When it comes to weird weather events, you tend to think of the most extreme happenings occurring far away from us here in Teesside. 

But throughout history we’ve actually had our fair share of extreme weather – from floods to snow, and even tornados!

The Great Flood of Yarm – 1771

One of Teesside’s most notable weather events was all the way back in the 1700’s. On the night of the 16th November, 1771, the River Tees burst its banks in a number of places, hitting Yarm the hardest. Some stretches of the High Street were 20 feet underwater at the worst points of the flood. 

Christmas Day – 1878

In Gainford, Durham, the coldest ever Christmas Day was recorded. At -18.3℃, this record still stands as the coldest ever Christmas Day in the UK.

Image showing Teesside weather which was the coldest ever Christmas Day recorded in Gainford.

“The Big Freeze” – 2010

In November and December 2010, Teesside found itself in the grips of “The Big Freeze”. A record breaking cold snap which wreaked havoc across most of the country. The worst winter in 30 years for Teesside, and the heaviest November snowfall since 1965. Transport came to a standstill and on the 2nd December, around 7,000 schools nationwide were forced to remain closed.

An image showing weather temperatures across the country in December 2010.

This image shows the minimum temperatures reached in each part of the country during the cold snap. Some regions reached temperatures as low as -20℃.

Floods – 2013

In December of 2013, Teesside saw some devastating flooding. The River Tees burst its banks, and caused 300 homes to be evacuated. One of the area’s sub-stations flooded, causing a power outage in Central Middlesbrough. Furthermore, the highest tide in 150 years was recorded on Teesside by the RNLI.

“Beast from the East” – 2018

In February 2018, Teesside felt the brunt of more wintery weather in the form of “The Beast from the East”. Temperatures plummeted, snow fell and schools closed after the cold snap made its way over from Siberia. 

One of the most incredible stories came from no other than the side of the A66, where baby Sienna was born in the backseat of her mum and dad’s car. Sienna’s Dad called for an ambulance when it became clear the bad weather meant they weren’t going to get to the hospital in time. By the time the air ambulance arrived, Sienna had already been born. The family were checked over and taken on to Darlington memorial hospital to be cared for, and warmed up!

Tornados – 2021

Perhaps not the most extreme, but certainly bizarre, was when clouds that looked like tornados appeared over Stockton, Darlington, and County Durham in July. The dark, swirling clouds were in fact funnel clouds. Occurring as a result of low pressure, funnel clouds are essentially tornados which don’t touch the ground.

An image showing Teesside's most extreme weather events throughout the years.

Read our blog on Teesside’s Most Instagrammable Beer Gardens.


Met Office – Past Weather Events
Teesside Live – Baby Delivered on the A66
BBC News – 2013 Flooding
Stockton Council – The Great Flood of Yarm

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