The 10 worst British winters ever

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Just how bad would things have to get for 2013 to be included among the very worst winters in our history?

Britain is set to see the first low-level snow of the year this week as bitter arctic winds bring plummeting temperatures accompanied by rain, sleet and snow.

Homes in northern Scotland will be the first battered by freezing temperatures as mercury plummets below the seasonal average, forecasters have warned. The icy weather is set to move south into

The arrival of winter heralds the usual dire predictions of what the coming months might hold weather-wise.

Some of the predictions are even suggesting that this winter could be among the worst that Britain has ever seen.

'The worst winter in decades set to hit Britain within days', declared one Sunday paper yesterday - above the subhead: 'Panicked Brits are stocking up ready for next week's predicted super-freeze.'

Click here or on the above gallery to see our countdown of Britain's worst winters.

Meanwhile that bastion of conservative forecasting, the Met Office, has sought to play down concerns regarding an impending 'Snowmaggeddon', explaining calmly that a bit of snow at the end of November into December is not unusual.

Yes, temperatures may be slightly lower than the seasonal average, but there's no indication that Britain is facing a particularly shivery winter ahead.

All this raises the question of quite how bad things would have to get for Britain to really experience one of its worst winters ever. The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is extremely bad.

In recent years Britain has seen its fair share of snow, but nothing to really compare with the awful winters of the past.

Perhaps the last example of a really landmark awful winter was the December of 1978 and early months of 1979.

Memorable as the winter of discontent for political reasons it was also the coldest winter since the famous 'big freeze' of 1962-63.

The run up to 1978 had, rather like this year, been mild and dry in November - up until around the 24th of the month.

It was then that a cold north westerly weather pattern hit the UK, as the low pressure front progressed north the winds changed bringing a cold wind that brought with it snow showers and blizzards. As 1979 began the country was engulfed by blizzards and deep snow.

Despite its massive impact on the UK the weather system of 1978-1979 still only wins a mid-table 6th place in our worst winters of all time list. If you want to see the rest click on the gallery above.

Be warned though - you might want to put the kettle on first and stick your mittens on the radiator...

Click here or on the above gallery to see our countdown of Britain's worst winters.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Arts and Entertainment
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...

Primary teachers required for schools in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

£18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style