Lonely Planet Writer

UK is colder than Iceland but it’s too soon to call a White Christmas

Cold weather has swept across the UK, with parts of the country likely to be colder than Iceland. Temperatures could dip as low as -8C, reports the Daily Mirror. It could be the coldest spell so far this year, with experts forecasting an unusually cold and snowy  winter.

Langdale Valley, Lake District, England.
Langdale Valley, Lake District, England. Image by Ashley Cooper / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Temperatures dropped on Monday evening, with harsh frosts and freezing fog affecting many parts of the country. Unusually, conditions are likely to be colder in southern England, with clear skies allowing the heat to escape. Night-time temperatures could drop to -5 C, and as low as -8 C on high ground. With temperatures in Reykjavík likely to be above freezing over the next few days, parts the UK will be colder than the Icelandic capital.

Met Office spokesperson Nicola Maxey told the Independent that this could be the coldest period of 2016 so far in the UK. “The temperature has dipped below freezing already this year – we saw it hit -12 degrees in Scotland earlier this month,” she said. “But this is probably going to be the most widespread cold spell of the year so far, with many people across the country seeing temperatures below freezing.”

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. Image by Forster/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The possibility that it might snow at Christmas results in mild hysteria every year in Britain. The Met Office defines a White Christmas in Britain as a snowflake falling on 25 December at one of a number of sights in the UK, including Buckingham Palace, Edinburgh Castle and Manchester’s Coronation Street. The last White Christmas fell in 2009, with snow more likely to fall in January or February.

Wintry scenes in Berkshire, England.
Wintry scenes in Berkshire, England. Image by Greg Blatchford / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Ms Maxey agreed December would see cold weather, but steered well clear of any Christmas snow predictions. “December looks slightly colder than average,” she told the Independent. “There is certainly some indication that we could see some unsettled weather, which could bring snow. But it’s too early to start trying to predict when this could happen.”