HEAVY snow, dramatic thunderstorms and sweltering heatwaves.

Dorset has seen its fair share of wild weather through the years.

Another cold snap is on the cards this weekend with a chance of seeing snow.

Read more: Brrrace yourselves: There's another cold spell on the way (and there could be snow)

We look back at some of the most notable weather to hit the county through the years.

The Beast from the East

Bournemouth Echo:

One of those moments where everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing on March 1, 2018.

Heavy snow caused chaos across the county in what was some of the most significant snowfall seen in recent years.

Speaking to the Echo at the time, the Met Office said 10 to 20cm of snowfall could “easily” be seen across Dorset and the rest of South West. And boy, did the weather deliver.

Around 100 cars were stuck on the A35 Puddletown bypass which had to be closed both ways between Bere Regis and the Stinsford roundabout at Dorchester.

Meanwhile, a major incident was declared on the A31 in the New Forest with the military called in to assist drivers stuck for hours.

Bournemouth Echo:

The following day brought more treacherous conditions when freezing rain fell overnight.

Bournemouth Airport was closed, passengers were stuck on trains overnight, schools were shut and bus services finished early.

There were also some incredible acts of people going above and beyond with Royal Bournemouth Hospital staff staying in local accommodation so they could deliver patient care and police officers sleeping at their stations. 


Bournemouth Echo:

Picture by Dane Pearson

We've had many thunderstorms but one that particularly sticks in our mind is one that lit up the skies in July 2017 which followed a warm and humid day in Dorset.

We were inundated with scores of incredible pictures from readers including this by Gareth James 

Bournemouth Echo:

And this one by Simon Gwynn

Bournemouth Echo:

Over 100,000 flashes of lightning were recorded across the UK in the 24 hours, particularly in southern England.

The summer of 1976

Bournemouth Echo:

In 1976 many parts of the country, including Dorset's Milton Abbas, went for 45 days without rain during what is perhaps one of the most memorable heatwaves of all time. 

That year, temperatures were often well into the 30s Celsius, or 90s Fahrenheit.

On June 28, the UK’s highest temperature was recorded in Southampton, at 35.6 Celsius (96.1 Fahrenheit).

The weather had been dryer than normal ever since May 1975, so the hot summer of 1976 became a severe drought.

Bournemouth Echo:

Around 50,000 trees at Hurn Forest were destroyed by fire and around five hundred people heading for Matchams Country Club were trapped in the nearby Matchams Stadium as one of the New Forest’s worst ever fires burned around them.

Brownsea Island was even closed to the public because of the risk.

Bournemouth Echo:

St Valentine's Day storm

Bournemouth Echo:

In 2014, one of the biggest storms to ever hit Dorset left a trail of destruction in its wake with a major incident declared. 

Valentine's night was anything but romantic when a major storm with winds of up to 100mph ripped across the county bringing devastation to the seafront on a scale we'd never seen before.

Bournemouth Echo:

Beach huts were ripped apart at Bournemouth and Avon Beach, numerous trees fell, Shore Road was under four feet of water, residents in Mudeford were evacuated from their homes - even the army was called in to help with the clean-up operation. 

Bournemouth Echo:

Forty-one people at The Marine eatery at Milford-on-Sea, Hants, had to form a human chain as they waded through the flooded restaurant that was deluged by 30ft waves.

They had to dodge out of the way of large pebbles and stones thrown up off the beach by the hurricane-force winds.

The big freeze of 1962 to 1963 and the winter of 1978Bournemouth Echo: Barrack Road, Christchurch, following a snowstorm in 1963. Photo: Red House Museum, Hampshire Cultural Trust

Photo: Red House Museum, Hampshire Cultural Trust

The winter of 1962-63 saw a big freeze that began with a December blizzard and lasted until March. January 1963 was the coldest month of the 20th century.

Bournemouth Echo: Christchurch Harbour in the winter of 1963. Image from the Archive Films of Christchurch

On January 1, more than 50 Bournemouth corporation workmen failed to report for duty because of exhaustion. Fourteen inches of snow had fallen within days, and people were out of work because building projects had ground to a halt.

In February, a snowdrift 8ft deep cut off several North Dorset villages.

Bournemouth Echo: Snowball fights in Poole High Street in 1978. Picture from Julie MacGhee

Snowball fights in Poole High Street in 1978. Picture from Julie MacGhee.

Then February 1978 brought the heaviest snow since the big freeze of 1962-63. Snowfall on February 15 was followed by gales and blizzards on February 18, with at least six inches of snow in most of Dorset and areas cut off by drifts.