The Ice Storm, January 1940

Eric did not complete an entry in his diary over the next few days, presumably due to illness and possibly as a result of the intense cold weather which Britain experienced from 26th - 31st January 1940, which culminated in unprecedented snow and ice storms.

January 1940 had already been exceptionally cold - only the January of 1838 had recorded lower temperatures - and as Eric's previous diary entries have shown, snow fell heavily and frequently throughout the month. The collision of two weather systems from the 26th January led to the whole country experiencing severe snow storms until the end of the month whilst an area from the South Coast to North Wales endured an ice storm. Temperatures were so low that rain froze as it fell, coating everything in a thick layer of ice and bringing down telephone wires, power lines and trees as well as causing many animals and birds to perish as their fur or feathers became encased in ice.

Under these conditions, Britain's transport network, commercial operations and military preparations were paralysed for a week. The severity of the storms was not publicised in the press until six weeks later so that enemy forces would not learn that Britain had been brought to a standstill by the weather conditions.

(Notes taken from a 'Weather Eye' report: 'The Ice Storm that Britain Hid from Hitler' by meteorologist, Philip Eden, dated 31/12/98).


Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying reading these diary entries. I'm also following George Orwell's diary.

E J Rudsdale said...

Many thanks for your kind comments on Eric's diary. I'm delighted to hear you are following George Orwell's wartime diary too - I find the comparisons and contrasts between the two accounts are fascinating. CP