have been the eighth coldest since 1978-79, if January was counted as an individual month. But we should keep in mind that January is not the coldest month of the year.
Coldest December in the UK in the 1800s
In mid-December, the Thames was frosted over at Greenwich, London. By early January, London was iced over and the Thames itself had frozen over. The frost was the longest on record, lasting two months and freezing the ground to over 27 inches. The ice floes disrupted shipping and commerce during this pre-railway era. Despite the long-term effects, this year remains the Coldest December in the UK in the 1800s.
The winter of 1816/17, which was noted for its heavy rains and severe frosts, was notably cold. The winter’s average anomaly was -1.4 degC, with the December period dipping as low as -27.2degC. The year had the coldest winter for the period since 1799, though there were only 6 more cold winter seasons in the 1800s than in the previous century.
Coldest December in the UK in 2010
A strong arctic front swept across the UK from the Arctic on Thursday December 16, 2010, bringing below average temperatures. The resulting snowfall caused widespread disruption to transport and the rail network, with London Heathrow Airport closing for a while. A few local temperature records were broken, including the -18.7 degree record set at Castlederg in Northern Ireland on December 23. This winter’s arctic conditions also forced Atlantic cyclones to track further south than normal, with heavy snowfall in the Cotswold Hills and Forest of Dean on January 30, 2010.
The UK has seen four exceptionally cold winters in a row, with two of the most recent coldest December in the century. The recent record-breaking lows have prompted concerns that this year’s extreme cold will become the norm, despite the variability of the climate. Although this winter’s temperatures are expected to be the coldest since records began, forecasters say that it may not last until the New Year.