1950

In 1950 there was a late snow storm in April, and a notable June heatwave - although the rest of the summer was pretty grim. Once in a blue moon ... our last, in September. A wet autumn and winter, and a rare snowy December.

January. Very dry, except in the NW. The south averaged less than 25 mm of rain. It was also a dull month. The month had a very mild first half, with 16C recorded at Aber (North Wales) on the 9th.

February. Mild and very wet, with flooding, particularly in England and Wales. Falmouth recorded 236 mm of rain, and Croydon 121 mm.

March. Very mild, and mostly dry. There was a warm sunny spell in the first week, with 19C recorded in parts of England on the 5th.

April. Cool (7.6C CET) and wet. Good Friday (7th) was warm and sunny, with some places seeing temperatures well over 15C, although the rest of the Easter holiday was unsettled; it was cold and stormy on the 9-10th. There was a downpour of 49 mm at Pontefract on the 13th. Cold air spread south on the 25th, bringing some light snow. As a depression moved east across the Channel, there was heavy snowfall in low temperatures, combined with gales on the 26th, which caused widespread disruption south of the Thames. Heavy winds and wet snow caused widespread traffic disruption and brought many telephone and electricity lines down. 15 cm of snow lay from Salisbury to Faversham. As the temperature was slightly above freezing, the snow was wet, which as we all know is the worst sort for disruption. The precipitation started as rain, turned to sleet, then snow, and then started to lay. In Farnham and Camberley large beech trees in leaf were brought down by the weight of snow; in Guildford 11,000 lines were affected. There were snow showers further north and some notable frosts: it was -8.3C at Dalwhinnie early on the 25th. The last few days of the month were much more mild. This was the first beneath-average-temperature April since 1941. It was however quite a sunny month in parts of the SW.

May. There were some violent thunderstorms, with large hail, in the Midlands. In particular there was a famous destructive tornado early on the warm Sunday morning of the 21st extending at least 66 miles, from Little London in Buckinghamshire to the Coveney in the Cambridgeshire Fens, with heavy rain and large hail. Many roofs and trees were damaged in Wendover. At Linslade (Bucks.), the dark column was reported as 50 yards wide in places, but just 5 yards in others. Trees were uprooted or had their tops twisted off, rooFs were lost, vehicles were thrown in the air. A double decker bus was overturned in Ely. The tornado was preceded by very heavy rain and a violent thunderstorm. 56 mm of rain fell at Peterborough. This is the longest tornado trail on record in this country, and at 2.5 hours, the longest lasting recorded in Europe. At Coveney the tornado lifted to become a funnel cloud, where it was observed until Shipham in Norfolk. Three tornadoes were observed that day, in conditions that were very favourable to tornado development. Drier than average overall, sunny in the west and dull in the east.

June. A mini-heatwave on the 6th and 7th: 33.3 on the 6th in London; 32.8C in Hull and 31.1 in Glasgow on the 7th. Remarkable. A good month overall, being one of the warmest Junes of the century. Flooding in Wadebridge and Camelford.

July. Wet and unsettled in the south, drier in the north. A sunny month in Scotland. On the 10th, 3000 ducklings were killed by hail at Illington (Norfolk).

August. Wet and unsettled.

September. Cool, dull, and very wet: the wettest of the century across Scotland (261mm) and Northern Ireland. There were gales on the 6th. The last blue was moon noted in Britain, on the 26th, caused by smoke from forest fires in Alberta (Canada) carried by strong high-level winds; the sky turned white and the sun blue.

October. A warm start and cold end. Doncaster reached 23C on the 5th; yet there was snow in Bedfordshire on the 27th. There was widespread fog on the 31st.

November. A very wet month, with 114 mm of rain at Kew and 229 mm (9") at Penzance.

December. Very cold (1.2C CET), with several snowy spells. On the 4th, there were 50 cm at Dalwhinnie and 15 cm at Manchester. The south was hit later in the month; 25 cms at Bournemouth and 37 cm at the Isle of Wight. Wide areas of the country were snow-covered for more than a fortnight in total.


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