THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

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billdango
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THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by billdango » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:14 pm

A short discussion on a largely forgotten winter?

The winter of 1987 or to be more precise the first 3 weeks of January of that year.

Although it was short and sharp the cold snap of that month did more damage to the exotic plants along the south coast and the Isles of Scilly then any other winter since 1962/1963.

Even more damage was done to the exotics in south west Europe right down as far south as Biarittz where all the CIDPs and many other palms including Cordylines were either defoliated or killed outright.

Cities like Pau recorded night temperatures down to as low as -17c and even Bordeaux recorded -15c.

In Paris -12c was a common night low and some places in north east France recorded below -20c.

The Netherlands were badly hit as well with extreme lows recorded there.

Here in Southampton I recorded -11c in my side entrance on 2 nights and that record has not been broken since I set up a thermometer there.

The most noticable feature of that winter was the incredible strength of the north easterly wind which exceeded force 8 for 4 days in Southampton and along the south coast of the UK.

The coldest day maxima ever recorded in the City center was on the 12th of January when the temperature didn't rise above -7c all day and fell to around -11c during the night.

As the wind was so violent the temperature in the City center was exactly the same as my side entrance.

All my cordylines were cut to the ground and my 30 foot mimosa tree was blown over plus my greenhouse was totally destroyed by the relentless gale force winds.

Many trees were lost or destroyed on Tresco and the Ventnor botanical gardens lost most of its exotics as well.

On the Continent the famous Agave collection in the City of Pau were wiped out and all the CIDPs were destroyed or turned to mush.

As for snow we didn't get much in Southampton but Kent had a classical fall of about 18 inches in places and Tresco had 5 inches.

Below is a list of the temperatures I recorded in my side entrance for that cold spell.

Bear in mind that the cold snap started a week earlier in Europe and carried on for another week after it finished in the South of England.

Southampton temperatures for the winter of 1987.

Jan 8.1.87 max +4c - min-4c.
Jan 9.1.87 max+5c - min-4c.
Jan 10.1.87 max-4c - min10c.
Jan 11.1.87 max -7c - min -11c.
Jan 12.1.87 max-5c min 8c.
Jan 13.1.87 max -5c min-9c
Jan 14.1.87 max-5c min-10c.
Jan 15.1.87 max -1c min-7c.
Jan 16.1.87 max +1c min-3c.
Jan 17.1.87 max+1c min-3c.
Jan 18.1.87 max 0c min-2c.
Jan 19.1.87 max +1c min-2c.
Cold spell finished on Jan 21st in Southampton as temperatures climbed climbed back into double figures.

Other forum members in the UK and on the Continent should check the temperature readings for their areas as well because a spell of weather like this can happen in any future winter to come and for Southampton these figures haven,t been beaten since even during the winter of 1962/63.

billdango :shock:


Conifers
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by Conifers » Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:29 pm

Wasn't very bad up here, nowhere nearly as cold as 1981/82. Scotland escaped even better off.


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Blairs
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by Blairs » Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:57 pm

Conifers wrote:Wasn't very bad up here, nowhere nearly as cold as 1981/82. Scotland escaped even better off.
Temps may not have been as bad as 2010, but I do remember going back to school and we were all put in assembly all day as there were no teachers as the snow was so bad until our parents came back to get us. I walked home with snow past my knees (must have been 4/5 at the time) with thick snow falling. I remember long icicles and outside drain pipes burst like waterfalls and spiders webs thick with ice and me struggling to stand with the ice in the back garden.


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multim
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by multim » Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:12 pm

Along with the storm of '87, best left forgotten! I am old enough to remember the Winter of '63. Now that WAS cold.
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by GoggleboxUK » Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:32 pm

I remember it well, I was a student and living in a fairly remote farmhouse that whad red diesel powered central heating.

The diesel tank froze, I went to bed that night fully clothed, with extra hooded fleece and coat, under 2 duvets and woke up to find 1/4" of ice on the inside of the windows.

The farmer came that morning and sirrounded the diesel tank with 2 deep of straw bales and put candles underneath to thaw it out.

Very cold, very exposed. One of life's little adventures at such a young age.
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by Nathan » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:01 pm

It was a record breaking cold winter for many parts of the south coast, with lots of normally mild spots getting unheard of temperatures, for example:

Tresco -7.2C
Southsea -8.0C
Torquay -7.8C
Penzance -9.9C
Portland -10.4C
Weymouth -9.8C

Hopefully we wont get a winter like that again icon_thumright
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by GREVILLE » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:15 am

Well, I can't forget the morning of January 12th 1987 as I was waiting at a known windy site a mile from home for twenty minutes in a 30mph gale and the temperature was still at the minimum of -12c. That represents a wind chill of -25c. The person I had arranged to meet never showed and I went home to take another look at the thermometer. It was 9.30am and the temperature was STILL -12c :shock:

Late in the day heavy snow started and continued for four days. My road was cut off from vehicles for a week.


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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by stephenprudence » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:22 am

1987 was cold here, but not as cold as down south, here we reached -8.7C, whereas 1981 was the real bad one where it fell to -10.2C.

1987 was quite short but sharp cold spell, certainly not even as long as 2010, but it still brough intense cold, which played havoc with exotics..
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eddie
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by eddie » Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:25 pm

oops...

memory block...

sorry

8)
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billdango
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by billdango » Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:30 pm

Nathan wrote:It was a record breaking cold winter for many parts of the south coast, with lots of normally mild spots getting unheard of temperatures, for example:

Tresco -7.2C
Southsea -8.0C
Torquay -7.8C
Penzance -9.9C
Portland -10.4C
Weymouth -9.8C

Hopefully we wont get a winter like that again icon_thumright
Unfortunately its only a matter of time before it happens again?

Everything fell into place that January with a massive high to the north east of us and a low pressure system trundling along the English channel and dropping south to northern Spain which allowed the violent winds on its northern flank to bring that freezing air over from the north.

The cold weather was supposed to miss us and stay on the other side of the channel but we all know what happened.

I think we only got 2 days warning so I never protected any of my exotics so was caught out by the sudden violent change of weather.

As my job then was as a window cleaner and my car heater packed up the same day as the big freeze started I was unable to work for 7 days and lost a lot of work because of it.

I do remember that even the channel islands had -10c on a couple of nights and that must be a record for Jersey.

The total amount of snow for Southampton was 4 inches which although not that much was covering a layer of ice on the roads so was worst then it seemed.

If it had gone on for as long as the winter of 2010 I think even the Trachys would have died as just about every other exotic did.

The losses were total with all palms except T Fortuni and protected C humilis's.

All Cordylines were cut to the ground or destroyed and so were all phormiums and Basjoo's.

As there were very few exotics in Southampton at that time the losses werent as bad as they would be today.

Lets hope we don't see another spell of cold like that again in my lifetime.

billdango :shock:




All cordylines were destroyed or


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flounder
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by flounder » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:00 pm

It's strange, I don't remember it being abnormally cold icon_scratch I remember deep snow drifts and people 'canoeing' down a big hill in a local park. Maybe I was hardier when younger icon_salut
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billdango
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by billdango » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:33 pm

flounder wrote:It's strange, I don't remember it being abnormally cold icon_scratch I remember deep snow drifts and people 'canoeing' down a big hill in a local park. Maybe I was hardier when younger icon_salut
Brighton is on the south coast so it may not have got as cold as Southampton which lies some miles inland.

In a normal winter Southampton is always colder then Brighton anyway but it would be worth looking at the figures for your area for 1987 if you can as I would be interested in seeing the difference for that year.

billdango icon_thumleft


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Nathan
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by Nathan » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:39 pm

It did get cold in Brighton too...

I have had a look on the Met Office database & the weather station called 'Brighton No.2', which was situated at the allotments in Whitehawk Hill Road, recorded the following maximum & minimum temperatures over the cold snap:

11/01/87 Max: 0.8C Min: -6.7C
12/01/87 Max: -4.3C Min: -10.8C
13/01/87 Max: -7.9C Min: -10.3C
14/01/87 Max: -5.5C Min: -8.9C
15/01/87 Max: -2.7C Min: -5.5C
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by GREVILLE » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:52 pm

The heavy snowfall that followed the record lows on the 12th January was down to the relative warmth of the North Sea and the north-easterly gale that left Northern Europe with daytime temperatures of -25c to -30c. This exceptional pool of cold gave all high ground either side of the Thames estuary as much as 60cms of level snow with widespread drifts up to ten feet.

By the time this airstream had spent four days dumping its load of snow it had become a spent force once it reached Heathrow as there was no more than a dusting here.

The high ground made a big difference as the through road that runs along the side of my property was impassable for a week thanks 55cm of cover. Just half a mile away and a 200 feet drop in altitude the level snow depth was a mere 15cm.


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flounder
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Re: THE FORGOTTEN WINTER? THE BIG FREEZE OF 1987.

Post by flounder » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:28 am

Nathan wrote:It did get cold in Brighton too...

I have had a look on the Met Office database & the weather station called 'Brighton No.2', which was situated at the allotments in Whitehawk Hill Road, recorded the following maximum & minimum temperatures over the cold snap:

11/01/87 Max: 0.8C Min: -6.7C
12/01/87 Max: -4.3C Min: -10.8C
13/01/87 Max: -7.9C Min: -10.3C
14/01/87 Max: -5.5C Min: -8.9C
15/01/87 Max: -2.7C Min: -5.5C
I'd have thought double figure minimums would have stuck in my memory but I'm pretty sure I still drove to work in Portslade even with the snow. At the time I was living the other side of the Race Hill, about a mile and a half as the penguin flies from Whitehawk Hill Road
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