Top ten coldest recorded temperatures in the UK

16 10 2012

This lists the lowest temperatures recorded in separate cold spells since 1961.

  Date Station Area Temperature
1 10 January 1982 Braemar East Scotland -27.2 °C
1 30 December 1995 Altnaharra No 2 North Scotland -27.2 °C
3 13 December 1981 Shawbury Midlands -25.2 °C
4 13 January 1979 Carnwath West Scotland -24.6 °C
5 20 January 1984 Grantown-On-Spey East Scotland -23.6 °C
6 27 January 1985 Lagganlia North Scotland -23.4 °C
7 13 January 1987 Caldecott P Sta Midlands -23.3 °C
8 08 January 2010 Altnaharra No 2 North Scotland -22.3 °C
9 18 February 1960 Grantown-On-Spey East Scotland -22.2 °C
9 30 December 1961 Cannich North Scotland -22.2 °C
9 18 January 1963 Braemar East Scotland -22.2 °C
  • The lowest temp of -27.2 °C is shared between 30 December 1995 and 10 January 1982.
  • On the 10th January 1982, 26.1 °C was also recorded in Newport (Salop) in the Midlands.
  • January 1982 was the most widespread occurrence of temperatures below -20 °C.
  • Temperatures below -20 °C are much rarer for Wales, the coldest temperature recorded for Wales was -22.7°C in Corwen,  North Wales on 13 December 1981.
  • Temperatures below -20 °C are most common at stations in East Scotland followed by North Scotland and the Midlands in England.

More UK climate statistics on our website.


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4 responses

16 10 2012
Mick Penning

I’m so glad to see this information; I’ll tell you why. When I was a Taxi-Driver on Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station in the 1980s, there was one night (early evening onwards -which could have been the 09th January 1982) when the temperature suddenly began to drop rapidly.
By around 7pm-8pm the local Radio Station -’Radio Stoke’ issued an urgent warning telling the public to get home as soon as possible and not to make any journeys on whatever grounds as ‘All Emergency Services Were Being Withdrawn’.
The temperature continued to drop rapidly -so low that the trains were being cancelled from London Euston to Manchester (which call at Stoke Stn).
A blizzard had also began to rage and the snow was sticking and getting deeper by the minute; most of the taxi drivers were going off duty, heading for the safety of their homes.
At around 9pm, what I believe to be the last train to arrive from London eased into Stoke Station. The few taxi-drivers remaining -and facing those amazing extremes of weather conditions, among them myself, sat waiting for what seemed an eternity for the passengers to emerge out of the Station -hoping and praying to see a taxi waiting for them there on the taxi-rank on Station Road.
It must have been about 15 minutes before the first of about two dozen people came out ‘huddled together’ against the blizzard and freezing temperature.
The reason for the delay was told to us by the bedraggled and worried, but over grateful passengers. A ‘sheet of solid ice’ had built up as the train sped north though the blizzard and freezing night’s temperature, covering the entire train and all doors were ‘frozen solid’ -so badly that the Station Staff could only manage to ‘finally force open one door’, which of course meant that some passengers had to struggle with their luggage through several carriages in order to access this one door -which had become, de facto, ‘an emergency door’.
To round off the drama of that evening’s ‘weather experience’, when I got to within half a mile of my destination, with the four grateful passengers aboard my taxi, we came across a hill where the Council Snow-Plough was itself STUCK in a drift!
Don’t forget this was before the advent of the mobile ‘phone, and the small privately run taxi company that I was working for didn’t even provide the luxury of ‘radio contact’.
But fortunately for us, an -ex-cop suddenly arrived from nowhere in a 4-wheel drive Range Rover -equipped with tow-chain -and pulled us out of trouble and the four passengers transferred into his vehicle for the last half mile of their journey, while I turned round and followed my tracks back home.

The reason I say ‘I am glad to see this ‘evidence’ -is that when I tell people about it- no one seems to remember or worse, they think I am exaggerating.

17 10 2012
darrog

Also what would be interesting would be to know the coldest temps county by county – any possibility?

Yours

Darren Rogers

darrog@btinternet.com

The home of http://www.mauldsmeaburnweather.co.uk

“If ducks do slide at Hallowtide at Christmas they will swim, If ducks do swim at Hallowtide at Christmas they will slide.”

19 10 2012
rolandjupiter

Has the met office conducted much research into the 1987 Caldecott figure of -23.3? I only ask because the nearest stations i can find online data for of Wyton and Cottesmore recorded much higher minima; -13.8c and -15.5c respectively. I am aware that Caldecott suffers from frosting and actually averaged a higher frost incidence than Shawbury over the 1961-1990 period – however, a difference of 9 or 10c seems quite high – What was the figure for the weather station at Raunds on that night – i believe that station was also suseptible to harsh frosts. Thanks.

Also, it would be great if you could tell me of the English record low prior to 1981/82. A reading of -23.9c or -24.2c in either Ketton Northamptonshire or somewhere in Durham, maybe Houghall rings a bell. Thanks again.

19 10 2012
Dave Britton

All of the figures in the tables have been quality controlled by the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, and represent an accurate reflection of our current observational record. Individual all time records can be found at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/extremes/

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