UK sees snow storms
30th November, 2015
Bookies have slashed the odds of a white Christmas following the flurry of snow and bad weather that has swept across Britain over the past two weeks. The first snow of the season arrived on 20 November, with snow showers reported in parts of Scotland, Wales, northern England and the midlands, and snow falling as far south as Kent and Essex. Last weekend storm Clodagh battered Britain and Ireland, with heavy rain and gales of over 70mph causing major disruptions. Now, forecasters are warning of an unsettled few weeks to come, with the Met Office issuing flood warnings for Wales and the north of England, and snow warnings for the north of Britain.
The First Snow of the Season
On 20 November, the first snow of the winter arrived in some parts of the UK. A Met Office spokesman said the snow did not settle in most areas, but in northern and eastern Scotland and north east England up to 4cm of snow settled overnight.
The flurry of snow prompted William Hill to slash the price of a White Christmas, with London a 5/1 chance of seeing snow on 25 December. White Christmas betting is at a record level for November. William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said:
“We are already sweating on what could be a record White Christmas payout should snow fall over the 24hrs of Christmas day.”
Storm Clodagh battered Britain over the weekend, forcing several local authorities to cancel their Christmas lights switch-on. Gales tore down trees, blocking roads and rail lines, and in Ireland, over 6,000 homes lost electricity. The RNLI rescued a capsized boat in the mouth of a Tyne, while dangerous rain-soaked roads in Dorset led to a pile-up on Saturday, with one woman suffering serious injuries.
The Winter to Come
After the recent barrage of bad weather, forecasters are now warning of an unsettled start to December, with temperatures swinging from mild to bitterly cold. Britain is preparing in earnest for the winter: over 80% of councils have placed grit bins for locals. Cllr Peter Box, the environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, said councils will be constantly monitoring the weather but the public should remain vigilant at this time of the year.
“Council staff can't be everywhere. They rely on community-spirited residents to look out for each other. They may just need an extra blanket getting down from the loft or perhaps they didn't get out to collect their medicine this week. It takes no time to check in but could potentially save lives."
The Met Office has put England on a Level One cold weather alert, warning that cold weather is likely to significantly affect people’s health. A Level One alert calls for ‘winter preparedness and action’, warning that vulnerable people including older people and children may be at risk from the weather.
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