TWO Buzz

Weather news and views from Brian Gaze.

My top three

Posted Fri 8th September 15:45

This week I've been discussing the most memorable periods of weather I've experienced in the UK. Here are links to the three part discussion:

Memorable weather (Part 1)

More memorable weather (Part 2)

Yet more memorable weather (Part 3)

Today I'll conclude by picking my top three.

List of contenders

I have shortlisted the following periods / seasons:

  • Summer 1976 - record breaker
  • Winter 1978/79 - 3rd coldest of the 20th century
  • April 1981 - late snow
  • December 1981 - Snow, snow and more snow
  • July 1983 - the hottest month
  • January 1987 - the big freeze
  • October 1987 - the Great Storm
  • February 1991 - the wrong type of snow
  • Summer 1995 - endless heat in London
  • December 1995 snow but not in Ealing
  • Summer 2003 - an all time high
  • Winter 2009/10 - the snow returns
  • December 2010 - a sub zero CET

My top 3

I've ignored the statistics and picked my top three subjectively. They are the spells of weather I enjoyed the most.

3rd - February 1991

A cracking period of proper winter. Ice days, severe frosts and several falls of snow. It also coincided with my 21st birthday. What was there not to like about this freeze? British Rail may have said it "was the wrong type of snow" but I beg to differ!

2nd - Winter 2009/10

After along run of mild winters which brought little or no snow the trend was broken in 2008/09. However it was 2009/10 when things really changed. The period between mid-December and mid-January brought several heavy falls of snow. Just before Christmas the level snow depth in my garden in Berkhamsted was close to 30cm. Classic. On the road in front of my house cars had snow chains and in the fields at the back people were skiing. The Chilterns became the little Alps for a brief moment.

Snow in Berkhamsted, December 22nd 2009

1st - Summer 2003

I wasn't really able to enjoy summer 1976 and 1995 to the full. IN 1976 I was too young and in 1995 I was too busy working in London. My only annoyance in summer 2003 was to be in Venice when the all time temperature record was set in the UK. That aside it turned out to be as close to perfection as summer can be in the UK. A worthy winner in my books.


It was difficult to pick the top 3 and I expect some people will completely disagree with my choices. Also I've got to be honest and say the most interesting spells of weather I've experienced have probably been abroad. That's something I may cover in a future Buzz. 

Your comments

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guygrewal 9 months ago
February 1991 was quite special when I was living in Bradford. I remember doing the paper delivery on Thursday walking in a foot of snow.

Brian Gaze 9 months ago
The totem pole is real. As for the snow! Who knows?

BarrowiceInfo 9 months ago
Looks like E.T. has taken up residence in that narrow-boat!!

antss1 9 months ago
78 Norfolk was completely cut of, in some places snow was at least 15 foot high, in lenwade cars were queued back in to norwich about 12 miles ,would love to see it again

brian.gaze 9 months ago
Do you mean December 1990? I've read about heavy and disruptive snow in the Midlands at that time, but have no recollection of it snowing in the north east where I lived. February 1991 was the memorable cold spell of that winter for me.

vinceedwards 9 months ago
December 1991 left Coventry at a standstill. We had a meter of laying snow, with drifts on top. I ventured out in mountaineering gear to walk to the nearest 'Safeway' for provisions. Through the white-out conditions appeared a man dressed in denim


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