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UK outlook: Coldest December in 7 years to increase chances for a white Christmas

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 01, 2017, 1:26:42 PM EST

The chilly and wintry end to November has many people wondering what December will have in store across the United Kingdom.

The recent chill is expected to continue for much of the month ahead, resulting in the coldest December in seven years.

A large area of high pressure over the northern Atlantic will act to block storms from the Atlantic and thus keep milder maritime air from reaching the U.K.

UK snow Nov 30

Snow whitened Beverley in East Yorkshire, England, on 30 November 2017. (Twitter photo/@ladymufon)

Storms reaching the U.K. will be forced to take a more northern track, which will help to usher rounds of cold, polar air southward across the country.

“Below-normal temperatures are expected most days during the first half of the month across the United Kingdom,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.

Normal high temperatures during December range between 6 and 8 C (43 and 47 F) across much of the U.K.

“Unlike the cold outbreak of December 2010, this month is not expected to be nearly as extreme with average temperatures within 1 C (1.8 F) of normal,” added Roys.

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December 2010 was an extreme period of weather with temperatures averaging 4-7 C (7-12 F) below normal across most of the country. This was combined with widespread snowfall.

“While shots of cold air continue to descend on the country during the second half of the month, temperatures will actually be close to normal,” said Roys.

While frequent cold weather is expected, precipitation is forecast to be below normal for much of the country due to the infrequent storms and cold, dry air that will settle over the country for extended periods.

Despite below-normal precipitation, snowfall will actually be above normal for the month in many areas.

UK December Nov 30

“The uptick in snowfall will result in the highest chance for a white Christmas from the Scottish Highlands into northern England,” said Roys.

Locations in the Midlands and the higher terrain of Wales may also have a white Christmas.

While a few snowflakes cannot be ruled out elsewhere, it appears unlikely that there will be any lasting snow on the ground due to the more seasonable temperatures expected during the final two weeks of the month.

Any snow that does fall will not last long, as temperatures climb well above freezing each day.

Even though a white Christmas may not be in the forecast, locations across Wales and southern England are expected to have an increase in precipitation.

The stormier weather could result in an uptick in travel delays just in time for the busy holiday travel season.

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