Part of the River Thames freezes over as UK's sub-zero weather continues

·3-min read
Parts of the River Thames froze over this week as temperatures plunged across the country (swns)
Parts of the River Thames froze over this week as temperatures plunged across the country (swns)

A section of the River Thames froze over on Thursday as Britain continued to endure a sub-zero cold snap.

Temperatures in London dropped to -2C on Thursday night as Storm Darcy – dubbed "The Beast of the East 2" – sent the mercury tumbling.

As a result of the bitter chill from the Baltic, a large section of the Thames froze over in Teddington, south west London.

The extreme freeze meant the UK experienced the coldest February night for 25 years – with temperatures plummeting to below -20C in some parts of the country.

The temperature at Braemar weather station in Scotland of -23.0°C was the lowest recorded in the UK since 1995.

The rare sight of a frozen Thames was captured by a member of Teddington's local RNLI crew.

A spokeswoman for the RNLI joked they might have to use a smaller boat to break the ice before rescue crews could take to the water.

Parts of the River Thames froze over this week as temperatures plunged across the country (swns)
Seagulls perch on the ice at Teddington Lock on Friday after the River Thames froze over (swns)

She said: "It's not often the Thames freezes over in Teddington. We might have to use the D class [inflatable] lifeboat as an icebreaker.

"It's quite spectacular. I've lived here for 13 years and I've not seen this part of the river freeze like this."

The large section of frozen river is in the mouth of Teddington Lock on the non-tidal side, where the water flows slower than the rest of the adjoining Thames.

The Thames has completely frozen over in the past, the last time being in January 1963 – the coldest winter for more than 200 years that brought blizzards, snow drifts and temperatures of -20C.

Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the National Climate Information Centre, said such low temperatures haven't occurred since 2010.

McCarthy said: "The records from last night help to put the UK’s climate into context.

"For example, for all its roar, temperatures of below -20.0°C weren’t recorded during the Beast from the East during the end of February and the beginning of March 2018. But that event was certainly extreme by other measures, including widespread low daytime temperatures.

“Before this week we’d have to go back to December 2010 to see days where the UK temperature falls below minus 20.0°C.”

Since 1990, four years have recorded days below minus 20.0°C, but in the 30-year period up to 1990, 14 years reached that level.

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The lowest temperature recorded in the UK is -27.2°C on 30 December 1995, at Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands; and on 10 January 1982, at Braemar weather station near Aberdeen.

From today temperatures are not expected to dip below minus 20.0°C as warmer conditions start to push in from the Atlantic reaching all parts of the UK by Monday.

This week temperatures in the capital are expected to stay around 0C and -1C but could feel as low as -5C due to the wind chill.

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