Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keep on Dreaming of That White Christmas

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keep on Dreaming of That White Christmas

Article excerpt

Byline: By Will Mapplebeck

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? A festive Will Mapplebeck discovers why the dream is unlikely to come true.

It is the classic Christmas card scene. Children unwrap their presents in front of a blazing fire while outside snow blankets the landscape. However, the possibility of this image becoming reality are slim. The Met Office says the chances of a snowfall tomorrow are small.

But this doesn't mean we are never blessed with a snowy start to December 25.

Met Office statistics reveal that Morpeth is the white Christmas capital of the North-East.

Since 1971, the Northumberland market town, which is one of the locations the Met Office uses to monitor climate, has racked up three white Christmases in 1984, 1993 and 1995.

Aberdeen has managed six and Armagh, in Northern Ireland, has five to its name.

In 1995, Morpeth and the rest of the region woke up to a classic white Christmas. More fell throughout the day and snow still covered the ground on Boxing Day, causing hazardous conditions on the A1, and the River Tyne was frozen over between Christmas and New Year.

Morpeth town councillor Jim Rudd remembers several Christmases when his part of Northumberland was covered in snow. But the disruption in 1995 was the worst of all.

"In 1995 I distinctly remember snow north of Morpeth. The traffic on the A1 and on the road to Wooler was stopped and people at Belford were snowed in for two or three days."

But the Met Office's definition of snow on Christmas Day does not follow the classic image of all-white rural scenes. The Government agency, responsible for monitoring weather, says just one snowflake falling on December 25 makes for a white Christmas.

That snowflake can even be sleet and can evaporate as soon as it touches the ground.

But it is not a white Christmas if snow is already lying on the ground. It must fall during the 24-hours.

One group of people praying for a non-white Christmas are bookmakers. …

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