Bookies breathe a sigh of relief on "white Christmas" bets

But that flake of snow on Buckingham Palace didn't arrive

British bookies who offered odds on a white Christmas in London on December 25th heaved a sigh of relief as Christmas Day passed without it happening, despite icy temperatires and heavy snowfalls elsewhere in the British Isles.

White Christmas in London is defined as "one flake of snow falling on Buckingham Palace on December 25th." This last happened in 1999.

Although London missed out on some winter wonderland scenes, snow fell in Edinburgh and Glasgow (temperatures went down to -15 degrees in some parts of Scotland) and Nottingham, and flurries spread to Northern Ireland, southwest Scotland, Cumbria, the Pennines and the Peak District later on.

Weather experts said that milder weather is on the way, especially in the South. “It will be a touch warmer tomorrow, especially across the South, with temperatures up to 9C or 10C in some places," said Steve Ellison a forecaster from Meteogroup.

“But it will still be cold in the north and very cold in Scotland where it will struggle to get above freezing," he added.

A William Hill spokesman said: "We have potentially dodged a monster payout."

“The odds on a White Christmas in London had fallen from 8-1 to 7-4, the shortest odds this decade, and we had taken more bets on it happening than ever before,” said Coral’s David Stevens.

“It was odds-on that there would be snow in Glasgow, so punters have something to cheer, but overall we’ve escaped a festive hammering, and it’s a happy christmas for the bookies,” Stevens told the BBC.

Andrew Sibley, a forecaster from the Met Office said conditions were finally improving for many. He said the weather on Boxing Day is set to improve further with temperatures as high as 10C in the south west, 9C in London and 6C in the Midlands.

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