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Colder than Greenland

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:13 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010

The cold spell tightened its grip over the weekend with record breaking temperatures in Wales making it colder than Greenland.

Cold snaps and snow are not unusual in November but the cold we're currently experiencing is more severe than usual. Our coldest weather normally comes after Christmas and in the New Year.

At Llysdinam near Newbridge on Wye in Powys the temperature plunged to -18 Celsius, beating the previous record of -11.7 Celsius set in Welshpool on 9 November 1921.

In Powys, Tirabad near Llanwrtyd the automatic weather station there recorded -15.6 Celsius. The weather station at Tirabad is very remote at 1,007 feet above sea level and is often referred to as Sennybridge which is over 20 miles away.

Meanwhile Cardiff International Airport recorded -8 Celsius which is a new record for November.

So why has it been so cold? Well, our coldest nights occur when there is little wind, clear skies and a covering of snow on the ground. Since snow is a poor conductor of heat, (especially when freshly fallen and dry ) temperatures fall sharply.

Iced up windscreen wipers by Dickie-Dai-Do.

Frozen windscreen wipers by Dickie-Dai-Do.

In Wales, the lowest temperatures tend to occur in mid and east Wales as they're furthest away from the warming influence of the sea but we've a way to go before we break any records.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Wales was an amazing -23.3°C at Rhayader in Radnorshire on 21 January 1940. But that's nothing compared to Vostok in Antarctica which holds the current world record for the coldest temperature at -89.4 °C.

But not everywhere in Wales was very cold. Some coastal areas escaped the worst of it such as Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsula where on Sunday morning it was a 'tropical' -1°C! Thanks to the sea acting like a storage heater and keeping things warmer overnight.

Richard Arnold from Powys measured -15 Celcious inside his car

Richard Arnold from Powys measured minus15 degrees Celcius inside his car on Sunday morning.

The week ahead...

The current cold conditions have come from Scandinavia and the Arctic and they are going to persist for the rest of this week.

The chance of a major blizzard is now zero but there is still some snow forecast and the Met Office has issued weather watches for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Most of the snow is expected in Powys and the north. The wind will also pick-up causing the snow to drift and creating a significant wind-chill.

In the wind, temperatures will feel more like -5°C to -10 °C and the frost will also be more penetrating so there is a greater risk of frozen pipes.

Longer term, it looks as if the big freeze will ease slightly over the weekend and into next week but it will still remain chilly.

Some forecasters are predicting another cold winter ahead (although perhaps not as cold as last year) and It may also be drier than normal which could lead to more drought issues again next year.

Of course only time will tell but in the meantime, wrap-up warm and watch out for those biting winds!



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