With the cold snap continuing there is prediction of snow in Berkshire, although it is likely to be the wet, dirty, slushy, icy and horrible variety rather than the white, picturesque, fluffy Christmas card scene variety!

The change in the weather has prompted Get Reading to have a look at Januaries gone by at some properly chilly and snowy weather from the past.

With the help of Roger Brugge at the University of Reading and his excellent book, One Hundred Years of Reading Weather, they have looked back at some of the most extreme weather of years gone by.

January Winter Facts

  • The University’s research shows January is on average the coldest month of the year.
  • Over the 100 year period, January was the coldest month 31 times.
  • The average temperature is around 4.8 degrees centigrade.
  • Rain falls on average 16 times a month.
  • It has only been warmer than 14 degrees on nine occasions since 1998

The temperature of -14.5 degrees centigrade recorded on the night of January 14, 1982, is the lowest temperature ever recorded in the 100 year period.

The coldest day temperature was -6.8 degrees centigrade on January 12 1987.


The snowiest Januaries on record in Reading were in 1963.

Snow fell for 15 days, carried on into February and the deepest snow recorded was 31 centimetres on January 3, 1963.

On January 7, 1918, 15 centimetres of snow reportedly plunged Reading into utter chaos.

Apparently the town’s tramlines were very badly affected.

In 1926, there’s no record of how much snow fell, but apparently local villages were cut off.

More recently, there were 26cm of snow during the heavy snowfall in 2010.

People in Reading may remember the traffic nightmares of that period, including when hundreds of shoppers got stuck in the Oracle car park a few days before Christmas and the entire town came to a standstill.


Long-term Reading folk might also remember a tremendous storm back in January 1976.

One gust of wind was recorded at 87mph.

Another one to remember is the storm of January 1990.

Many trees came down and more than 200 people were treated at Royal Berkshire Hospital.

One man in Shinfield Road narrowly escaped death when a tree fell on his car and pupils from Christ the King Primary School were evacuated when the roof blew off.

See more pictures here