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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! - Coldest Dec night since 1981

Paul Hudson | 17:05 UK time, Friday, 18 December 2009

***UPDATE 1400 Mon 21st December***

Topcliffe, North Yorkshire recorded a minimum temperature on both Friday night and Saturday night of minus 14C - this is the coldest December minimum temperature recorded in North Yorkshire since December 1981, when Leeming fell to minus 15C.

***ENDS***

Heavy snow has fallen across parts of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. And it's not just us feeling the cold. Our friends in America have had a very cold and snowy time of it recently, with a number of records broken for both amounts of snow and cold temperatures. Its been bitter even by Canadian standards too, with new records set in Edmonton; and many European countries are colder than normal at the moment.

Totals in the last 24 hours have been impressive. Decembers in recent years have not been well known for heavy snow in the UK, mainly as a result of the trend towards milder winters that we have grown used to in the last 20 years or so. But Pateley Bridge in the Yorkshire Dales measured 18 cms (7 inches) at 9am this morning. This was the heaviest December snowfall recorded since the very snowy and cold December in 1981 (one of the worst of the last century). The maximum temperature at the same site has only been minus 1.5C this afternoon making it the coldest day since 2nd January 2002.

Buckden1.jpg

20 cms of snow was recorded on the North York Moors - with much deeper drifts due to the gale force wind last night.

Further south, parts of Lincolnshire was badly affected. Southeast Lincolnshire, had totals around 5 inches (12cms) again with big drifts - wind speeds reached 57 mph last night along the coast.

So to the question that everyone keeps asking: Is it going to be a white Christmas? Frankly, I have no idea, and neither, it seems do the computer models. The latest American operational model still has the UK in deep cold air come Christmas day; the UK Met Office drives less cold air north by Wednesday; the European operational model has the transition sometime through Christmas Eve.

Interestingly looking further ahead, the latest European monthly model guidance has a cold anomaly three weeks ahead. And the American model that has been so good through December has consistently signalled a cold anomaly for February throughout Europe. So even if milder air wins over the Christmas period, it's a fair bet that it wont be the last we will see of the cold and snow before winter is through.

Enjoy the snow!

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