Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Coldest winter in UK for 13 years

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Snow and frost is expected to be less of a feature in the future

The UK had its coldest winter for 13 years, bucking a recent trend of mild temperatures, the Met Office has said.

The average mean temperature across December, January and February was 3.1C - the lowest since the winter beginning in 1995, which averaged 2.5C.

February started very cold as the heaviest snowfall for 18 years swept in, but temperatures ended up average.

Peter Stott, of the Met Office, said despite this year's chill, the trend to milder, wetter winters would continue.

LOWEST EVER UK TEMPERATURES
Scotland: -27.2 degrees Celsius (Braemar, Aberdeenshire 1895 & 1982 and Altnaharra, Highlands 1995)
England: -26.1 (Newport, Shropshire 1982)
Wales: -23.3 (Rhayader, Powys 1940)
Northern Ireland: -17.5 (Magherally, Co Down 1979)

He said snow and frost would become less of a feature in the future.

"The famously cold winter of 1962-63 is now expected to occur about once every 1,000 years or more, compared with approximately every 100 or 200 years before 1850," he said.

The Met Office added that global warming had prevented this winter from being even colder.

In December across the whole of the UK, the average temperature was 3.1C - 1.1 degrees below the long-term average for this time of year.

The following month it was 2.8C - 0.6 degrees below average, and in February the average temperature was 0.2 degrees above average at 3.6C.

Abandoned lorry in Cumbria
Drivers faced wretched conditions across Britain in early February
The lowest night time minimum temperature this winter was recorded in Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands at -18.4C.

Benson in Oxfordshire recorded -11.8C followed by Shap Fell in Cumbria at -11.3C and South Farnborough in Hampshire at -10.8C.

The lowest ever recorded temperature in the UK was -27.2C in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, in 1895 and 1982, and in Altnaharra, Sutherland, in 1995.

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