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?
Though cloud is now coming over and there’s been the odd flurry this afternoon, much of Wednesday was an amazing winter’s day with blazing sunshine, with cold crisp snow on the ground and a lunch time temperature of -5c in the city centre of Inverness.
Today marks the 21st day, 3 full weeks, of lying snow at just 15m above sea level near to the city centre in Inverness. While people can remember deeper snow or colder temperatures what is setting this cold spell apart is it’s persistence.
If the forecast models are correct, we should pass the one month of lying snow in Inverness mark next week, I can’t recall snow lying so long at such low levels with no significant thaw? Tarmac has not been seen on my street since before Christmas, when people were wondering could the snow possibly hang around long enough for a White Christmas?
Inverness was one of those places that caught some snow showers on Christmas Day itself, making it truly a White Christmas in every sense. A robin is sitting hopefully out the back for more bread.
Every office across the land that has at least one skier or boarder will no doubt have seen productivity drop and bandwidth use rocket today! Snow falling on the webcams at the start of the first significant cold snap of the autumn, yes there was some snow last week and at the start of the Month, but this week things are ramping up another level!
There are weather warnings out from the Met Office for Tuesday, lots of chatter in the weather forums and a real buzz is building. Fellow skiers and boarders… winter is getting closer and for the fist time this new season, the slats on the Ski Club hut’s decks have vanished beneath fresh fluffy snow!
SSC Hut Balcony slats vanish under the snow for the first time this season!
October has marked it’s arrival with the first Snows of the upcoming winter, as a Northerly Plunge sends temperatures diving. Thursday saw the first reasonable covering of snow on the higher tops of the Cairngorms, and there’s also a smattering on the tops in the West.
It all add’s to the excitement and anticipation at the season ahead, but don’t get too carried away just yet – winter proper is officially 11 weeks away yet, that said it’s another sign of the seasons unstoppable march back to winter.
The past two seasons started the last weekend of November (2006/07) and first weekend of December (2007/08) on CairnGorm Mountain with lasting snow, though cover became more limited in the run up and around Christmas both years.
You can now watch how things are shaping up this autumn with our mid-mountain webcams and live weather real-time weather station on CairnGorm Mountain which are now back online following completion of the reinstatement works to flood damage on the hill road (which necessitated the switch off of the power supply for safety). Our cams and AWS are situated in the Scottish Ski Club Hut at 2500ft near the foot of the White Lady.
CairnGorm Mountain has also installed an automatic weather station and two new webcams for the new season, these can be viewed at www.cairngormmountain.com/web-cam and the AWS is located just under 1000ft above the SSC one at the Tunnel Mouth.
The First Snow at the Mid-Station:
See also Pix from the Slopes for a couple of photos from up top on Thursday 2nd October.