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Freezing winds from the Arctic Circle due within weeks are gearing up to trigger a minus 10C ‘little ice age’.
A White Christmas will hit parts of northern Britain although forecasters refuse to rule out a nationwide festive whiteout.
As Britons start to feel the nip of winter, the snarling fury of the Arctic will bite before the end of the month, experts say.
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said: “The cold is likely to win out before the end of November bringing an early taste of winter and the risk of snow.
“Waning solar activity means chances are high for a little ice age winter this year with notable periods of cold and snow.
“We have high confidence for the most cold and wintry conditions since December 2010 developing towards the end of the year.
“This could bring excessive cold temperatures and periods of widespread snow.”
Weather models reveal a polar plume of Arctic air descending across the UK towards the end of November.
Pressure charts show it being driven by a huge low-pressure cyclone sweeping from Greenland towards Norway and Sweden.
If predictions are accurate, Britain could be facing a whiteout similar to 2010/11 which brought record snowfall and cold temperatures.
December was the second coldest in Met Office records with swathes of the country seeing the earliest snowfall for almost two decades.
Roads and airports ground to a standstill while parts of the country were stranded under heavy snow drifts.
With temperatures threatening to plummet within weeks, forecasters are hedging their bets on this year bringing a White Christmas.
Mr Madden said: “Current projections favour a largely dry but cold Christmas Day with any snow more likely in the north, particularly, in parts of north-west England.
“However, things can change quickly for just a 24-hour period, so we can’t entirely rule out a true White Christmas in parts further south.
“Overnight and widespread frosts could also see temperatures consistently dropping to -10C or more within this period, possibly even colder if the north and north-easterly winds develop as expected.”
Bookies are bracing for a flurry of bets on festive snow and records tumbling this winter.
Ladbrokes is offering 7/4 from 2/1 on the coldest November ever while Coral is odds on at 4/5 for a White Christmas.
Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Apati said: “With temperatures soon set to plummet and all corners of the UK preparing for early snow, the odds suggest this could well go down as the coldest November on record.”
Coral’s John Hill added: “It could be a special Christmas this year as those who dream of a White Christmas may be set to get their wish granted.
“We make it odds-on for snow to fall on the big day.
Despite a milder interlude into the second half of November, northerly winds will bring a winter feel by month-end, according to the Met Office.
Westerly winds towards the end of next week will push temperatures higher than of late before they once again nosedive.
Britain is now facing a higher-than-average chance of snow through the start of winter, government forecasters warn.
A Met Office spokesman said: “Towards the end of November and into mid-December there are signs of an increased likelihood of north to north-westerly winds.
“This means that overall temperatures are likely to be near or slightly below average, although some milder spells cannot be ruled out.
“There is a slightly higher than normal chance of some wintry conditions, especially across the north.”
Weatheronline forecaster Alexi Venerus said of December: “Higher pressure moves in initially, then perhaps turning more unsettled [with] rain, snow and strengthened winds.
“Feeling cold later.”
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