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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December, 2003, 07:09 GMT
A tropical Christmas?
BBC Wales meteorologist Derek Brockway
BBC Wales' Derek Brockway predicts a snowless Christmas
Green fields, bare trees and cloud - that is the picture likely to greet everyone in Wales on 25 December, rather than a traditional white Christmas.

Weather forecasters are predicting that mild air from the Atlantic will sweep across Wales just before Christmas Day, ruining any hope of snow.

With the prospects of a white Christmas receding, some bookmakers have even taken bets on this Christmas Day becoming the hottest on record.

To qualify for a white Christmas, snow must fall on designated points across the UK between 0001 GMT and 2359 GMT on 25 December.

The only thing that is likely to fall out of the sky will be rain
Derek Brockway

But according to BBC Wales meteorologist Derek Brockway, the best chance of festive snow in Wales will come in a pre-Christmas cold snap on Sunday, before the weather changes again.

Derek said: "There is no chance of a white Christmas in Wales.

"Temperatures will be too high, with south-westerly winds off the Atlantic.

"The only thing that is likely to fall out of the sky will be rain.

'Green fields'

"Before 25 December, we are in for a cold snap and there could be some sleet and snow in places, particularly over the hills and mountains in north and west Wales.

"But the weather on Christmas Day will originate from the Azores, although that doesn't mean we are in for a heatwave.

"The winds will cool as they move north towards Wales and pick up moisture in the form of cloud - but it will be too warm for snow.

"On Christmas morning, all we'll see is green fields, bare trees and cloudy skies."

We have now had a series of bets on there being a heatwave, based on the fact that we had such a hot summer
Karl Williams, Jack Brown bookmaker

As the chances of a white Christmas grow slimmer, some have bet on this year's temperatures surpassing the 15.6 degrees registered in Edinburgh in 1896 and Devon 1920, making those the warmest Christmases on record.

Welsh bookmaker Jack Brown has cut its odds on a Christmas Day heatwave from 100-1 to 66-1 after a series of bets on record-breaking temperatures this year.

The Pontypridd-based firm has also been forced to lengthen its odds on snow to 6-1 as the prospects of a white Christmas lessen.

Jack Brown spokesman, Karl Williams, said: "We had a lot of money on a white Christmas last week, but people are now starting to hear that it's probably not going to snow.

"We have now had a series of bets on there being a heatwave, based on the fact that we had such a hot summer."

Mr Williams added that Jack Brown was forced to pay out for a white Christmas last year, despite the fact that the first snow did not fall until close to midnight on Christmas Day.

"Last year, we paid out after a brief snowfall at eight minutes to midnight at Cardiff International Airport," he said.

"There have been a surprising number of 'white Christmases' since the last one that people would recognise as a true white Christmas, with thick snowfall, which happened in 1982."

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