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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 December, 2004, 18:49 GMT
Wintry weather eases over Britain
Snow in Scotland
Several centimetres fell in many areas on Saturday
Snow showers have abated across the UK on Sunday, after widespread falls brought a white Christmas to many parts of the country.

On Monday, eastern and central England is expecting a cold and frosty start while western England and Wales will be cloudy with drizzle.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will be windy with plenty of cloud.

The first white Christmas since 2001 left bookmakers facing a hefty payout to punters who predicted the falls.

Snow will still cover much of the high ground in Scotland. Northern Ireland and northern England will see wintry showers.

'A few flurries'

On Sunday, BBC weather forecaster Elizabeth Saary said: "We're not going to see nearly as much snow as we did yesterday.

Wintry scenes as the UK celebrates a white Christmas

"There'll be about 5-10cm in south-west England with maybe 15cm on higher ground.

"By the afternoon they should be gone, although parts of East Anglia can expect a few flurries. Most other places will miss them."

Bookmakers Ladbrokes will pay out 500,000 after snow in five of the six weather centres needed to make a 25 December a white Christmas - Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester.

Only the weather centre in London remained free from snow.

A spokesman from Ladbrokes said: "It's a winter wonderland for punters while bookmakers have been thrown into the deep midwinter.

"There are plenty of people out there with even more reason to put the champagne on ice after hearing of their Boxing Day bonus. The chill we caught is going to turn into a full blown cold," he said.

He said they would have paid out more than 1m if snow had fallen in London.

A William Hill spokesman said: "As it is we expect to see winners playing up their profits by betting on another White Christmas in 2005 and we have slashed the odds from 10/1 to 6/1 in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Manchester."

Between 1971 and 1992 there was only one year - 1980 - when widespread sleet and snow fell across the UK on Christmas Day, whereas in the years 1993 to 2003 it happened five times.

Icy patches are expected across the UK tomorrow, but rain coming in from the north-west will make temperatures feel warmer.




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