From deep snow to storms and flash flooding: Norfolk weather in 2021

Flooding at the Day Boat Hire in Potter Heigham caused by high waters from the River Thurne. Picture

This year Norfolk's weather saw flash floods and deep snow. - Credit: Danielle Booden

From deep snow to flash floods, Dan Holley takes a look back at some of the more significant weather events in Norfolk during 2021.

After the Christmas floods of 2020, January 2021 continued to provide spells of heavy rain at times, with a smattering of snow mid-month.

Rain and strong winds hit Norfolk after the May bank holiday.

Rain and strong winds hit Norfolk after the May bank holiday. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Snow and low temperatures dominated the headlines during early February, as cold easterly winds delivered frequent North Sea snow showers across portions of East Anglia.

As much as 30cm accumulated locally, with drifts several feet deep – resulting in the deepest snow in north-central Norfolk since January 1987.

Bus and train services were cancelled, and many schools and COVID-19 vaccination centres were forced to close. The temperature fell as low as -9.7°C at Marham (west Norfolk) early on February 11.

Rather unusually, the highest temperature of the whole spring was actually recorded on the last day of March, 23.9°C at Weybourne.

April was dominated by high pressure and cold northerly winds, bringing wintry showers on Easter Monday.

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It was the coldest April in the region since 1986, with the highest number of air frosts on record. It was also a remarkably dry month, with only 11pc of the normal rainfall. That said, there was plenty of sunshine, ending as the fifth sunniest April on record.

Wymondham Abbey in the snow. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Snow at Wymondham church in February 2021. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

May was generally rather cold, cloudy and wet, with frequent showers – some with hail and thunder. However, the last few days of May into early June – coinciding with half term for many schools – offered a reasonable amount of dry and increasingly warm weather as temperatures climbed to 26°C.

Thunderstorms affected the east coast during the night of the June 16 to17.

Several flash floods occurred in July due to slow-moving torrential downpours.

Parts of Norwich experienced flooding on July 9 as nearly a month’s worth of rain fell in just a couple of hours.

Later in the month, in the midst of a heatwave, parts of northwest Essex were particularly badly affected by flooding and hail up to 4cm in diameter as severe thunderstorms moved through the area on the 20th.

Other thunderstorms in west Norfolk also produced hail and power cuts in the area.

A few days later on July 25, over 180mm of rain fell in two hours at Brettenham in mid-Suffolk – an impressive amount of rain that challenges some UK short-duration rainfall records.

Flash flooding and crop damage was experienced in the village, and also in Haverhill where 90mm was recorded nearby. Further heavy showers and thunderstorms on 27th also caused flooding in parts of Thetford.

There was a distinct lack of both rain and sunshine through much of August, and it ended as the third dullest on record. September began on a dry and very warm note, with the highest temperature of the year of 30.2°C recorded at Santon Downham on August 7.

The month overall was the fourth warmest on record. The heat ended with a period of heavy downpours during the middle of the month, with as much as 80mm falling near Haverhill in just a few hours on the 19th.

Western portions of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex experienced localised flash flooding. Meanwhile, areas to the east of the A140 remained remarkably dry with only 45pc of the average September rainfall being recorded at Charsfield.

In October, strong northerly winds combined with high tides produced some coastal flooding on the 21st.

November was a very dry month with only 44pc of the normal rainfall, but also quite sunny with sunshine hours 28% above average. December has been much more unsettled with periods of rain and strong winds at times.

A quieter interlude mid-month with persistent low cloud and fog allowed a rare glimpse of fogbows around the coast.

And so the year ends on a remarkably mild note. No doubt some further twists and turns in the world of weather as we head into 2022.

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