UK winter the coldest since late 1970s

The UK winter has been the coldest for more than 30 years, according to figures released by the Met Office.

The mean UK temperature was 1.5C (34.7F), the lowest since 1978/79 when it was 1.2C (34.16F), the organisation said.



The mean is worked out by taking the average of the daytime maximum temperature and night time minimum over a 24 hour period.



Since mid-December cold weather has often dominated much of the country, with spells of snow and very low temperatures.



Overnight temperatures have fallen as low as minus 22.3C (minus 8.14F) at Altnaharra, Highland - the lowest UK minimum since 1995, the Met Office said.



MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, has said that England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all had their coldest winter season (December to the end of February) since 1978/9.



The average winter temperature of 2.4C (36.3F) in England was the lowest since that year, MeteoGroup said.



Using the Central England Temperature series, which covers a large area from Lancashire in the North West to Oxfordshire in the South Midlands, this winter was the third coldest in the last 50 years and 10th coldest in the past 120 years.



Other figures show that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have also had their coldest winter season.



Michael Dukes, MeteoGroup forecast manager, said today: "It's going to remain cold for the time of year for a couple of weeks at least."



Last night was cold again, with a temperature of minus 14C (7F) at Tulloch Bridge in the Highlands, and readings below zero on the south coast.



Mr Dukes said: "The jetstream has been unusually far south this winter, allowing cold air to spill over northern and western Europe, but also pumping some warm air over south eastern Europe."



The jetstream consists of strong winds which drive weather systems.



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