As a teenage boy, Brian Wood, formerly of Heckmondwike, kept a complete weather log of the Arctic conditions between 25 January and 21 March 1947. An extract is featured in the March 2017 issue of Down Your Way, and you can read the complete log below.
Saturday, 25th Jan 1947
Started snowing tonight. Very thick.
Still snowing, with wind blowing. Drifts in places.
Snowing heavily all day. At night, severe blizzards, causing drifts about 30 inches thick.
Snowed again at night with blizzards and drifts.
The snow has bated. The causeways and roads have a thick layer of snow and ice. Cold during the night.
Reported in the papers as the coldest day for two years. The causeways are very slippy.
The snow is still very hard, with the thermometer below freezing.
Saturday, 1st February
The snow still very hard and slippery. Snowing again at night.
Snowing heavily again. Drifts in this district up to wall tops.
Snowed all day. By now the snow is getting very thick and hard. Another layer of four inches.
It is reported the coldest day and the worst conditions since 1933. The roads are now very hard and bumpy.
Snowed all morning. On the main causeways and highways, it is knee deep.
Still snowing. The roads in this area are covered with the waves of ice. Many villages in the Dales cut off.
Still snowing. The nights are getting very cold.
Hasn’t snowed today. Temperatures around here are as low as 15°. All main roads leading from Yorkshire are now blocked.
Snowing again. Drifts in Dales are now 18ft deep. Freezing at night.
Very heavy snow falls. Main roads which were cleared are now blocked again. The temperature was 33° at night.
Snow blocking railway lines. People without coal. Still very cold.
Snowing slightly. Firms in this district closing down owing to shortage of fuel. Very cold.
Has not snowed today. Very cold. The town has no street light. Marsden’s fire soon lit up the town.
Hundreds of sheep on moors are dying owing to hunger. Farms being cut off for 12 days.
Conditions still bad. Traffic is running on a layer of ice, five inches thick. Leeds has used 10,000 tons of salt and sand to make the roads safe.
Snowing again in morning, but fine rest of day. Very cold at night.
Weather not too bad, but very cold, with severe frost.
This morning, the sun broke through and started thawing a bit, but at night, it was cold and freezing with temperatures at 23°.
Frost this morning. The country has had no snow today, except for a slight shower in Manchester.
Six inches of snow during the night. The sea and rivers now freezing. Leeds-Liverpool Canal frozen and the River Humber.
Snowed again. Very cold. The North Sea freezes.
Conditions are very bad. Fifty passengers in bus get stuck in drift. Trains getting stuck in drifts. Aeroplanes dropping food to stranded villages.
Some places had nine hours of sunshine, but at night temperatures fell heavily. Here it went down from 35.8 degrees to 23 degrees. The sun shone for the first time in three weeks in London. This is the longest sunless spell in London since 1880.
West Riding colder than Moscow. Yorkshire shivered. One of the coldest spells in living memory. 30.2 degrees last night. No snow. Today very cold. Windy.
The anticyclone which circled over Russia is now over England. Mist and cold wind; no snow. Tonight has been very cold with hard frost and snow.
Snowed all last night. Another five inches with occasional drifts. Villages cut off again. Transport held up. Great thaw set in this morning. Freezing by night. Roads and causeways treacherous. Worst day for railways.
Yorkshire continues its Arctic winter. Thaw set in again this morning. Freezing by night. More snow forecast. Railways still blocked. Road traffic moving more freely.
Snowing all morning again. About another four inches in blizzard form. Very cold again. A bit misty. Using jet engines to clear railway lines.
Saturday, 1st March
Bright sunshine most of day. Thawing in sun, but freezing elsewhere. Blizzards lashed the East Coast with a 40mph gale. One foot of snow in one hour. Freezing all night.
Very cold with bright sunshine. Thawing rapidly in the sun. The blizzard on the East Coast yesterday cut all seaside towns off. It has been the worst case of blizzards since 1917.
Today was about one of the coldest days. All water and roads frozen up.
Still very cold. Slight thaw during afternoon. Turning very frosty again, with severe nights.
Snowed last night. About three inches and very cold all day. Started snowing again at teatime and continued all night. Stopped the next morning.
Thawing a bit during day, but turning very cold at night and freezing making causeways and roads treacherous. Started snowing again tonight.
Snowing a bit again. Another four inches which piled up in a few hours. This blizzard just hit the West Riding.
Last night there was another nine inches of snow. During the day, started to thaw with brilliant sunshine. Freezing a little bit by night.
Snowed heavily again this morning. It has been at a standstill all day, with just a slight thaw. Snowing again tonight.
Thaw set in today, bringing drizzle and fog. Conditions under foot are very slippery and bad.
Weather at a standstill all day. Snowing again tonight. About two inches and freezing.
Thawing today, but started snowing at teatime. It continued until next morning.
Snow about four inches thick from last night’s snow storms. Conditions very bad. Thousands of sheep dying on moors. Started thawing again during day, with heavy rain.
Snowing slightly again, with very severe frost.
Weather at a standstill. During evening started snowing again, about two inches. Roads very bad. The track road from Heckmondwike to Dewsbury impassable.
Thawing rapidly. Shops and houses flooded. Heavy rain during afternoon. Freezing a little bit at night.
Thawing rapidly again with floods. Freezing slightly at night.
Thawing again today. The snow is going quickly again. Freezing slightly again tonight.
Very quick thaw with further heavy rain. Floods are now spreading over Yorkshire. Affected mostly is the West Riding, Doncaster, Bentley and York. The Fenland is covered with floods. River Thames is now four miles wide.
Thawing again today with rain. RAF dinghies and “ducks” helping stranded people.
Rain fell heavily today. Flood positioned has now worsened. The River Don burst its banks and imperilled another 2,500 acres. All rivers now swelling rapidly.