Deep Snow/Drifts of March 2013 v Feb/Mar 2018

Up until the end of February/beginning of March 2018, the benchmark for deep snow and drifting probably goes to March 2013. The last time heavy snow, strong winds and severe blowing and drifting stopped me from completing a delivery. March 2013 happened to be the UK’s coldest in 50 years. I was delivering across Dumfries and Galloway at the time and heavy snow accompanied by strong winds essentially cut off communities in remote parts of Dumfries and Galloway and Kintyre. Hardest hit in D & G was probably Wigtownshire near Stranraer.

One particular morning, conditions worsened between Dumfries and Stranraer and whilst driving the lorry through the hamlet of Bees Wing, I had to turn back and return to Glasgow. Both the A75 from Dumfries and A77 from Ayr was blocked cutting Stranraer off from the rest of Scotland.

The lowest observed temperature I observed on my travels was -11C in the early hours at Blackwood, South Lanarkshire.

These were the images I captured.

Dalveen Pass. (Mark Vogan)

Durisdeermill, Dumfries and Galloway

Mark Vogan

Mark Vogan

Mark Vogan

Mark Vogan

and it was cold! -11C on my dash in Blackwood, South Lanarkshire.

Mark Vogan

View from my house in Lennoxtown on the morning of March 11. Early afternoon temps sat at 1C on my back garden thermometer despite sunshine.

Mark Vogan

The lowest temperature of March 2013 was -12.9C at both Kinbrace and Aboyne.

The following month saw temperatures as low as -11.2C at Braemar and this happened to be the coldest April since 1989.

February 2010 saw some massive falls of snow over higher ground with drifts towering 8-10ft as nearby to me as the Campsies but the snow at lower levels wasn’t out of the ordinary.

Another comparable snowfall came late November into December when we had the exact same situation as last week with persistent easterly winds and frequent snow showers piling in which piled snow well over a foot widely. However this was over a 5-6 day stretch, not 36 hours.

So, the heavy snow and blizzards which significantly impacted Dumfries and Galloway was some of the worst conditions I have witnessed and certainly driven in. Up until last week.

The Big Snow of 2018

All the ingredients came together perfectly… A truly bitter Siberian flow crossing the relatively warm North Sea which generated frequent snow showers which piled into the Central Lowlands one after the other.

Met Office

Probably the most noteworthy aspect to last week’s snow was probably the amount of snow which fell within a short period of time and the huge drifts created by the wind in the heart of Central Scotland.

Both the 2013 snow and cold which was the coldest March in 50 years and last week’s chaos was the direct result of a strong sudden stratospheric warming.

Red Snow Warning issued for Scotland’s most populated area. The advise was to be off the roads by 3pm, unfortunately I was put in a position in which I had to remain in Cumbernauld until 8pm.

It was a very snowy drive into Cumbernauld at 11am.

Leaving my street in Milton of Campsie. Credit: Mark Vogan

Back road wasn’t too pretty.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Conditions worsened into the late afternoon with a temp reading -4C on the dash.

Credit: Mark Vogan

My 2.5 hour drive from Cumbernauld to Milton of Campsie (My most challenging drive home)

After struggling to get out of the car park in Cumbernauld, I left Blairlinn, Cumbernauld at around 8pm. It’s safe to road the roads were very quiet with many rightly taking heed of the ‘red warning’ which had been in place since 3pm. The main roads never mind side roads were under at least 6-8 inches of snow with lorries stuck on any sort of incline. It was a strange sight to see abandoned cars and lorries everywhere.

Scene at around 7pm in Cumbernauld.

Credit: Mark Vogan

After getting out of Cumbernauld it was a slow, slippery journey towards Kilsyth. I soon had trouble with inclines and got stuck.

As much of a nightmare as it may have been, I captured this photo looking down on a snowbound M80, these poor souls were spending the night here! Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

The depth of the snow was very noticeable in this image I took.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Thankfully the 2 or 3 times I got stuck between Broadwood and Kilsyth, people gave me a push which allowed me to at least get into Kilsyth but it was here where I had the greatest difficulty.

I first tried to leave on the entre of Kilsyth but failed 2 or 3 times to get up a slope. I turned around and tried to head back towards Cumbernauld and head for Kirkintilloch but I couldn’t get out that way either. After at least an hour of trying to get out of Kilsyth I headed back to the incline I first tried to get up and eventually I managed it. Thankfully the route out through Queenzieburn was flat and I crawled all the way along the main Kilsyth-Kirkintilloch road where I came across a women on her own walking in the snow. I picked up up so she wouldn’t freeze to death and she too lived in Milton of Campsie. It was nice to have a little company for the remainder of this long, snowy drive home.

The long incline up this road off the main Kilsyth-Kirkie road took several attempts but building up speed was near impossible. Thankfully, slowly but surely we were getting to the top of the hill and I knew it ‘should’ be ok once at the top as it was pretty level ground from there into Milton of Campsie only 1.5 miles away.

Just 100 or so feet from the top, a 4×4 behind me waited patently and so they got out and pushed me the rest of the way up. From here, we managed to get into the village but it wasn’t easy given the deepening drifts and blowing snow which reduced visibility to zero.

At 10.30pm, some 2.5 hours after leaving Cumbernauld I made it into my street and got stuck outside my door. The car was going nowhere and so I had to abandon it in the middle of my street till morning. When I got out of my car and headed for my front door, I was amazed to see the snow up to my knees.

We awoke to a ‘bright but buried in snow morning’ with a bitter wind causing significant blowing and drifting.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Holly braving the deep snow, drifts and bitter wind. Put it this way… she didn’t stay out too long!

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

My snowbound street. In comes the next gusty snow shower.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

back comes the sunshine.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Then back to a near whiteout!

Credit: Mark Vogan

Main roads turned to paths at the Milton of Campsie cross.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Digging out!

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Darkness fell and the snow showers just kept on coming.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

The following morning and we’ve a fresh 3-6 inches on the street.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Dangerous overhanging snow and icicles.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Big snow piles left behind!

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Impressive ‘carved out’ drifts

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Some 3/4 days after the event, Kirkintilloch’s Lammermuir Rd and Lennoxtown’s Crow Rd remained blocked by drifts.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

-3 to -4C air temp with -10C or lower wind chill throughout the final day of February

Credit: Meteoceil

Credit: Meteoceil

No warmer than -12C and a wind chill of -29C on Cairngorm

On the final day of February, the thermometer didn’t warm above -12.7C and dipped to -14C by night. Factoring in winds blowing at between 30-60 mph, wind chills held at between -25 and -28C throughout the day.

On 1 March, the thermometer didn’t exceed -11C following a bitter start of -13.9C. The wind chill dipped to -29C with gusts of 83 mph.

Tags: , , , ,

Follow us

Connect with Mark Vogan on social media to get notified about new posts and for the latest weather updates.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Top