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18-10-2019, 13:56   #1006
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I am going to be posting about October 1993 here.

October 1993 was the second consecutive notably colder than average October at the time following on from the very cold October 1992 which was the coldest in Ireland since 1981 which may not seem that notable at first sight. We have not seen any October to be as cold as 1992 or 1993 since. 1992 was more about the persistence of lower than average daily temperatures whilst 1993 produced some notable severe frosts mid-month and some of the lowest October temperatures since 1926.

The month started off on the unsettled side but it was not your average unsettled period following on from a very wet September in the south and east of Ireland. Through early October, low pressure systems tended to progress in the same regions resulting in an unusually dry month to the north and west.

This 500mb height synoptic on 5th October 1993 is indicative of the unsettled period up to the 9th. An evident anticyclone is to the southeast of Greenland with low pressure centered over southern Ireland with northeasterly winds on the northern flank of the low. It was very wet at times in the east and south particularly on the 4th-6th; some daily falls at synoptic and climate stations below:

Warrenstown, Co. Meath - 60.2mm on the 6th
Ardee, Co. Louth - 58.0mm on the 5th
Dublin Airport - 44.6mm on the 5th
Sherkin Island, Co. Cork - 32.1mm on the 4th
Derrygreenagh, Co. Offaly - 28.2mm on the 6th

Markree Castle, Co. Sligo in comparison had a maximum monthly fall of 10.5mm on the 3rd with the month total being 23.1mm, only 20% of its average October rainfall. Unusually, Warrenstown was the wettest station with 122.1mm during October, 142% of average; although nearly half of this fell on the 6th alone. Even Maam Valley, Co. Galway which is normally one of the wettest stations in Ireland, had only 81.3mm during October 1993.

This split in rainfall reflected the very easterly nature of October 1993.

Belmullet, Co. Mayo had the monthly absolute max for October on the 4th with 16.5C.



It became drier generally from the 10th onwards but further rain showers continued for a few days along eastern and southern coasts with northeasterly winds gusting to gale force. These showers merged to heavier and more persistent falls on the 12th/13th with the air becoming more unstable as air pressure lowers. Maximum temperatures stuck at 8-10C in eastern regions generally.



A northerly attempted to bring cold air down towards Ireland on the 13th and although it did become colder, we escaped the worst of the airmass with the -8C isotherm getting as far south as northern Scotland on the 15th. High pressure ridged in from the Atlantic on the 14th and 15th giving lots of sunshine and feeling cold with maximum temps only 8-12C. Both nights got down to at least -2C somewhere.







On the 16th, high pressure collapsed from Greenland over us so cut off the northerly flow. However, cold air has been established over Ireland from the northerly and with widespread clear skies, there was severe frosts. Plenty of crisp autumn sunshine with only a few coastal showers on the 17th in the southeast corner. The air temperature fell to -6.0C at Straide, Co. Mayo and Markree Castle on the 17th, a new October record for Straide and lowest at Markree Castle since 1926. Markree Castle recorded -6.0C on the 18th also (and -5.6C on the 16th). Meanwhile, Derrygreenagh had a grass min of -14.0C on the 16th.

Even some coastal regions got down to -1 or -2C on the 17th.





The high began to drift away on the 19th allowing milder and cloudier conditions to occur from the southwest although most had another severe frost during the morning.



A cold front spread southwards on the 20th with clearer skies returning from the north behind it. Light showery rain associated with the front. The severe frosts returned with sunny days for most away from the north on the 22nd and east on the 24th. Fog tended to form in the east on the 24th. Markree Castle had an air min of -4.1C on the 22nd. Days felt chilly but maximum temperatures only slightly below average or on par for late October for most in the 9-14C range.





Anticyclonic gloom for the final week of October 1993 with light easterly winds. Some brighter conditions to the south on 29th/30th. Maximum temperatures stuck at 8-11C for most under persistent cloud for days but no frost.



Data from Met Éireann.
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14-11-2019, 17:18   #1007
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November 1919 (99 years ago) recorded one of the most extraordinary cold spells in the history of the UK and Ireland. The fact the cold spell occurred in mid-November (not even the end of the month) says it all really. The November 1919 cold spell is my second favourite weather event to research or discuss about after November/December 2010 as I find it so fascinating how it could be as cold as it was then (Autumn 1919 in general was extremely intriguing, not November alone). Just goes to show how cold it can get in mid-November if the setup is there.

The pattern of November 1919 was similar to that of November 2010. There was blocking over Greenland with anomalous below average heights to the southeast of the UK driving winds in from the northeast with air coming from Scandinavia. The 500mb height anomaly reanalysis of November 1919 below shows this.

The first ten days of November were rather cold already with some overnight frost and light easterly winds at first, gradually becoming windier. The easterlies led to a lack of sunshine for many especially to the south of the UK and east of Ireland. These days were just damp, quiet and chilly.

The cold spell really took hold on the 11th (my birthday ) with northeasterlies dominating. There was plenty of snow showers. There was reports of thundersnow including for Blackpool in the northeast of England. A snowstorm occurred overnight into the 12th in Scotland as a secondary low passed within the severely cold air. Villages were cut off by the snow. There was a foot of snow (30cm) at Dartmoor, 17 inches (44cm) at Balmoral and 8 inches (20cm) at Edinburgh. At Balmoral, this snow continuously laid on the ground from the 8th to 30th November. The snow showers continued for a few days up to the 16th.

Light northeasterly winds and pressure rising led to bitterly cold temperatures being recorded. The snow cover acted as an excellent insulator in further dropping the temperatures to abnormally cold levels for mid-November (probably unprecedented) especially over Scotland. Braemar got down to a whopping -23.3c on November 14th! That is an exceptionally low temperature in the middle of Winter, never mind mid-November. This is the November record low temperature for the UK to the present day when writing this. November 14th 1919 is the earliest a minimum temperature of -20c (AND -15c!) has been recorded in the UK. This is such a phenomenal figure in many ways as you can see. On the same day, Perth got down to -21.7c. Balmoral recorded afternoon maximum temperatures of -10c on the 14th and -12c on the 15th. The temperature fell again to -22.8c on November 15th at Balmoral, the second earliest -15c/-20c temperature in the UK and the second lowest November temperature on record. The maximum at Carlisle, Cumbria in England on November 14th was only -2.7c whilst England's lowest minimum was -12.8c at Scaleby on the 16th. Lisburn in Northern Ireland recorded a minimum of -12.2c on November 15th, Northern Ireland's November record low to this day. 2010 got close at -11.9c on the 28th but not quite beating the 1919 record.

After the 17th, the weather turned more changeable with day to day variation of mild and cold. There were further instances of snow, sleet and hail from the 20th-23rd. Was the extraordinary cold going to become a distant memory or would Winter 1919-20 continue the cold? Winter 1919-20 was unsettled and mild so the November cold was to become the coldest weather of the whole season.

Lowest minimum temperatures of November 1919 for various Irish stations (via the UK Met Office monthly weather report).

StationCountyMinimum temperatureDate(s)
Markree CastleSligo-11.1*14th
Blacksod Pt.Mayo-1.714th/15th
MallaranyMayo-1.713th/15th/30th
DunfanaghyDonegal-3.914th
Malin HeadDonegal-1.114th/15th
LisburnAntrim-12.215th
DonaghadeeDown-1.717th
Armagh ObservatoryArmagh-8.315th
NewtownforbesLongford-8.315th
Dublin CityDublin-3.915th/30th
GlasnevinDublin-6.115th/16th/30th
Phoenix ParkDublin-9.415th
Trinity CollegeDublin-6.715th
RanelaghDublin-5.616th/30th
NewcastleWicklow-2.29th/16th
Birr CastleOffaly-9.414th/15th/16th
MountmellickLaois-6.714th
KilkennyKilkenny-8.912th
GortmoreWaterford-5.612th
Training CollegeWaterford-7.212th
Seskin, Carrick-on-SuirWaterford-4.411th/13th/15th
CahirTipperary-9.412th
FoynesLimerick-5.615th
Mungret CollegeLimerick-10.615th
KillarneyKerry-6.715th
Valentia ObservatoryKerry-4.412th
BallinacurraCork-6.712th
Roches PointCork-2.212th/13th

*The -11.1c temperature at Markree Castle on November 14th 1919 was the record low November minimum temperature for the Republic of Ireland until 2010 when it was beaten at -11.5c by Clonroche, Co. Wexford.

At a CET of 3.3c, November 1919 was the equal 7th coldest on record back to 1659. Just 4 years before, November 1915 was the second coldest on record with a CET of 2.8c (the coldest being 1782 at 2.3c). The coldest CET we've seen since 1970 was November 1985 at 4.1c in comparison. November 1915 was persistently cold and frosty whilst November 1919 had an extreme cold spell but was moderated later.

Data comes from the UK Met Office.
100 years ago today, Markree Castle recorded -11.1C which would be the lowest November temperature in Ireland until 2010 and thanks to Century Ireland, we finally have some photos of the snowfalls in November 1919 in Ireland:







https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/in...-change-denied
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25-12-2019, 19:14   #1008
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Merry Christmas (and a happy new year) to all on the weather forum. Hope Christmas has been a good one for you and here's to high hopes for 2020 after this mediocre 2019 (weather wise at least).



As a present from me, I will be posting about the winter of 1878/79 which has been a highly anticipated one I'm sure. I've created this one specially for nacho libre.

Before I start describing it, let's go over the caveats. As this was a very long time ago, do not expect much information. The station network was very scarce at this time and in terms of the data I have available, I have only Valentia Observatory and Roches Point to go off of which aren't the best reflection for winter due to their coastal exposure so a lot of my figures are estimates based on Britain and synoptic setups. Therefore, this was one of my most challenging historical posts to create. Keep that in mind when reading.

I will start off with November 1878 (which this particular part or post will be focusing on due to image limits) because the extremely long and cold winter of 1878/79 actually begins in this month. November would become the first of 15 consecutive colder than average months lasting from November 1878 to February 1880 (so 1879/80 was another very cold winter but far less snowy)! I find it coincidentally amusing how 100 years later on from 1878/79 that we would have another severe cold winter in 1978/79. And yes, the "colder than average" deviation does go for averages back then too showing you just how cold it was. The year of 1879 had a Central England Temperature (CET) of 7.4C which was the last time that an annual CET fell in the 7s. According to a figure from the February 2009 monthly weather bulletin that I posted back in February 2019, Winter 1878/79 was the coldest winter on record at Phoenix Park with an approximate mean temperature of 1.8C which is nearly 0.5C colder than the next coldest winter at the station, 1962/63.

November 1878 with a CET of 3.5C was almost as cold as November 1919 (3.3C) but unlike 1919, the cold would extend into meteorological winter.

We already see a very blocked pattern to start off November 1878 continuing from the end of October with a dominant northeasterly airflow. It wasn't very cold at this point but it certainly was chilly with overnight frost and daytime maxima in the mid single figures.



A Scandi low had developed by the 6th bringing the threat of wintry showers but most of these tended to be over Britain. This lasted for about 3 days before the high from Greenland got displaced out to the west and southwest of Ireland allowing a northwesterly tilt. In this flow, a relatively deep area of low pressure formed over the country and pushed eastwards on the 10th. Stornoway to the northwest of Scotland had a minimum pressure of 982mb. This low would push eastwards into the North Sea on the 11th and re-establish a northerly flow. This was actually quite a cold northerly flow too with the -5C isotherm right through the country so there would have been some snow showers most definitely with this. Notice also the closely packed isobars meaning there was some windchill too with this northerly.







By the 14th, the low over the North Sea dived south into France indicative of the meridional jet stream. This was extremely unusual for November of course as normal low pressure systems go west to east across northern Europe. For a time on the 15th, the low actually deepened again over the Low Countries and brought a northeasterly gale to southeast England. Some eastern regions would have felt an onshore wind but otherwise, much of Ireland was relatively calm with influence from the ridge out west. It attempted to further deepen on the 16th and brought a windy day to the vast majority of the UK & Ireland but it was not mild at all.





The low would eventually fill on the 17th and high pressure from Greenland collapsed over Ireland bringing drier conditions but probably a lot of fog too with such a chilly surface at this point. This was to last until the 22nd when the ridge pulled back out west into the Atlantic and little lows descended into Scandinavia attempting to get us back into a northerly flow.





The northerly does not come quite off just yet on the 24th with the UK & Ireland in a real background scenario. Low pressure tries to attack from the south bringing up relatively mild air and most certainly a good bit of wet weather but the northerly winds are screaming to the north of Scotland. Spoiler alert: the northerly is gonna win the battle.



The low is forced southwards into Iberia on the 26th allowing a north to northeasterly airflow to take over bringing cold air into Ireland. At this point, it was still a bit mild for snow but that changed by the 27th when the cold air well and truly entrenched the country. There would have likely been plentiful snow showers especially to the northeast, mainly rain in the southeast corner.



A ridge over Ireland to end November 1878 meant hard to severe overnight frosts with minima widely below freezing and inland regions probably getting down to the minus mid single figures.



It wasn't the snowiest November in the world compared to say 1919, 1965 or 2010 but it sure offered a lot of interest from a cold perspective and it was significantly colder than average too with several seasonable periods. That ends part one of this series of posts on the winter of 1878/79. I may post December tomorrow for St. Stephen's Day or the 27th depending on how much interest this garners.
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26-12-2019, 20:41   #1009
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Part two will be focusing on December 1878 which was the most extreme part of the winter for Ireland and it will definitely get some thinking of the December 2010 similarities because there's certainly a comparison between the two.

Thanks to Elmer Blooker for posting these stats on an old thread that I discovered by some good ol' searching: December 1878 had a monthly mean temperature of -0.1C at Phoenix Park which would be the first of only two subzero monthly means at the station - the other one being January 1881 (-0.5C) which I have spoken about millions of times before. December 2010 just missed with 0.2C (although Casement had -0.4C so December 2010 was the third time in recorded history that a Dublin station has had a subzero monthly mean). What makes this fact even more fascinating to me is how the two most severe months of the 20th century - February 1947 and January 1963 - were above zero at Phoenix Park with monthly means of 0.7C and 0.4C respectively. Although I have a feeling that Casement would have had a subzero mean temp in at least January 1963 had it been in operation that month. Elmer also mentioned that Phoenix Park had a monthly mean of 0.2C in February 1855 and February 1895 too - the latter February will be discussed about in a future historical post this winter on Winter 1894/95 as promised.

I also came across Symons' Meteorological Magazine issue from January 1879 so may have some extra information on December.

After a calm and frosty end to November, the opening period of December 1878 was fairly changeable and chilly. It was rather inclement on the 1st with cold rain pushing through the country but this was followed by a drier few days and most definitely a lot of frost. November had plentiful Greenland blocking which seems to be somewhat absent to start December here but we must look at the finer details around Europe and see how a severe cold pattern could evolve. There is no sign of Bartlett ridging into Europe and there is low pressure over the Azores.





The anticyclone bringing dry conditions retrogressed into the North Atlantic and gradually up to Greenland from the 5th onwards resulting in a northwest to northerly airflow. A couple of fronts passed through the country on the 5th and 6th resulting in cold rain largely - it was too mild for snow at this point.



It was all change on the 7th with the North Atlantic completely blocked and any previous troughs dived towards southeast England and the Low Countries. In between the two, there was a dominant northeasterly wind bringing frequent snow showers to the east of Ireland chiefly (classic Irish Sea streamers as we like to call them) but severe cold developed everywhere. This pattern went on and on for at least two weeks - rinse and repeat. Snow cover lay on the ground in parts of the northeast up to 19 days approximately (7th-25th) with minimal thaw.





Monkstown, Dublin observed -11.7C on 13th December - keep in mind the scarce network so there would have highly likely been lower temperatures than this in the capital. Even the likes of Waterford observed -9.7C on the 15th.





Christmas Day was when a change began to take place with the high pressure receding to Germany. However, the vast majority of Ireland had one more severe frost to begin the day with it actually being the coldest conditions seen all month in the north. With very little wind, clear skies and deep snow covered ground, this shouldn't be a surprise at all. Edenfel, Tyrone observed -17.8C on the morning of Christmas Day. Portarlington, Laois observed -13.3C on Christmas Eve (where there was also 29 days during December with an air minimum below 0C in shade although this figure seems skeptical given what the reanalysis show for final week of the month).

The final week of December 1878 was much milder and largely wet. However, this wasn't the end of the cold as January 1879 had other ideas in mind which you'll see in the next post though after seeing what December was like, it might seem a bit anticlimactic.





Some comments on the month from the magazine:

DARRYNANE.—The coldest month for many years. Hard frost from 8th to 24th inclusive, and S at intervals. The most severe winter since 1854-5, and then, though there was more S, the frost was not so severe. Winds chiefly N.E. and moderate, but a fresh gale from N.W. on 31st.

KILLALOE.——A month of great severity, the temp, falling as low as 11° on two nights. Canals and parts of lake frozen hard enough for skating ; ground covered with S from 13th to 28th.

MONKSTOWN.—The month of December was one of unprecedented severity. Frost commenced almost with the month, and continued with two very slight thaws till 25th, when a gradual but decided thaw set in, accompanied by considerable wind. Much S on 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 22nd. Skating continued from 5th to 26th.

WARINGSTOWN.—Continuous frost and S. On the whole the most severe December since 1854, though the there was lower (2°) on the 2nd January, 1867, than it has been this month. A thaw set in on Christmas-day, and continued till end of month ; however, before the new year was many hours old a sharp frost set in, and continues (January 3.)

EDENFEL, OMAGH.—With the exception of one night, frost prevailed during the entire month. The settled frost which commenced on 8th culminated in a temp, of zero in the night of the 24-25th, and was the most prolonged (considering its intensity) of which I can find any record in the present century.

What a winter month December 1878 was for Ireland and up there with the most impacting ones but due to it being a long time ago with limited resources, it's not spoken about much.

Last edited by sryanbruen; 26-12-2019 at 20:46.
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27-12-2019, 13:19   #1010
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Many thanks Sryan for taking time to compile those reports on the winter of 1878-1879. One of my favourite things to do during the Christmas holiers is to arm myself with a mug of coffee and read through many of these historical weather events and statistics in a quiet corner of the house!
After reading through November and December 1878, I was encouraged to go delving and to remind myself of the personal favourite weather event from my own lifetime that stands above all others - the great snow of January 1982. As a child I grew up near the east coast in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin. I will never forget the snow drifts from that epic event and I think that the fascination that I still have as an adult with snow stems from experiencing that great white out. I still have that childhood enthusiasm when I see the snow showers rolling in on a north westerly in this part of Mayo during the winter but they seem like a long way off at the moment with the current mild greyness abounding. Anyway, I enjoyed reading some old threads from Boards going back 9 or 10 years on this event and seeing old photographs that proved that my memory was not playing tricks on me as I recalled the snow drifts in our housing estate in Co. Dublin in 82.
Before I digress further, I have a quick question for you Sryan. Is the Darrynane you mention in your December 1878 report the same Derrynane in Co. Kerry? If it is, I was fascinated to see you mention that it experienced hard frost for well over two weeks solid before Christmas that year. Knowing that place well and as one of the mildest corners in Ireland, I found that an impressive statistic. I am now curious to see how Kerry fared out statistically in the memorable winters of a decade ago. Another coffee needed I think before I go digging.
Thanks again anyway. Great reading.
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27-12-2019, 14:49   #1011
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Many thanks Sryan for taking time to compile those reports on the winter of 1878-1879. One of my favourite things to do during the Christmas holiers is to arm myself with a mug of coffee and read through many of these historical weather events and statistics in a quiet corner of the house!
After reading through November and December 1878, I was encouraged to go delving and to remind myself of the personal favourite weather event from my own lifetime that stands above all others - the great snow of January 1982. As a child I grew up near the east coast in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin. I will never forget the snow drifts from that epic event and I think that the fascination that I still have as an adult with snow stems from experiencing that great white out. I still have that childhood enthusiasm when I see the snow showers rolling in on a north westerly in this part of Mayo during the winter but they seem like a long way off at the moment with the current mild greyness abounding. Anyway, I enjoyed reading some old threads from Boards going back 9 or 10 years on this event and seeing old photographs that proved that my memory was not playing tricks on me as I recalled the snow drifts in our housing estate in Co. Dublin in 82.
Before I digress further, I have a quick question for you Sryan. Is the Darrynane you mention in your December 1878 report the same Derrynane in Co. Kerry? If it is, I was fascinated to see you mention that it experienced hard frost for well over two weeks solid before Christmas that year. Knowing that place well and as one of the mildest corners in Ireland, I found that an impressive statistic. I am now curious to see how Kerry fared out statistically in the memorable winters of a decade ago. Another coffee needed I think before I go digging.
Thanks again anyway. Great reading.
It is very reassuring to know that people still enjoy these historical posts or learning about the past because at times I tend to feel that I'm only doing this for myself and recently, I have lost interest in the subject quite a bit thus the lack of posts. I'm doing Winter 1878/79 and 1894/95 this winter because I promised but unsure what to do after even though I have a list of lots of possible posts.

1982 is definitely a highly reminiscent event or moment in Irish weather history. Until 2018's Storm Emma, 1982 was the most recent true blizzard event to the south and east of the country I think with similar events occurring in 1917, 1933, 1947 and 1962. I think what made it special too to some was how it was succeeded by a cold spell with sunny days and severe frosts but light winds allowed people to go out and enjoy the snow (2018 had none of these following it) though it was hardship too for most of course given the impassable roads. In 2018 and up to early 2019, I was actually working on a book titled "The Day After Tomorrow: Winter 1981-82" because I was gobsmacked to see no books were created on the event. With it being mentioned so much among Irish people, you would think there'd be some kind of book on the event describing the events that occurred? I did heavy research trying to find as many photos as I could from December 1981 and January 1982. I found one single photo of the snow in Ireland in December and plenty for the UK - I never see December get a mention anywhere in Irish media which is odd given it was not only a colder month than January (and one of the coldest Decembers on record) but there was also some heavy snow events. Finding photos from January 1982 were also largely a struggle but I ended up finding a good few anyway. I stopped production on it due to the stress of getting people to interview on their experiences of the winter and my amateurish skills with creating a book layout. I still have my draft though so may continue production in any day now. In the words of Turtle Bunbury, I'd say Winter 1981-82 was THE time to be a kid in Ireland but I am happy enough with 2010 thanks

Yeah, the station was called Caherciveen Darrynane Abbey in the magazine I speak of. I think you have to be cautious though with some of these old observations as people were likely exaggerating. You should check out Winter 1916-17 which I did a series of posts on early in 2019 and they proved very popular. It included two of Ireland's worst blizzards in history (1 in January and 1 in April), each month from December to April achieving a snow event of some kind and plentiful severe frosts especially in the first half of February.

If you want data analysed of any kind, hit me up.
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27-12-2019, 16:23   #1012
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Appreciate your reply very much Sryan.
First of all, I can't say that I disagree with Turtle Bunbury! In saying that I too think that 2010 was a truly memorable event from a meteorological point of view. It just gets nudged into second place by January 1982 for me personally. Living in Mayo the beast from the east in 2018 had little impact here although the pictures and reports I got from family in the east and of course what I saw from posters here showed that it too is assured of its place in Irish meteorological history.
May I urge you to keep your plans for a book on that big snow event in the early 80's alive and on the back burner until they are ready to come to fruition. That is not just purely from a selective and selfish point of view, but as someone who lived and experienced that event, it wasn't just a weather event, it was part of our social history. I am sure that many of my own generation and older who lived through that event have stories and anecdotes about their experiences during the 'big snow of 82' that they will never forget.
We need our historians and those of us that are intrigued by the weather and it's moods need our meteorological historians.
Thanks for clarifying that it was Derrynane in Kerry where those interesting reports came from in December 1878.
Many thanks to the likes of you and others who put so much time in unearthing and analysing statistics and reports from years and centuries gone by, because I know that I like others find them fascinating. Also Christmas wouldn't be the same in my house if I couldn't switch off in a quiet corner and read about the likes of the winter of 1878-1879!
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30-12-2019, 18:48   #1013
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Finish where I left off... January 1879 was a more changeable month compared to December but it was still gonna be a significantly colder than average month and in fact for trivial sakes, it was actually a colder month for England compared to December. This was not the case here in Ireland though and you'll see why.

December ended on the mild and wet side dominated by the Atlantic but already by New Year's Day, we see somewhat of a change with a ridge through the country but we were also on the periphery of a northerly. It was chilly nevertheless away from the southwest.



Low pressure systems push in from the west on the 3rd but the jet stream is on a southerly track so allows northerly winds to bring in cold air behind. This meant for a cold and raw, wet day on the 3rd but it was followed by a ridge over the country on the 4th resulting in drier conditions and plenty crisp winter sunshine. Max temperatures as low as 2 or 3C for many in the north and east probably.





This cold and dry period lasted up to later on the 6th as the high pressure made its way eastwards and it became much milder over Ireland with the development of southerly winds. However, these southerly winds would inflate the high pressure to the east by the process of warm air advection (WAA) heading north. On the eastern side of the high was a very cold polar continental airmass - not quite 1987, 1991 or 2018 standard but cold enough! Under the influence of the low, Ireland endured outbreaks of heavy rain.



On the 8th, we can see that a Scandi High has resulted from the WAA. This forced the low pressure from the west that brought the rain on the 7th to undercut to our south. Snow showers began to appear in eastern counties early on the 9th with the polar continental airmass making its way westwards.



A bitterly cold day on the 10th that looked favoured for ice day conditions and frequent Irish Sea snow showers. Possibly a frontal snow event too for some with the low trying to attack from the west although this was mainly rain in the SW.





Severe frosts on the 11th and early on the 12th before the low that undercut us pushed down to the med and allowed a build of pressure from the southwest. This would lead to a milder day after the early morning frost, and a return of the westerlies. Largely changeable conditions with several periods of rain from the 13th-16th.

Minimum temperatures included -8.3C at Killaloe (Clare) on the 12th (also 2nd) and -10.0C at Waringstown (Down) on the 11th. Remember to account for the scarce network at the time and there would have undoubtedly been lower figures.



However, we yet again see signs of a cold pattern establishing on the 17th with an area of high pressure to the east and southerly winds over Ireland. Warm air advection is happening a second time. Will we see another Scandi High? Read on..



A Scandi High had formed on the 19th and it was followed by a run of chilly days with largely cloudy conditions in nature. Rain in the south on the 21st for a time as a low reached nearby.



The first snow showers appeared over eastern counties on the 23rd and 24th but they were less frequent and lighter than those with the previous easterly or those seen in the preceding December.



The final week of January 1879 was anticyclonic on the whole with largely dry weather besides some reported light snow in the NE on the 30th and rain in the south on the 31st.



It was a wetter than average month for large parts of the country but this was due to slow-moving fronts rather than frequent rains. Cork recorded 6.51 inches of rain (roughly 165.4mm) during the month contrast to places like Edenfel (Tyrone) recording only 47.5mm, indicative of the southerly jet stream.

Whilst there was some northerly episodes, January was a much more easterly month compared to December which was very northerly. This was the reason why England had a colder month compared to December and vice versa for Ireland. Nevertheless, the severe winter of 1878/79 rages on with January 1879. How did February 1879 fare though? Well... spoiler alert for next post, it was less cold again and quite significantly less cold than either of the previous two months. However, there was yet more snow at times.

Notes from Symons' Meteorological Magazine issue from February 1879 on January:

DARRYNANE.—The wettest January registered in ten years, but the number of wet days was below the average. Of the total fall, more than half fell on four days. A very changeable month ; one day soft and summerlike, the next dry and bitterly cold, and the next wet, was the rule, until the last ten days, which were dry, but otherwise like the others, changeable.

KILLALOE.—Very low temp, during the month, the mean temp, being 34°'9. Sharp frosts on twenty-two nights, with many bright and agreeable days. Scarcely any fog or mist. Heavy gale, from E. and S. E., on the last three days.

WARINGSTOWN.—Frost continuous, with the exception of three days. Latter part of month bitterly cold E. wind.

EDENFEL, OMAGH.—The frost, which settled upon us in the beginning of December, continued throughout this month, with little intermission, but with somewhat diminished intensity; occasional rapid thaws broke up the rivers, but as rapid returns to frost, leaves the ice still of immense thickness on the lakes, where there has been continuous skating for two months. Altogether the frost has been the most severe and prolonged in the memory of the oldest inhabitant.
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02-01-2020, 17:11   #1014
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Thanks a lot Sryan for those articles. They are a nice read to help a snow lover forget about the awful weather we are currently having at the moment
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02-01-2020, 22:04   #1015
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Originally Posted by nacho libre View Post
Thanks a lot Sryan for those articles. They are a nice read to help a snow lover forget about the awful weather we are currently having at the moment
I agree with Nacho, brilliant work Sryan !

If you look at the January 2020 predictions thread and look at what people are predicting, it's very telling of what we're enduring at the moment!
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02-01-2020, 23:34   #1016
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Finally got a chance to catch up on Sryan's excellent detailed posts on the winter of 1916-1917. What a winter first and foremost! Thanks again Sryan for your thorough research and analysis.
I have a real interest in history myself and I do know that a very important by election in Irish history took place in North Roscommon during early 1917. It was significant as it was a barometer of how public opinion had changed in the aftermath of the 1916 Rising and Count Plunkett was elected (father of Joseph Plunkett who was one of the seven signatories of the proclamation). For those of us with an interest in Irish weather history, I do know that this election became known locally as 'the election of the snows' in north Roscommon such was the depth of the snowdrifts in the area at the time of the election.
There was a very good article written by a Fr.Flanagan on the famous election of the snows that gives some interesting details about the extent of the snowfall in this part of the west at the time. I hope to post a link successfully all going well for anyone who might be interested. (The first half of the article contains the most relevant information on weather conditions at the time)

http://www.carrowkeel.com/frof/1917.html

Last edited by Goldfinch8; 03-01-2020 at 01:50.
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03-01-2020, 10:49   #1017
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Originally Posted by Goldfinch8 View Post
Finally got a chance to catch up on Sryan's excellent detailed posts on the winter of 1916-1917. What a winter first and foremost! Thanks again Sryan for your thorough research and analysis.
I have a real interest in history myself and I do know that a very important by election in Irish history took place in North Roscommon during early 1917. It was significant as it was a barometer of how public opinion had changed in the aftermath of the 1916 Rising and Count Plunkett was elected (father of Joseph Plunkett who was one of the seven signatories of the proclamation). For those of us with an interest in Irish weather history, I do know that this election became known locally as 'the election of the snows' in north Roscommon such was the depth of the snowdrifts in the area at the time of the election.
There was a very good article written by a Fr.Flanagan on the famous election of the snows that gives some interesting details about the extent of the snowfall in this part of the west at the time. I hope to post a link successfully all going well for anyone who might be interested. (The first half of the article contains the most relevant information on weather conditions at the time)

http://www.carrowkeel.com/frof/1917.html

Thank you for this article, which is a great read. I had never heard of the this by election, and that it was referred to as 'the election of the snow'.

Last edited by nacho libre; 03-01-2020 at 12:25.
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05-01-2020, 20:50   #1018
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The last day of January 1879 was wet in the south associated with an area of low pressure attacking from the south. This continued through the first days of February and cold rain fell. There wasn't much reports of snow although in the magazine, it states that the month commenced with heavy snow at Monkstown, Co. Dublin but this soon melted later on the 1st into the 2nd.

The 500mb height synoptic for 1st February 1879 shows there was still a fair amount of blocking to be had to the north but this was the exception really to the month as it was a changeable, unsettled month dominated by the Atlantic with a few cold episodes which you'll see as I go through this analysis.



The low cleared to the Low Countries by later on the 3rd into the 4th as it failed to progress northwards as a result of the blocking that I spoke of. A ridge from the blocking and the Azores High meant a frosty night associated with an east to northeasterly wind. The monthly extremes (which the absolute mins were recorded later in the month) suggest values were only a little below freezing across Ireland, even in the north. However, I must remind that the station network was scarce so not entirely representative. I'm somewhat surprised that they weren't lower than -1 or -2C.



The blocking over Greenland and Iceland was well replaced by the 5th with the westerlies becoming established as low pressure sets up shop near Iceland. Days relatively mild with periods of rain from time to time. Talking max temperatures in the high single figures to low double digits so nothing exceptionally mild but close to or slightly above average nevertheless.



The jet stream became southerly tracking on the 11th/12th even though there was very little blocking to be had in the high latitudes. This meant the low pressure that brought rain on the 10th got displaced into central Europe and a colder northerly flow occurred. Pressure looks a bit high for snow showers for most of Ireland but the air was cold enough for snow to fall.



A frost overnight on the 12th was quickly replaced by southeast to southerly winds ushering in wet and mild conditions on the 13th. Killaloe (Co. Clare) recorded 12.8C on this day, the mildest temperature for the island for February 1879, in terms of the data available. For an absolute max, that's not exactly a high temperature.



An interesting pattern on the 14th with low pressure forced south by a "wedge" to the northeast of the UK trying to get the winds into the east but this fails as a cyclone from the North Atlantic successfully pushes in on the 15th but the wedge continued to build northwards. By the 16th, we were in a cool and very unsettled polar maritime airflow with a pool of cold air over Scandinavia.









A window of drier conditions in between lows on the 18th with a cold, sunny day was followed by more unsettled weather on the 19th. Notice how far south the jet stream is through the Mediterranean however. What this meant was the air contained within this unstable atmosphere was of the cold variety. As a consequence, precipitation associated with this low tended to fall as snow, including at Monkstown, which did lie in places but melted quickly as you'd expect.



The Azores High retrogressed on the 21st and tried to link up with an anticyclone over eastern Canada. A northerly push of cold air attempted to descend towards us and it successfully does so, becoming a northeasterly by the 23rd. Almost certainly snow showers to northern and eastern regions with this but frosts again tended to be of only -1 to -4C values for most with the 23rd-26th period bringing the coldest values of the month including -6.1C at Waringstown (Co. Down). High pressure ridged in over us on the 25th and 26th but the air contained within this high was very cold so I'm surprised temperatures weren't lower than what the figures in the magazine show.









The last two days of February 1879 were more unsettled and milder on the 27th before cooler air returns again from the northwest on the 28th bringing wet snow showers to the north and west.



Very little notes on Ireland in February 1879:

KILLALOE.—Mean temp. 40°'G, being below the average. Sharp frost on several nights. Vegetation very backward.

MONKSTOWN.—The month commenced with heavy S, which, however, soon melted, and was followed by heavy R ; then milder weather with a good deal of R at night and fair days. S fell heavily on 19th, but quickly melted, and was succeeded by hard frost. The end of the month was fine and mild, with occasional slight frosts at night. Scarcely any progress in vegetation except crocuses and snowdrops.

WARINGSTOWN.—Cold and damp, but the E, though frequent, fell in small quantities.

Not as wintry as the months previous but temperatures still below or well below average.
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13-01-2020, 11:38   #1019
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With all the "hype" (couldn't think of another word) of Storm Brendan, lack of posts on the Beast from the East (true by definition) in January 1987 with ice days conditions widely in UK & Ireland. It's suggested that 12/13 January 1987 were coldest days since 1740.

https://twitter.com/RTEArchives/stat...83570644865024

I did a post on January 1987 in mid-March 2018 (page 20 on PC) if you'd like to check out an in-depth look at it although honestly, it could have been far better looking back on it now.
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22-01-2020, 12:05   #1020
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Time to post about the severe winter of 1894/95 that I promised. Before I start, I'll give some overall statistics for the winter. To remind in case you forgot or did not read the December 1878 post, Phoenix Park had a mean temperature of 0.2C in February 1895 and was the joint third coldest month on record at the station with February 1855 and December 2010, only beaten by January 1881 and December 1878. Winter 1894-95 was overall the third coldest winter on record at the station with an approximate rounded mean temp of 2.3C with only 1878/79 and 1962/63 colder.

In contrast to what was going to happen later in the winter, December 1894 was actually a mild month and at the time, it was considered a "very mild" month but nowadays, it would probably be considered relatively mild.

The month began anticyclonic with a lot of fog including many reports from Dublin stating a "good deal of fog". The minimum temperature for the month using the available data was -6.1C at Ballinasloe (Co. Galway) on the 2nd.

However, it became more unsettled from the 4th out west but this took a while to reach the east. December went on to be quite a wet month for Ireland and stormy at times including a notable gale on the 22nd. One report from Edenfel (Co. Tyrone) mentions: "No storm since that of January 1839 has wrought such widespread havoc to buildings and to plantations as that of the night of Friday 21st and had its period of greatest violence lasted as long as in 1839, the damage to life and property would have been appalling". Up to 268.7mm of rain fell at Clifden (Co. Galway) during December.

There were also mentions of a lack of snow in December 1894 including at Edenfel itself where it saw no snow on the mountain tops 'til the 29th (assuming it refers to the Sperrins) when a northerly occurred to end the month which lead us nicely into January.











For some reason, some wetterzentrale charts from 1894 won't link correctly so using Meteociel instead for 1894-95.

I will do January 1895 in a separate post because I might reach the image limit if I were to include it alongside December here.

Reports on December 1894 from the met magazine:

DARRYNANE ABBEY. — A very mild month, with some heavy gales. H, mixed with S, on 29th. Gales on 18th, 22nd, and 29th.

WATERFORD, BROOK LODGE.— A few light showers of S on the last two days of the month. Mean temp. 43°'9.

O'BRIENSBRIDGE, Ross.— An average rainfall for the season was attended by unusually high temp, until the 28th. The storm of 21st, so destructive elsewhere, passed over here with little injury ; its greatest violence did not last more than one hour. With the storm of 28th also no serious loss occurred. S on 30th and 31st.

DUBLIN.— The earlier part of the month was characterised by anticyclonic conditions, and was quiet, chiefly fine, with a good deal of fog. From the 9th onward the distribution of atmospheric pressure was cyclonic, the depressions of 22nd and 29th being especially noticeable for the suddenness of their approach, and the havoc which they wrought. As in 1893, the month closed with a cold spell, with S, sleet, and H. Mean temp. 43°'9, 2°-6 above the average. Lunar halos appeared on 3, and solar halos on 2, days. High winds were noted on 12 days, and attained the force of a gale on 8. Foggy on 9 days. L on the 30th. Faint aurora on the 22nd.

CLIFDEN, KYLEMORE.— Very wet and stormy throughout. Severe gales from W. on 21st and 28th. S on 30th.

WAMNGSTGWN.— A gale, unequalled since 1839, occurred on 22nd, doing great damage to buildings and trees.

EDENFEL.— With an average rainfall, the temp, of the month was remarkably mild, and there was little frost, and no snow even on the mountain tops till 29th. In other respects the last 10 days of the month left a mark that it will take many years to efface. No storm since that of January, 1839. has wrought such widespread havoc to buildings and to plantations as that of the night of Friday, 21st, and had its period of greatest violence lasted as long as in 1839, the damage to life and property would have been appalling. On the 29th another, but less violent, gale occurred after an extraordinary barometric fluctuation, between times, of from 28'70 in. to 30'90 in. (corrected).

In some ways, this will be the complete opposite to 1878-79. December was the most severe month of that winter and it got less severe as it went along but in 1894-95, February was the most severe month.

Last edited by sryanbruen; 22-01-2020 at 12:08.
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