Home Page
Halesowen Winter 1947 Summary January February March
The three months of January to March 1947 [ a period of 90 days ] represented one of the most severe spells of weather encountered in this country for very many years, possibly since the 17th century. Not only was there searing cold, but also exceptionally heavy falls of snow. Totalling the "fresh" falls over the three months gives a total fall of 210cm, or around 6 feet! Awesome falls indeed for the U.K. The deepest "level" snow on any day amounted to 42cm on the 6th March, just prior to the thaw, though in such places as road and rail cuttings, and on high ground, drifts extended up to, and in cases over, 16 feet. Over the period the heaviest single fall amounted to 17cm on 12th March during a final blizzard accompanied by glazed ice. In all snow lay on 60 days, which, compared with the 1971 to 200 "winter" means shows an anomaly of +50.6. To enable comparisons I will give the 1971-2000 winter means in square brackets [--] in the remainder of this article. Falls of snow or sleet occurred on 48 days [+33.6] and hail on 12 [+9.4} whilst the period produced 55 frosts in the air [+24.2] the worst to -10.0C [-2.5C] on the 25th February. On the ground there were 68 frosts [+16.9] falling as low as -20.0C also on the 25th February [-8.4C]. Sub-zero temperatures occurred over 32 days to a total time in excess of 768 hours of frost, the longest spell of continuous frost being from the 11th February to the 23rd February, a total in excess of 320 hours Over the three months the maximum temperature in the air reached a high of 12.8C on the 29th March [-0.8C], the coldest day being the 25th February when the temperature in the air climbed no higher than -5.6C [-5.2C]. For the entire spell the mean maximum ended at 3.2C [-3.8C], the mean minimum at -1.5C [-2.8C] and the mean daily at 0.9C [-3.2C], low values indeed! However, the earth temperatures fared better with the mean 30cm standing at 4.2C [-0.6C] and the mean 100cm 6.2C [-0.5C], both figures held up by the insulating properties of the deep layer of snow. Total precipitation amounted to 277.4mm [+81.3mm} with a maximum daily fall of 18.1mm on the 5th March [-4.4mm]. Mean sea level pressure peaked at 1044.4mb on the 28th January with the lowest of 992.2mb on the 2nd February, the period averaging to 1016.1mb [+1.7mb}. Precipitation occurred on 67 days [+17.4] of which 47 were "wet" {>=1mm} [+11.5} and 18 "wetter" {>=5mm} [+4.2]. Fog at 09 hr occurred on 12 days [+2.5} though it was very prevalent during daytime as no smokeless zones had then been declared. One gale blew on the 16th March with gusts to 66 knots and gusts to gale force were noted on 21 days, these figures well illustrating the problems which were encountered both with severe wind-chill and blowing snow re-filling all freshly cleared roads and railways. Sunshine over this period amounted to 131.3 hours [-29hr] with 47 totally sunless days [+11.9], the sunniest day being the 9th March with 8.4 hours of bright sunshine [+0.2hr]. The entire severe spell had lasted 57 days, 60 if we include the initial short spell at the start of January. Since I have highlighted many of the major problems experienced by the population during this spell of severe weather in the accounts of the individual months, it would be invidious to repeat them again here.

Well, that ends this rather detailed look at the winter of 1947 seen entirely through my own eyes with comments made where it thought likely to enhance the data being quoted. I do hope that this has proved of some interest, especially to those who were not born at the time, or were too young to "appreciate" the conditions.