Many are hoping for a white Christmas (file photo) (Image: PA)
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Bookies have slashed the odds of a white Christmas but forecasters say it could be the coldest winter in eight years.
After recent mild winters, this winter is poised to “shock” Brits and be slightly colder than average, The Weather Company said.
Britain faces -10C “Arctic influxes” bringing snow, ice and travel disruption in the run-up to Christmas, forecasters said.
It will be the coldest winter since 2012-13 if the UK average temperature is just 0.2C below normal, at 3.5C or lower, Met Office records show.
The Met Office has warned of below-average temperatures in December and a higher chance of winter cold spells than recent years.
It comes as popular bookmakers have cut the odds on snow falling in the UK on Christmas Day.
Bookies have slashed the odds of a white Christmas (file photo)
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Ladbrokes now make it just 5/4 for a white Christmas, having been 6/4 earlier this month, with Edinburgh and Newcastle the most likely cities to see snow at 3/1.
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: "It's looking likely we'll be waking up to the white stuff on Christmas Day as temperatures continue to tumble to snowfall territory."
Ladbrokes say the latest bets show the odds of snow falling on December 25 in the UK are 5/4.
Parts of the UK could be hit by snow this winter (file photo)
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Looking more specifically by area, the odds in Edinburgh are 3/1, Newcastle 3/1, Belfast 4/1, Cardiff 4/1, Dublin 4/1, Manchester 4/1, and London 5/1.
With snow forecast to fall sooner rather than later, Coral have also been taking bets on the odds of a White Christmas.
Edinburgh and Newcastle are given odds of 3-1, making them to most likely major UK cities to get snow on the big day according to the odds.
London is 5-1 now for snow on December 25.
Snow is forecast to fall sooner rather than later (file photo)
(Image: Getty Images)
A woman walking her dog in the snow in north Yorkshire (file photo)
"Snow seems on the way and it's really raising hopes of a white Christmas. In an unusual and difficult year, a white Christmas really would be a treat and we make it just 3-1 to happen in Edinburgh and 5-1 in London," a spokesman said.
Much to the dismay of some, the Exeter-based Met Office told Devon Live there is no sign of snow heading to Devon and Cornwall.
A spokesperson for the Met Office said: ''There is certainly no sign of snow in the near future.
Many are hoping for a white Christmas (file photo)
(Image: Press Association)
''Even when we look out to the end of next week things are generally looking to stay at unsettled temperatures. There is no signal for snow.''
Leon Brown, head of meteorological operations at The Weather Company’s Weather Channel arm, said: “People will get a shock after recent mild winters. It looks like a close call for this winter to be 0.3C below average, which would make it the coldest winter since the early 2010s.
“A colder-than-average December is favoured, with Arctic influxes from the north-west due to the jet stream's position.
It could be colder than usual this winter (file photo)
“-10C in Scotland and -5C in England is expected, with snow in the North including to lower levels at times, and a risk in the South, with some travel disruption.
“January and February temperatures look more average, with an Atlantic influence – but also cold spells and not the extreme mild temperatures of last winter.”
The Met Office November-January forecast said: “The chances of cold spells are higher than has been the case in recent years.
"Long-range computer models show increased chances of northwesterly winds.”
The definition that the Met Office uses to define a white Christmas is for one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December somewhere in the UK.
The last widespread white Christmas in the UK was in 2010 with snow on the ground at 83% of the Met Office's stations – the highest amount ever recorded.