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March 1947 January 1947 February 1947 Summary
February 1947 produced some dramatic and extreme conditions, but March was to throw even more severe weather at us to include blizzard conditions, glazed ice, a gale, severe wind-chill and widespread flooding. The month began with relative calm, the 1st showing little more than scattered snow showers and almost 8 hours of bright sunshine. It did, however, remain bitterly cold with a day maximum of 2.2C and a night minimum of -6.1C, winds gusting to 30 knots producing severe wind chill somewhat ameliorating the effects of the bright sunshine! Both the 2nd and 3rd remained dry with quite widespread fog, the snow surface minimum on the 3rd falling to -12.2C under the clear skies. By the 4th a brisk NE wind heralded the arrival of heavy snow under blizzard conditions that brought level snow to a depth of 27cm and drifts as deep as 16 feet in places. Roads and railways again succumbed as snow piled in as fast as it was cleared. Further heavy snow falls occurred on the 5th bringing "level" snow to 42cm, this total being successively added to by further moderate to heavy falls from the 6th to the 9th. Most of the country was again at a standstill and wartime "bulldozers" were brought out in attempts to open roads to isolated towns and villages. It was the second week into March before my own village road was opened from Halesowen, and then only by cutting a single path. On the 12th freezing rain began to fall, coating everything in sheets of ice and making conditions treacherous putting a 5cm to 6cm layer of ice on top of the snow surface. Additional heavy glazing occurred on the 14th only to have a further layer of snow added after heavy snowfalls on the afternoon and evening of the 15th. Under these conditions the deep layer of snow was so solid that it was possible to walk on it's surface, which in many cases left one standing above hedgerows, fences and road signposts. The 16th saw a complete change with the daytime maximum rising to 8.3C after early morning fog. By late evening a full gale was blowing with gusts to 66 knots and almost 11 hours with mean speeds in excess of gale force. This was accompanied [fortunately] by rain, not snow, though anxiety now began to mount with the prospect of flooding if the thaw was rapid in view of the immense volume of snow around. Rain and fresh to strong winds continued until the 24th with well over 15 hours of gale force winds blowing. The rain ate into the lying snow and a change in the wind direction to a westerly quarter heralded much higher temperatures. By the 22nd these were peaking at 11.1C to be followed on the 28th and 29th with maxima of 12.2C, though 13 mm of rain fell on the 29th. Almost all of the main volume of lying snow had gone by the 21st aided by warm days, frost-free nights and ample rain. The last air frost occurred on the 15th and on the 16th over grass. However it was exceptionally wet, 36.3mm of rain falling over the final 10 days of the month. This, and the water resulting from the melting snow, caused widespread flooding along the river valleys, a fact mentioned regularly during the floods occurring the autumn before last. Mark Buttery [who I believe lives in Bewdley] would have been impressed to find that the river Severn floodwater reached the garage forecourt near the railway bridge over the A456 Birmingham-Bewdley road. The resulting flooding along the Severn and most other rivers was so severe that is set records which still stand today in many places. The 1947 winter was now well and truly over and March had added to the mass of statistics thrown up by this spell of quite amazing weather. The month saw it's warmest day on the 29th with a maximum of 12.2C, the coldest night being the 3rd with a minimum of -8.3C. The coldest day was the 5th with a maximum no higher than -1.7C whilst the warmest night saw a temperature of 8.9C on the 29th. The month ended with a mean maximum of 6.3C, a mean minimum of 0.7C and a mean daily of 3.5C. Snow or sleet fell on 13 days and snow lay on 19 days to a maximum depth of 42cm on the 6th. Frost occurred in the air on 15 occasions, and on the "ground" on 16, the lowest of the latter to -16.1C on the 7th. Rain totalled 151.7mm [a March total not exceeded to this day] with precipitation on 24days, 11 of which were "wetter" days [>=5mm]. Hail occurred on 3 days with fog at 09hr on 8 days. There was 1 gale though gale force gusts occurred on 9 days. Sunshine totalled 70.1 hours, the best day March 9th seeing 8.4 hours of sunshine. Sub- zero temperatures occurred in the air for a period around 48 hours, considerably down on the totals for January and February. Winds were in a westerly and easterly quarter on 14 days each. Freezing rain leading to glaze occurred twice. As this concludes the monthly analyses, the final article will summarise the 3 months, though it will not be a true reflection of the winter of 1947 as a season since this covers December 1946 and January and February 1947.