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February 2009

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February 2009

Post by LeeUK » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:08 pm

The snowfall across the British Isles in February 2009 was a prolonged period of snowfall that began on 1st February 2009. Some areas experienced their largest snowfall levels in 18 years. Snow fell over much of Western Europe. The United Kingdom's Met Office and Ireland's Met Éireann issued severe weather warnings in anticipation of the snowfall. More than 30 cms of snow fell on parts of the North Downs and over 20 cms in parts of the London area. On the morning of 6th February the majority of Great Britain and Ireland had snow cover, with the area surrounding the Bristol Channel and South West England being most affected. 55 cms had settled overnight around Okehampton, Devon, South West England with similar depths in South Wales. In Ireland the highest totals were recorded around East Kildare and Wicklow County's were up to 28 cms fell around Naas Co Kildare and even more along the Wicklow Mountains. The last time such widespread snowfall affected Britain was in February 1991. On the 2nd a total of 32 cms had fallen in Leatherhead, Surrey just south of the M25. Also 30 cms had fallen over the South Downs and 26 cms in higher areas of Brighton.


On 2nd February, all London buses were removed from service and there were severe delays on London Underground. All train services on Southeastern railway services between London, Kent and East Sussex were cancelled, as were those on Southern. South West Trains operated an emergency timetable with reduced service. Severe disruption occurred on First Capital Connect services, c2c services, First Great Western services, National Express East Anglia and Eurostar services from St Pancras International. Dublin Bus routes were also severely disrupted. All bus services in Brighton, Crawley and Royal Tunbridge Wells had been severely disrupted.

Heathrow Airport was closed and British Airways cancelled all departures for a period. London City, Luton, Aberdeen, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham and Southampton were also affected. The Gatwick Express railway service was suspended. In Ireland on 5th February Dublin Airport was closed for a period to allow snow to be cleared from the runways, delaying flights. Flights at the airport were cancelled the following day.

Other effects included lost work time and disruption to education. Costs, mainly in terms of lost work time, are estimated to amount to around £1.2 billion, although this may be underestimated. The adverse weather conditions caused schools in some areas of the United Kingdom to close during 2nd, 3rd and 5th February in the Midlands.

A winter storm swept across the south of England on 9th and 10th February bringing heavy rain and snow, which caused flooding in southern England. In France, Paris's Charles de Gaulle International Airport was closed. In Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands, a temperature of −18.4°C was recorded; the lowest temperature recorded in the UK since 2003.


The maximum depth of the event was 55 cms in Okehampton, Devon on 6th February. Other high amounts were Drybrook, Gloucestershire which had on 2nd February 32 cms reported in Leatherhead, 28 cms in Purley, 25 cms in Croydon, 20 cms in Greater London, 30 ms on the South Downs, 18 cms in Brighton and 26 cms on higher areas of Brighton.

On 9th February, heavy rain and melting snow caused flooding in southern England, exacerbated by high tides which trapped water in river systems. Heavy snow and floods closed roads in Cornwall, Devon, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Hampshire and Sussex. Areas of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire endured power cuts because of damage caused by the weight of snow on equipment or trees falling onto power lines. In Somerset, 20 people were rescued from their cars in Taunton and Yeovil because of floods, and rivers burst their banks

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