Snow takes break as freeze goes on

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Peter Watts of Watchbury Farm, Barford, leads his alpacas through the snow

Much of Britain is expected to escape fresh snowfall, giving only a small part of the country a traditional White Christmas.

Forecasters said parts of Scotland and possibly north-east England were the only places likely to have snow falling on Christmas Day.

The mercury was set to remain at around freezing, with most places due to see bitterly cold but dry conditions.

Daytime temperatures in parts of Herefordshire and Worcestershire were not predicted to rise above -6C, with night-time temperatures into Boxing Day potentially falling to as low as -20C in some isolated spots.

Gareth Harvey, forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association said: “There could be a few light wintry showers in parts of Scotland and one or two snow showers in north east parts of England.

“Generally it will be dry, with not much snow around. There is still quite a bit of lying snow from the past week, but it doesn’t qualify as a White Christmas unless it is falling snow. It is good news for betting companies.”

Temperatures were expected to remain below freezing on Boxing Day with spells of rain, sleet and snow in northern Ireland, Scotland and parts of west Wales and far west England, spreading eastwards overnight.

With the icy weather set to continue, the UK could be heading for its coldest December since 1890, forecasters said. But they added that temperatures could rise as high as 10C (50F) by the middle of next week as a new weather system moves in from the Atlantic.

Those braving the bleak mid-winter to get away for Christmas on Friday faced reduced rail services, icy roads and continuing cancellations and delays to flights.

The Highways Agency advised motorists to take extra care and be mindful of difficult driving conditions, with low temperatures forecast over the weekend.

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