2003-2004 PART 4:
SNOW TO SEA LEVEL- 25th-27th Feb 2004
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returned with a vengeance at the end of February 2004.
With a blocking area of high pressure running N-S up the
Atlantic to the west of the UK and Low Pressure close to
Norway, a classic Northerly outbreak developed, in which
the winds came in from the NNW round to NE, pulling
Arctic air southwards over the entire UK. If there is
enough of a NW component to such an airflow this can mean
snow for Wales, and that is exactly what occurred in this
The northerly came in behind a cold-front on the 24th and
cleared chilly, grey wet weather away to azure-blue skies
and incredible clarity - the hallmark of clean polar air.
By Wednesday the cold air flowing over warm seas had
picked up moisture to the extent that convective showers
of snow and hail began to affect Mid-Wales, with
brilliant sunshine in between...
.....making it feel like a Spring day in Cwm
Maethlion to the N of the Dyfi Valley, with
catkins waving about in the breeze.
Overnight, however, something more sinister was
brewing up in the shape of a frontal disturbance
to the NW of Scotland. This tracked southwards,
arriving in Machynlleth on Thursday morning, just
after 9am, when the snow began....
...at about 10.30 am I had a break from work and
set off up the Wylfa, a 250m hill overlooking the
valley and Machynlleth. Several centimetres of
snow had already fallen and it was coming down
heavily, bringing traffic to a crawl on the main
road and burying minor roads under a blanket of
...on the Wylfa the land had vanished apart from
odd clumps of reeds...
other side of the valley was lost in the
Machynlleth's famous clocktower getting a coating
as the snow continues and the roads get quieter
lunchtime 15cm of snow lay in the valley but it
was easing a little. I went for another walk,
this time down to Afon Dyfi. Deep powdery snow
covered the fields and everything took on a
wintery greyness. Throughout the snowfall there
had hardly been a breath of wind - so no drifting
- as seen by the calm river waters and reflected
...and as the
snow stopped the sun started to burn through the
thin cloud above. With blue skies visible to the
north it was time to head back to town and a
welcome pint of Guinness...
the beer garden at the White Lion was not the
best venue on this occasion. Their blazing log
fire was a better bet!
On Friday broken cloud, blue skies and an
improvement in road conditions prompted a foray
down to the coast, with its stunning backdrops.
Here is Craig-Yr-Aderyn and Cadair Idris from
is the Dyfi estuary, with snow down to sea-level!
the blue skies and sparkling water made it look
like as summer's day, except for one thing!! The
snowline is at the high-water mark and the tide
has been going out for an hour or two. Also note
in the distance a bank of cloud which was a line
of convective cumulonimbus, still giving snow but
out to sea. With more of a N to NE flow on the
Friday, the weather was pushed away from the
coast, so that snow showers were less
Snow to sea-level is rare on the normally
sea-warmed Cardigan Bay coast. Here, on the beach
between Aberdyfi and Tywyn, snow coats the
sand-dunes, shingle and driftwood. The sand and
surf can be seen R, with the hills behind Borth
in the distance. What a sight!
On Friday night a further 3cm of snow fell and
then clear skies and sunshine set to and
evaporated it away on south-facing slopes.
North-facing areas, in contrast, still had 4-10cm
of lying snow early the following week. This was
a significant weather event by local standards.
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