Flashback to 2010: Snowy Shropshire in a rare white Christmas

We rewind to a rare white Christmas back in 2010.

A picture postcard scene in Ironbridge on December 21, 2010.
A picture postcard scene in Ironbridge on December 21, 2010.

Christmas cards feature snow. All those Christmas adverts on the telly feature snow. And any self-respecting Christmas movie will be set amid snowy scenes.

But here's the thing... it's a bit of a big fib. Because having snow at Christmas is not that common, and if all the theories of global warming are proven right will become so rare that for our grandchildren a white Christmas will be something of story books and not of reality.

So let's have a wallow in the snow and turn back the clock 10 years to December 2010 when not only was there lots of snow about, but it was the last widespread white Christmas in the UK.

For the facts, we turn to the Met Office: "There has only been a widespread covering of snow on the ground (where more than 40 per cent of stations in the UK reported snow on the ground at 9am) four times since 1960 – in 1981, 1995, 2009 and 2010.

It's snow use for these volunteers at Telford United's ground as they battle in vain to salvage a pre-Christmas tie against Fleetwood – although they cleared much of the pitch, some players and team manager Andy Sinton got stuck in the snow and the tie was called off.

"The last widespread white Christmas in the UK was in 2010. It was extremely unusual, as not only was there snow on the ground at 83 per cent of stations (the highest amount ever recorded) but snow or sleet also fell at 19 per cent of stations.

"We also had a white Christmas in 2009, when 13 per cent of stations recorded snow or sleet falling, and 57 per cent reported snow lying on the ground.

"Technically, 2017 was the last white Christmas in the UK, with 11 per cent of weather stations recording snow falling. However, none reported any snow lying on the ground."

Locally, the lead-up to Shropshire's white Christmas started as early as November when overnight on the 27th and 28th there was what was said to be the earliest widespread snow nationally for 17 years. The temperature at Shawbury plunged to minus 13.5C (8F).

There was more snow on the way (as all the best winter headlines proclaim). Snow fell in Shropshire overnight on November 29/30 and more fell during the day.

Here's a December timeline – December 1: More snow fell in Shropshire as the freeze continued. December 3: Overnight temperatures in Shropshire and Mid Wales dropped during the night of December 2/3 to minus 14C in places. December 7: The big freeze continued, with an overnight temperature recorded at Shawbury of 10C.

On Saturday, December 18, renewed snowfall heralded a new spell of severe weather with flights and travel plans affected. Hundreds of motorists were stranded on the M6 in Greater Manchester. Temperatures at Shawbury fell to minus 18C, which is 0F.

A picturesque winter scene in Wellington which saw residents busy clearing snow from their driveways on December 22, 2010.

It was difficult even for Santa. Santa Safaris at Hawkstone Park Follies were cancelled, although there were still rides through the winter wonderland where youngsters got to meet him. One couple being married in a country chapel near Telford were wed in their wellington boots amid about eight inches of snow.

There was more heavy snow in parts of the county overnight on December 21/22, accompanied by sub-zero temperatures, and snow ploughs were out across the region. Nationally Heathrow Airport was trying to clear a backlog of thousands of stranded passengers, many of whom had spent uncomfortable nights in the terminals.

There was an element of intrigue when strange footprints were spotted in the snow around the Quantum Leap sculpture in Shrewsbury. The prints went around the garden and under the sculpture before appearing to jump over a wall.

Scores of people were out sledging on the hill behind Roman Road Sports Centre in Shrewsbury on December 19.

A reader who photographed them said they looked like those of a robot or a predator, and people had been laughing and pointing at the prints which were assumed to be the work of some prankster.

The big freeze continued on Christmas Eve with lying snow and daytime sub-zero temperatures. Ground staff were joined by 60 volunteer fans in a tireless effort at the Greenhous Meadow to clear the pitch of snow for Shrewsbury Town's Boxing Day promotion showdown with Bury. Sadly it was to no avail as when covers were peeled off for an inspection on the morning of the match the pitch froze over again within minutes.

And Christmas Day brought that magical scene of lying snow in Shropshire, although none actually fell. The temperature recorded at Shawbury overnight on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day was minus 16C (3F).

December 27 saw the start of a slow thaw. Later the Met Office reported that it had been the coldest December since records began in 1910, and for central England was the second coldest December since 1659.

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