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2013

Authors have, for some time, been looking for various measures of how to assess the snowiness of past winters. Dr Richard Wild has a means of assessing "heavy snow days" over the UK (his website is here) and we have Bonacina's analysis from 1875 onwards here, which is updated these days by Dave OHara although the site appears to be offline.

I devised my own scheme where I took individual snow events in a given winter, and scaled them from 1 to 5 in terms of severity and geographical distribution and added them together to give the winter a total. The detailed ins and outs are not available here, but you can find the results here and compare them with the results that other analyists have obtained. Sources used for this analysis were wide-ranging, including both of the above sources, and the "British Snow Reports" from 1947-1991. I posted the details onto the Net Weather forum a while ago. This can be seen as an archive of the results for anyone who has missed them or lost them.

No method of analysing winter snowiness across the UK as a whole is perfect. This method promotes winters with a large number of marginal snow events with limited accumulations over ones with a lasting snow cover but fewer individual snow events (e.g. the 2009/10 total was boosted by a large number of individual snowfalls in February 2010 which didnt produce much snow cover at low levels).

List of Winters- ranked by year order, with decadal averages

Winter

Snow Score

1946/47

78

1947/48

30

1948/49

25

1940s overall

n/a

1949/50

28

1950/51

54

1951/52

39

1952/53

33

1953/54

30

1954/55

51

1955/56

40

1956/57

23

1957/58

47

1958/59

19

1950s overall

36

1959/60

33

1960/61

18

1961/62

40

1962/63

53

1963/64

24

1964/65

43

1965/66

48

1966/67

22

1967/68

42

1968/69

44

1960s overall

36

1969/70

48

1970/71

19

1971/72

20

1972/73

28

1973/74

24

1974/75

22

1975/76

22

1976/77

35

1977/78

44

1978/79

64

1970s overall

33

1979/80

32

1980/81

39

1981/82

49

1982/83

35

1983/84

34

1984/85

47

1985/86

45

1986/87

37

1987/88

23

1988/89

17

1980s overall

36

1989/90

19

1990/91

35

1991/92

13

1992/93

22

1993/94

34

1994/95

29

1995/96

37

1996/97

29

1997/98

20

1998/99

25

1990s overall

26

1999/2000

20

2000/01

33

2001/02

23

2002/03

20

2003/04

28

2004/05

28

2005/06

32

2006/07

18

2007/08

24

2008/09

35

2000s overall

26

2009/10

58

2010/11

39

 

And the winters, ranked from snowiest to least snowy:

1946/47

78

1978/79

64

2009/10

58

1950/51

54

1962/63

53

1954/55

51

1981/82

49

1965/66

48

1969/70

48

1957/58

47

1984/85

47

1985/86

45

1968/69

44

1977/78

44

1964/65

43

1967/68

42

1955/56

40

1961/62

40

1951/52

39

1980/81

39

2010/11

39

1986/87

37

1995/96

37

1976/77

35

1982/83

35

1990/91

35

2008/09

35

1983/84

34

1993/94

34

1952/53

33

1959/60

33

2000/01

33

1979/80

32

2005/06

32

1947/48

30

1953/54

30

1994/95

29

1996/97

29

1949/50

28

1972/73

28

2003/04

28

2004/05

28

1948/49

25

1998/99

25

1963/64

24

1973/74

24

2007/08

24

1956/57

23

1987/88

23

2001/02

23

1966/67

22

1974/75

22

1975/76

22

1992/93

22

1971/72

20

1997/98

20

1999/2000

20

2002/03

20

1958/59

19

1970/71

19

1989/90

19

1960/61

18

2006/07

18

1988/89

17

1991/92

13

 

The severity of 2009/10 and also December 2010 was in particularly stark contrast with most recent winters.