A Taste Of Winter In Early Summer For UK But At Least It’s Not 1975!

There’s no question, it looked and felt more like late November or early December out there yesterday with a howling, cold wind along with heavy and persistent rain. Thank or blame an unusually deep, sub-980mb low which originated over Greenland days earlier.

Credit: Met Office/Crown

Credit: Met Office/Crown

An abnormally cold Atlantic between Greenland and the UK likely helped maintain some of the low’s cold air which meant the air above just 2000ft was much colder than normal and so heavy snow was the result in parts of the Scottish Highlands.


That wind and rain sure was cold. The rain was persistent and at times torrential on my drive up to Fort William yesterday. By around 8pm last night, rain clouds gave way to sunshine and revealed an impressive fresh snow cover over the Nevis Range.

Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak…

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Carn Mor Dearg

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Aonach Mor

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

I spoke to the Nevis Range ski centre on the phone this morning. The guy I spoke with said ‘that amount of snow for early June is rare’!

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Life long resident of Fort William, Jim told me yesterday, ‘I’ve never seen that much snow on these hills at this time of year’.

A9 at Drumnochter Summit last night.


June Snow: It Happens…

Aviemore on June 5, 2009



Snow was visible on the North Pennines above 2300ft with temps in the Highlands only reaching 1-2C. In Penrith, N Pennines, it was raining heavily with afternoon readings of just 4-5C, quite remarkable for daytime temps in early June and especially when temps touched 26C just days prior. Snow was visible over the N Pennines after the clouds broke.

Least it’s not 1975 when snow was widespread from the North of Scotland all the way to London.

Credit: BBC

Credit: BBC


Credit: BBC

Credit: BBC



An interesting read by Dan Suri

Late Season Snow in the UK

January and February are the snowiest months in the UK, whilst snow is more likely in March and April than November and October respectively. And really this is where talk of snow might be expected to end. However, having already most likely teased us with some pleasant summer-like weather earlier in the spring May is prone to throwing in a touch of winter, perhaps more often than might be thought………

A trawl through the archives reveals that on 17th May 1955 was probably the most notable May snowfall on record. Much of England and Wales was affected by several hours of snow (Eden 1995), including two to three hours’ worth in the London area (Brazell, 1968).

Coincidentally, the same date twenty years earlier in 1935 also saw England and Wales affected by widespread snow with some places, including the Wirral and parts of Devon recording several inches of snow (Eden 1995). Incidentally, on 17th May 1935 snow also fell in the central Netherlands (Zwart 1985) and this is the latest in the season that snow has been observed here.

May 8th 1943 saw snow falling over parts of northern Britain as a depression tracked eastwards across north Wales. The Isle of Man was among the worst hit places and in Douglas 15cms snow lay on the ground by the morning of the 9th (Pritchard 1997?), whilst virtually the whole of Scotland was affected, including falls of 7cms at Duntulm, Isle of Skye (Stirling 1997). Such is the fickleness of May weather that just a few days later temperatures reached 30C in Kent.

Other notable instances of May snowfall include that of mid-May 1923, Scotland’s coldest May of the 20th century and the century’s second coldest May in England and Wales, whilst May 18th 1968 saw snow falling as far south as the Midlands. Meanwhile, a little more recently the Mays of 1979, 1981 and 1982 started with widespread wintry showers whilst May 13th 1993 saw several centimetres of snow settling over the higher ground in central Britain (Pritchard 1997?), including a fall of 30cm at Moor House in County Durham by the 14th (Stirling 1997).

Stepping back into the nineteenth century Eden (1995) and Stirling (997) report widespread snow England between the 16th and 18th May 1891. Snow fell to depths of several inches in some places, including falls measured at 15cms deep in parts of the Midlands and East Anglia. A few days earlier on the 10th snow had fallen as far south as Bath and London (Stirling 1997).

Meanwhile, Gordon Manley, writing in Weather in 1975 tells of snowfall in southern Britain on 22nd May 1867 and 27th May 1821 whilst Brazell (1968) mentions snow as having fallen in or close to the London area on 12th May 1816, ‘the year without a summer’.

Moving into the eighteenth and late seventeenth centuries Manley (1975) raises the possibility of snow being observed on parts of the higher ground in Sussex on 12th June 1791. Early May snowfall was recorded in parts of the London area in 1770 whilst in 1698 a widespread deep snow was reported all over England on 3rd May (Brazell 1968).

Inevitably June snowfall is a much rarer creature, but widespread sleet and snow showers did manage to affect the United Kingdom on 2nd June 1975, rudely and infamously affecting a cricket match between Derbyshire and Lancashire at Buxton where early afternoon snow covered the pitch with around an inch of snow (Markham, 1994, Eden 1995). Elsewhere, snow settled on hills just south of Birmingham (Eden 1995), whilst to the south and east Manley (1975) reports snow being observed in both Cambridge and London and another county cricket match, this time featuring Essex and Kent, being played in Colchester was interrupted by snow (Ogley et al. 1993). Meanwhile, sleet showers were observed in RAF Manston in eastern Kent, Hassocks, Sussex and Totton and Portsmouth in Hampshire (COL Bulletin 1975, Eden 1995, Ogley en al 1995).

In his book Weatherwise, Philip Eden (1995) wonderfully describes this June snowfall as, “surely the most outrageous thing that June has ever done to us, meteorologically speaking“. It also seems that in recent times at least this is the latest in the season that such widespread snow has managed to affect southern Britain (Manley 1975, Eden 1995) and Manley (1975) suggests that the June 1975 snowfall was probably southern Britain’s latest snowfall since the turn of the nineteenth century.

A little more recently, a sleet shower was reported at Birmingham Airport during the morning of 7th June 1985, whilst in the evening snow fell at Eskdalemuir in southern Scotland (Burt 1985, COL Bulletin 1985). However, it would see, that this does of wintry weather was much more localised than the snowfall of 2nd June 1975.

Finally, the 20th century’s earliest low level snowfall on the ground in England would appear to be that of 31st October 1934 when 5cms snow fell as far south as Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire whilst 1st November 1942 saw a light covering of snow fall over the Cotswolds (Stirling 1997).

Brazell, J. H. (1698): London Weather. HMSO, p.249.
Burt, S.D. (1985): Sleet and snow in June 1985, Weather, 40, 222.
Climatological Observers Link Bulletin, no.62, June 1975
Climatological Observers Link Bulletin, no.182, June 1985
Eden, P. (1995): Weatherwise. MacMilllan, p.323.
Manley, G. (1975): Snowfalls in June. Weather, 30, 308.
Markham, L. (1994): The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Weather Book. Countryside Books, p.128.
Ogley, B., Currie, I. and Davison M. (1995): The Sussex Weather Book. Froglets Publications, p.176.
Ogley, B., Davison M. and Currie, I. (1993): The Norfolk and Suffolk Weather Book. Froglets Publications, p.176.
Pritchard, B. (1997?): Weatherwatch, The Guardian, sometime in 1997 I think.
Stirling, R. (1997): The Weather of Britain. Giles de la Mare Publications Ltd., p306.
Zwart, B. (1985): De Weersverwachting voor Vandaag en Morgen. Prisma, p.92.

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Dan Suri, last updated 24 June 2002

Here’s an interesting article by the Mirror written back on August 10, 2009

The long odd summers: Snow in June.. 5oz hail.. Britain’s crazy weather

Its been one of the weirdest summers in memory, blazing hot one minute and chucking it down the next.

Even the Met Office had to apologise for predicting a “barbecue summer” – the latest forecast predict a very wet August to follow the last few hot days.

And travel agents say people are now cancelling their UK holidays and heading abroad because the weather is too unpredictable.

But how does the summer of 2009 compare to our warmest, wettest and weirdest ever.



The driest year of the 19th century. A quarter of the average rainfall fell in parts of the country in June with none in Devon and Cornwall. But the drought meant streams and rivers dried up and crops suffered.

Mile End in East London clinched the record for the longest run of days without rain. From March 4 to May 15 – 73 days.

July was hot and constantly sunny with Epsom notching up 36C and Hastings enjoying 384 hours of sun. August saw Raunds, Northamptonshire notch up 36.7C and even on September 8 it reached 34.6C.

Standpipes in the street and adverts telling us to share a bath. The hottest summer since records began brought drought but a glorious summer. From June 23 to July 17 there were 15 days of 32C.

Heathrow saw 52 days above 25C. There was little rain until the end of August.

The hottest day in British history was notched up six years ago today in Faversham, Kent, when 38.5C was recorded. But a dispute over the reading means that the 38.1C at Kew Gardens on the same day stands as the official record. Scotland notched up a new record high, too, with 32.9C set at Greycrook in the Borders, beating a record set in 1908.


There were no bikinis on the beaches of Worthing this year (not that they had been invented, mind). 1816 saw temperatures that would make a penguin reach for a muffler. Averages were 12.8C for June, 13.4C for July and 13.9C for August. Cold spells around the world were thought to have been triggered by low solar activity and volcanos spewing ash into the atmosphere.

One of the coldest summers for the previous 160 years, the warmest it got was 26.8C in Norfolk. It was also the wettest summer in the North East until just two years ago.

London suffered the wettest month on record with a third of its rainfall dropping in two weeks in June. In Camden, rain fell continuously from 1pm on the 13th to 11.30pm two days later – 58 hours and 30 minutes. The record still stands.

The coldest June for 230 years, dropping to 10C. July wasn’t much better and from May 23 to August 6 temperatures didn’t climb above 27C.

At Tynemouth not a single ray of sun was seen from August 16 to 24.


A scorching day on September 1 saw Manchester City take on Woolwich Arsenal in 32C heat. The part-time players, on a diet of beer and cigarettes, soon began to wilt under the heat and three City players were out of the game before half-time. The team finished with just six players – but sporting Arsenal kept the score low at just 4-1.

The saying goes that the weather on St Swithin’s day, July 15, will set the tone for the next 40. But in 1913 15 hours of rain was followed by 31 days of sun from 40 in London.

The temperature dropped to 1.1C overnight on August 29 in Rickmansworth, Herts. But by the middle of the afternoon the thermometer had soared to 29.4C.

The latest snow storms recorded fell across Britain in early June, as far south as Surrey. The Derbyshire v Lancashire cricket match at Buxton was cancelled due to snow.

Newcastle managed to go from June 17 to 26 with just 20 minutes of sun.


One of the worst storms to batter Britain happened on August 9. Hail stones as big as pigeon eggs fell, forming huge drifts. Small tornadoes uprooted trees and wrecked roofs. Crops were flattened which led to a poor harvest.

Britain basked in a heatwave during July. But on August 2 the weather broke in Guildford and the storm saw almost continuous lightning and fierce wind, uprooting trees, knocking holes in the bridge and demolishing houses. At the station trains were lifted off their tracks.

A devastating flood hit Norfolk when a quarter of average annual rainfall fell on August 25. The previous high water mark in Norwich was exceeded by 15ins. Three drowned. 8,000 made homeless.

Lightning killed seven people and injured 19 when storms swept London. The dead were on a day out in Ilford’s Valentines Park when they sheltered in a hut. But lightning struck the iron roof with devastating consequences.

The biggest hailstone recorded hit West Sussex in Horsham, creating a 60 mm crater. It weighed nearly five ounces and was 10cms across.

Credit: Met Office/Crown

Credit: Met Office/Crown

See today’s video for a look at the rest of this week’s weather and beyond!

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