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Festive snow lovers have been told to get their sledges ready for what could be the first proper White Christmas for 10 years. A Met Office snow warning is in force across Scotland this week amid forecasts for a widespread winter deluge on the big day.
Bitter -11C northerly and north-easterly winds will send temperatures into freefall through the coming days as the nation braces for an early Arctic blast.
Weather models for the run-up to Christmas and the end of the year show a wall of snow ploughing down from the north.
Jim Dale, meteorologist for British Weather Services, said: “Although this is an emerging story, the run-up to Christmas now shows the best scenario for a widespread White Christmas since 2010/11.
“We are in a situation where it is going to start turning increasingly colder as air moves in first from the east, then the northeast, and potentially, depending on how synoptic patterns develop, the east.
“Currently, we expect northerlies from Scandinavia and the Arctic to bring much colder conditions through the start of December, and the potential for snow.”
Forecasters had initially feared the infamous Beast from the East would strike with winds coming from Russia and Siberia.
Pressure patterns have shifted with signals now revealing a northerly component to the cold spell.
Two regions of high pressure astride the UK will form a low-pressure system in between funnelling air in from the Arctic.
Mr Dale, author of Weather Or Not? said: “Low pressure will sit over the UK bringing cold Polar air from the north.
“We expect the first snowfall around Wednesday to Thursday over the hills of Scotland, and this will signal the northerly blast making its advance over the UK.
“In the longer term, there are several scenarios which could emerge through the rest of the year, one of which is another low-pressure system to the south of the UK moving closer and meeting cold air bringing snow to the south of the country.
“Or we could see high pressure build to the east bringing in a true Beast from the East, but all of these possibilities make it difficult for forecasters to pinpoint exactly what will happen.”
Temperatures will continue to plunge through the start of the month with lows of -11C expected by next weekend.
The Met Office has issued a warning for up to four inches of snow over the hills of Scotland.
Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern said: “A northerly is likely to develop in some places towards the middle of the week.
“Depending on exactly where low pressure ends up will determine whether we get any snow and how cold it will be.
“From Wednesday, weather models show the low closer to the south of the UK and less of a low over Scandinavia and fewer places affected by that northerly wind.
“There may be some persistent snowfall.”
The criteria for a White Christmas of one flake of snow falling anywhere in the UK during the 24 hours of December 25 was satisfied last year.
However, this year may see the first ‘proper’ White Christmas since 2010 when widespread flurries brought a Festive winter wonderland.
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said: “We could see the dominant winter theme persist through the rest of this month and into January.
“In addition, while it is still tricky to give specific dates and times, the signals show a strong chance that parts of the country will have some heavy and disruptive snow in the run up to Christmas.”
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