Coldest Winter?

Wednesday 3rd February will mark another significant milestone in winter 2009/10, seven weeks of consecutive snow lie at even relatively low altitudes in places such as Aviemore. Indeed even here in Central Inverness, you need to go back the same 7 weeks to find a time when the immediate surrounds has been completely snow free and there is a light dusting of fresh this evening as well.

At least some patches of snow on the ground for 7 weeks at ~10m above sea level in Inverness… 7 days of snow lie is quite rare consecutively for low levels!

It’s now officially the coldest December and January period for Scotland as a whole since Scotland wide records begun in 1914. What about the Coldest Winter? Well we’re still a good bit short of the coldest recorded 2 month period and February would need to make the festive period look quite benign to get close the coldest winter record.

However, could this be the fabled Hale Winter everyone was talking about 2 or 3 years ago?

Fresh Snow in Aviemore.

Fresh Snow in Aviemore.

Slow thaw, but Inverness stays white.

While a thaw is now affecting many lower parts of Scotland there is certainly no thaw in the hills and only the slightest one away from Coastal areas.

The blanket of snow outside remains complete here next to the centre of Inverness, the street  a tarmac free zone since before Christmas Eve. Wednesday morning saw the snow notch up another milestone, 4 weeks of consecutive snow lie at not quite 10m ASL in Inverness.

Stop and think about that, it’s really quite hard to grasp in a way, but when the slow thaw becomes a faster thaw and eventually the snow is gone from low ground, it’s actually going to seem kinda weird.¬† The lack of wind for the main part of this cold spell prevented the spell reaching the severity of the ’79 and it’s still far to early to tell if the winter will go the way of a 1963. Never the less it has been a remarkable spell of weather, the three weeks of ever improving conditions that by Friday 8th had moved from epic to pretty much historical on CairnGorm Mountain had been achieved without a day lost to weather.

How that has changed since the weekend, ferocious winds coupled with 185cm of straight down snow fall still lying loose and unconsolidated means the drifting and extent of the snow redistribution on CairnGorm Mountain has been simply phenomenal, with long stretches of the down road from Coire Cas under 13ft of snow. The depth may not beat any Ski Road records, but the sheer extent of the road under such depths seems to be up there, with even the snowblower overwhelmed. Such drifting has not been restricted to the high mountains, above about 1000ft (lower in places) the snow is still loose to drift with all roads across the Dava Moor choked with snow this evening and traffic on the A9 being convoyed over Drumochter at times during Wednesday.

Can anoyone remember a longer spell of low level snow in the Inverness Area?