The log of Yorkshire’s coldest winter, 1947

Brian's original log book
Brian's original log book
Brian’s original log book

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.

Sunday, 26th
Still snowing, with wind blowing. Drifts in places.

Monday, 27th
Snowing heavily all day. At night, severe blizzards, causing drifts about 30 inches thick.

Tuesday 28th
Snowed again at night with blizzards and drifts.

Wednesday, 29th
The snow has bated. The causeways and roads have a thick layer of snow and ice. Cold during the night.

Thursday, 30th
Reported in the papers as the coldest day for two years. The causeways are very slippy.

Friday, 31st
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.

Sunday, 2nd
Snowing heavily again. Drifts in this district up to wall tops.

Monday, 3rd
Snowed all day. By now the snow is getting very thick and hard. Another layer of four inches.

Tuesday, 4th
It is reported the coldest day and the worst conditions since 1933. The roads are now very hard and bumpy.

Wednesday, 5th
Snowed all morning. On the main causeways and highways, it is knee deep.

Thursday, 6th
Still snowing. The roads in this area are covered with the waves of ice. Many villages in the Dales cut off.

Friday, 7th
Still snowing. The nights are getting very cold.

Saturday, 8th
Hasn’t snowed today. Temperatures around here are as low as 15°. All main roads leading from Yorkshire are now blocked.

Sunday, 9th
Snowing again. Drifts in Dales are now 18ft deep. Freezing at night.

Monday, 10th
Very heavy snow falls. Main roads which were cleared are now blocked again. The temperature was 33° at night.

Tuesday, 11th
Snow blocking railway lines. People without coal. Still very cold.

Wednesday, 12th
Snowing slightly. Firms in this district closing down owing to shortage of fuel. Very cold.

Thursday, 13th
Has not snowed today. Very cold. The town has no street light. Marsden’s fire soon lit up the town.

Friday, 14th
Hundreds of sheep on moors are dying owing to hunger. Farms being cut off for 12 days.

Saturday, 15th
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.

Sunday, 16th
Snowing again in morning, but fine rest of day. Very cold at night.

Monday, 17th
Weather not too bad, but very cold, with severe frost.

Tuesday, 18th
This morning, the sun broke through and started thawing a bit, but at night, it was cold and freezing with temperatures at 23°.

Wednesday, 19th
Frost this morning. The country has had no snow today, except for a slight shower in Manchester.

Thursday, 20th
Six inches of snow during the night. The sea and rivers now freezing. Leeds-Liverpool Canal frozen and the River Humber.

Friday, 21st
Snowed again. Very cold. The North Sea freezes.

Saturday, 22nd
Conditions are very bad. Fifty passengers in bus get stuck in drift. Trains getting stuck in drifts. Aeroplanes dropping food to stranded villages.

Sunday, 23rd
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.

Monday, 24th
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.

Tuesday, 25th
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.

Wednesday, 26th
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.

Thursday, 27th
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.

Friday, 28th
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.

Sunday, 2nd
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.

Monday, 3rd
Today was about one of the coldest days. All water and roads frozen up.

Tuesday, 4th
Still very cold. Slight thaw during afternoon. Turning very frosty again, with severe nights.

Wednesday, 5th
Snowed last night. About three inches and very cold all day. Started snowing again at teatime and continued all night. Stopped the next morning.

Thursday, 6th
Thawing a bit during day, but turning very cold at night and freezing making causeways and roads treacherous. Started snowing again tonight.

Friday, 7th
Snowing a bit again. Another four inches which piled up in a few hours. This blizzard just hit the West Riding.

Saturday, 8th
Last night there was another nine inches of snow. During the day, started to thaw with brilliant sunshine. Freezing a little bit by night.

Sunday, 9th
Snowed heavily again this morning. It has been at a standstill all day, with just a slight thaw. Snowing again tonight.

Monday, 10th
Thaw set in today, bringing drizzle and fog. Conditions under foot are very slippery and bad.

Tuesday, 11th
Weather at a standstill all day. Snowing again tonight. About two inches and freezing.

Wednesday, 12th
Thawing today, but started snowing at teatime. It continued until next morning.

Thursday, 13th
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.

Friday, 14th
Snowing slightly again, with very severe frost.

Saturday, 15th
Weather at a standstill. During evening started snowing again, about two inches. Roads very bad. The track road from Heckmondwike to Dewsbury impassable.

Sunday, 16th
Thawing rapidly. Shops and houses flooded. Heavy rain during afternoon. Freezing a little bit at night.

Monday, 17th
Thawing rapidly again with floods. Freezing slightly at night.

Tuesday, 18th
Thawing again today. The snow is going quickly again. Freezing slightly again tonight.

Wednesday, 19th
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.

Thursday, 20th
Thawing again today with rain. RAF dinghies and “ducks” helping stranded people.

Friday, 21st
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.

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