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Weather ruins chances of a white Christmas in UK

world Updated: Dec 24, 2013 20:40 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
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Forget talk of white Christmas, it has turned out to be a black Christmas for thousands of people across Britain as severe storms and rains lashed the island during the past 24 hours, disrupting power supply and throwing travel into chaos.

At least three people died in incidents related to the weather in Cumbria, Shropshire and Gwynedd, while homes were left damaged, with over 100,000 of them left without power in southern England as winds touched 90 miles per hour.

Thousands of people struggled to reach their Christmas destinations as train services were cancelled or delayed. The situation was no different at various airports across the country. Buffeting winds made driving by road hazardous. Thousands of homes were in the dark without power supply.

As bookies revised odds by the hour on chances of snow on Christmas, the expert opinion by today afternoon was that Scotland was more likely to experience a white Christmas rather than England or Wales.

According to the weatherman, white Christmas means a complete covering of snow falling between midnight and midday on 25 December. But the definition used most widely, notably by those placing and taking bets, is for a single snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December at a specified location.

Britain had a white Christmas 38 times in the last 52 years. The last white Christmas was in 2010, when snow was recorded on the ground at 83% of stations, which was the highest amount ever recorded.

The year 2009 also saw a white Christmas, with 13% of stations recording snow or sleet falling, and 57% reporting snow on the ground.

This year, Scotland is the favourite. Bookmakers William Hill are now offering 2/1 on it snowing on Christmas Day in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Northern Ireland could also be in for a dusting with odds now riding at 3/1 for Belfast.

The chances of the Houses of Parliament in London seeing snow also sit at 5/1 with Cardiff drifting at 6/1.