Short Memories – Snowmageddon 2018

There seems to be a memory issue these days.. and it’s not mine.. except short-term!

For some reason when it comes to issues with the weather, everyone seems to forget what it was like just a few years ago when making comparisons with the recent cold snap. I appreciate that comparisons are sometimes notoriously difficult simply because the nature of cold weather in this country rarely means that not everywhere is subjected to the same conditions, be that wind strength, temperature, depth of snow or whether everything gets coated in ice or not.

I have just spent half an hour or so going through some of my old photographs of wintry conditions during the time that we lived in Biggin Hill, the next-door village to that notorious high/cold spot of Tatsfield right on the L.B. of Bromley/Kent and Surrey border. At around 185m (Biggin) and just over 200 metres (Tatsfield), despite being mere pimples in the grand scheme of things, there is nothing higher between them and the the Ural Mountains in Russia in a N.E.’ly direction, if there is any wintry weather going then both places cop it, even if literally just a couple of miles away down in Westerham Village, Bromley’s Farnborough Common or in Hayes Village, it’s at least 2C warmer with probably no snow at all.

We now live in Margate where freezing conditions with snow are a definite rarity. Although only really familiar with the area for the past 6 years, in that time although in the first three months of 2013 there was a prolonged period of cold N.E. winds, we have rarely had a frost, let alone any snow and ice on the ground. Locals here can only make serious comparisons with the time that the sea last froze way back in 1963, 1987 and 1947. This year, however, has been very different with both cold winds, albeit initially mainly NW’ly, and quite a few night-time frosts in advance of the Beast from the East’s arrival in late February. This year has seen a 2-3 inch covering of snow drifting quite badly in the Easterly winds and very low temperatures (for here) of about -5C on March 1st . Although a ‘fake’ film which purports to show sea-ice in ‘Margate’ has been doing the rounds on YouTube, even if it is *a* Margate in the world (there are several), it wasn’t this one! However, along with genuine news photos seen of Weston-super-Mare beach, Bembridge Harbour on the Isle of Wight, Leysdown on Sheppey and Herne Bay, we got pretty close to a repeat performance of 1963 on the night of February 28th-March 1st 2018. This was the local experience on the 28th…


Margate Main Sands, 28/2/18


Westbrook Bay, 28/2/18


Royal Esplanade, St. Mildred’s end, 28/2/18
The Margate Black ‘Run’ prepped!


Margate Main Sands, 1/3/18, Copyright John L. Horton


Margate Main Sands, 1/3/18
A Bird in the Snand is worth 100 in a Bush!
Copyright John L. Horton

March 2nd saw a rarity around 10am.. freezing rain. Normally if this occurs it falls when things are starting to warm up, but this time it was too cold, and having fallen and frozen, it then hung around for the rest of the day, followed by some more, albeit light snow on top.

By Saturday, 3rd, although remaining below freezing all night, the forecast thaw did set in, and after only a few hours, most of the lying snow had melted apart from a few drifts in sheltered spots which hung around in to the Sunday when some proper rain hastened its complete disappearance.


To return to the subject of memory again, and the Biggin and Tatsfield story, for historical reasons locals in these places think they must have the worst of the weather.. every time. This time, at least from all the published photos I have seen, the depth of lying snow has not been as great as many other places in S.E. Kent, such as around Ashford, Tunbridge Wells and the Medway Towns, even Margate! It is true that spin-drift off the fields and Airport runway…


Main Road, Biggin Hill Airport Runway, 2/3/18
Copyright LBHA

have done their worst and created difficult conditions on some roads, but it wasn’t like the snows of 2009, late 2010-11 and even 2013 as indicated in the photos that I have posted below.. a mere 5-9 years ago!

Awful picture of deepest drift

Proper snow 2/12/10.. drifted here on Main Road, but…

Must be 2' here!

… everywhere it was about 12-18″ deep!

Another problem!

Going nowhere that day.. certainly not to New Cross! Snow Day!

Nearly safe!

Dylan wasn’t a small dog either.. Carman (a Daxie) would have been lost in it!

I think this is the stop!

Things starting to move the next day.. and some sunshine. 3/12/10


3 years later – snow again around the back of the Airport, 12/2/13


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