Snow and low temperatures - 28-30 October 2008

Record low October temperatures and snow reported across many areas of the UK...

A cold last week to October 2008, with some stations setting new records for low maximum and minimum temperatures for October. Sleet and snow was also observed across many areas of the UK, notably over Northern Ireland and Scotland. The last occurrence of sleet or snow being reported across these areas was October 2003. The most notable snowfall (in terms of historical comparison) during this period occurred over SE England overnight on 28/29 October 2008 (see chart below).

Synoptic situation at 0000 UTC on 29 October 2008
Synoptic situation at 0000 UTC on 29 October 2008

A number of stations across the climate district of SE & Central S England reported a day of snow on 28/29 October 2008, including Reading University, Whiteknights (Berkshire), Hampstead (Greater London) and Odiham (Hampshire). The last previous date that any snow was recorded during October over this climate district was 29 October 1974, but in London it was 31 October 1934.

There were also reports of snow lying at 0900 UTC (the time which climate stations take their daily observations) on 29 October 2008 from stations across SE & Central S England, with High Wycombe (Buckinghamshire) recording 3 cm and Odiham recording 1 cm. The last previous October date with snow lying at 0900 UTC over this climate district was 29th October 1922.

The tables below show stations with long records which have set new record low 24 hour maximum or minimum temperatures for October.

Record low October maximum temperatures
Station Date (2008) Maximum
temperature
(° C)
Previous lowest October
maximum temperature
(° C)
Digitised
records back to
Leuchars (Fife) 28 October 4.5 4.7 on 30 October 1974 1957
Aberporth (Ceredigion) 29 October 5.2 7.4 on 22 October 2003 1957
Nottingham, Watnall 28 October 5.3 5.4 on 30 October 1974 1957
Shawbury (Shropshire) 29 October 5.5 6.2 on 30 October 1974 1957
Ronaldsway (Isle of Man) 28 October 6.1 6.6 on 21 October 2003 1957
Record low October minimum temperatures
Station Date (2008) Minimum
temperature
(° C)
Previous lowest October
minimum temperature
(° C)
Digitised
records back to
Coningsby (Lincolnshire) 29 October -4.2 -3.8 on 29 October 1997 1978
Lyneham (Wiltshire) 29 October -3.6 -2.8 on 29 October 1997 1957
Tiree (Outer Hebrides) 29 October -0.3 -0.3 on 13 October 1971 1931

As well as station records, there are also regional and national daily temperature series back to 1960, which can be used to put the low temperatures into recent historic context. The tables below put the lowest daily maximum and minimum national values recorded during October 2008 into context with these daily series back to 1960.

National maximum temperatures
Area Date (2008) Maximum
temperature
(° C)
Daily
ranking
Previous or record lowest
October maximum
temperature (° C)
UK 28/29 October 5.6 1st 6.2 on 29 October 1974
England 29 October 6.4 2nd 5.6 on 30 October 1974
Wales 29 October 4.7 1st 6.2 on 22 October 2003
Scotland 28 October 3.3 1st 4.3 on 17 October 1973
Northern Ireland 29 October 4.7 1st 6.2 on 27 October 1992
National minimum temperatures
Area Date (2008) Minimum
temperature
(° C)
Daily
ranking
Previous or record lowest
October minimum
temperature (° C)
UK 29 October -1.9 4th -2.9 on 17 October 1993
England 29 October -2.3 Joint 3rd -3.2 on 29 October 1997
Wales 29 October -2.4 Joint 2nd -2.7 on 29 October 1983
Scotland 28 & 30 October -1.9 Joint 12th -3.8 on 17 October 1993
Northern Ireland 29 October -1.0 Joint 10th -2.8 on 18 October 1993

Last updated: 26 October 2012