Early February 2009 snowfalls

February 2 - Heavy snowfalls in eastern England, with significant travel disruption in London and the south-east.

There were heavy snowfalls in many parts of eastern England overnight 1st/2nd, with widespread travel disruption. London and parts of Essex, Kent, Surrey and Hampshire were particularly badly affected, but there was also disruption in parts of northern and eastern England. Runways were closed at Heathrow, all London buses were stopped and vehicles were abandoned in the Yorkshire Wolds.

A selection of depths at at 0900 GMT on 2 February is shown in the following map.
snow020209

Stations reporting snow depths of 16 cm or more
Snow depth (cm) Station County
29 Mickleham Surrey
23 Alice Holt Lodge Hampshire
21 Guernsey Airport Channel Islands
20 Cupar, Elmwood Agricultural College Fife
19 Malham Tarn North Yorkshire
17 Copley Durham
17 High Beach Hertfordshire
16 Andrewsfield Essex
16 Hampstead Greater London

Amongst the depths recorded at unofficial stations were 31 cm at Epsom (Surrey), 26 cm at Old Woking (Surrey), 13 cm at Blackheath (SE London) and 9 cm at Wokingham (Berks) (source uk.sci.weather newsgroup). In Wallington (Surrey), level depths of 24-27 cm were measured in various locations.
Snow_in_Sutton_2009
Photograph taken in Sutton, Surrey (reproduced by permission of Roger White).

Previous snowfall

The last time widespread snowfalls affected the UK was in February 1991. From the 8th to the 14th, there was over 20 cm of lying snow over the eastern half of England and Scotland. A depth of 51 cm was reported from Bingley, West Yorkshire at 0900 on the 9th. In London, snow depths on the 9th were 18 cm at St James's Park, 21 cm at Greenwich and 25 cm at Hampstead.

Among the other heavy falls in the London area, going back to the severe 1962/3 winter, were the following.

Heavy falls in the London area since Winter 1962/3
Dates Depths and areas affected
12-14 January 1987 Mainly Kent, Essex, Surrey and east London. On the 13th, up to 65 cm over north Kent, 55 cm at Southend, 45 cm at Orpington (Kent)
8-10 January 1982 12-15 cm in Greater London with 30 cm at Hampstead
8-11 December 1981 Up to 10 cm in central London and 15-20 cm in suburbs, with 26 cm at Heathrow on the 11th
26-30 December 1962 By the 30th, 30 cm widely over Greater London; 40-60 cm on higher ground from Hampshire to Kent

February 3 - The focus of the fresh snowfalls moved to northern and western England and Wales

Parts of the UK, particularly England and Wales, struggled with a second day of disruption with further delays on roads and cancelled trains and flights, and more than 6,000 school closures.

A selection of depths (cm) at 0900 GMT on 3 February are shown on the following map.
snow030209

The depths of 16 cm or more reported were:

Stations reporting snow depths of 16 cm or more
Snow depth (cm) Station County
32 Malham Tarn North Yorkshire
30 Westgate Northumberland
25 Copley Durham
24 Mickleham Surrey
20 Alston Cumbria
20 Dinorwic Gwynedd
19 Alice Holt Lodge Hampshire
18 Emley Moor West Yorkshire
18 Llangunllo Powys
18 Washington Durham
17 Hunt Hall Farm Durham
17 Pateley Bridge North Yorkshire
16 High Beach Hertfordshire

In addition, a depth of 17 cm was reported on the uk.sci.weather newsgroup from Tideswell (Derbyshire, altitude 303 m).

February 5 - Fresh snowfalls in parts of south-west England, the Midlands, Wales and Scotland, again caused travel disruption

There were further heavy snow falls from north Devon northwards through the Midlands and Wales and in the Scottish Highlands overnight, with widespread road, rail and air travel disruption. Two walkers died in the Lake District. The continued snow led to worries about shortages of salt and grit used for winter road maintenance.

A selection of depths (cm) at 0900 GMT on 5 February are shown on the following map.
snow050209

The depths of 16 cm or more reported were:

Stations reporting snow depths of 16 cm or more
Snow depth (cm) Station County
60 Cairngorm Chairlift Highland
30 Westgate Northumberland
30 Tredegar Gwent
28 Strathdearn Strathdearn
26 Malham Tarn North Yorkshire
25 Balmoral Aberdeenshire
22 Copley Durham
21 Aviemore Highland
20 Drumnadrochit Highland
18 Emley Moor West Yorkshire
16 Upper Lambourn Berkshire
16 Hunt Hall Farm Durham
16 Libanus Powys
16 Pateley Bridge North Yorkshire
16 Alwen Clwyd

Amongst the depths recorded at unofficial stations were 13 cm at Whipsnade (Bedfordshire), 11 cm at Didcot (Oxfordshire), 11 cm at Charlbury (Oxfordshire) and 10 cm at Tideswell (Derbyshire) (source uk.sci.weather newsgroup).

February 6 - The focus of the overnight snowfalls was again parts of SW England, the south Midlands and south Wales

Heavy overnight snow brought travel disruption, particularly to Devon and Somerset. Many schools were closed and 12,000 Devon homes were without electricity. The second Severn crossing was closed because of ice falling from overhead signs.

A selection of depths (cm) at 0900 GMT on 6 February are shown on the following map.
snow060209

The depths of 16 cm or more reported were:

Stations reporting snow depths of 16 cm or more
Snow depth (cm) Station County
60 Cairngorm Chairlift Strathdearn
30 Nettlecombe Somerset
30 Tredegar Gwent
28 Westgate Northumberland
26 Strathdearn Strathdearn
24 Malham Tarn North Yorkshire
21 Copley Durham
21 Dunkeswell Devon
20 Upper Lambourn Berkshire
20 Dungonnell Antrim
19 Velindre Powys
19 South Newington Oxfordshire
17 Balmoral Aberdeenshire
16 Pateley Bridge North Yorkshire

Amongst the depths recorded at unofficial stations were 19 cm at Haytor, Devon (altitude 313 m), 19 cm at Whipsnade (Beds), 17 cm at Charlbury (Oxon), and 12 cm at Stogursey (Somerset) (source uk.sci.weather newsgroup).

Various Met Office staff reported undrifted depths of 30-45 cm across Aberdeenshire between the 6th and 12th, mainly within a 20-mile radius from Aberdeen city centre. Snow lay with a full cover for two weeks and only totally thawed at low levels on Friday 20th. Snow depths of 3 cm or more were recorded at Aberdeen airport until 16 February.

Last updated: 26 October 2012