It was very chaotic in the south of the United Kingdom last night. London Stansted Airport had to cancel all flights late on Sunday evening. That was also the case at Heathrow and Gatwick. Due to the heavy snowfall and ice formation, the runways were not clear and flying was therefore not possible.
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And in Flanders?
We will not see such winter scenes in Flanders in the coming days. And we have to thank the wind for that. Or rather the lack of wind. “In the United Kingdom, it was a shower area that entered through the Channel region,” says Nicolas Roose of Emergency weather Benelux. “And because there were still colder temperatures in some higher elevations in south London, the precipitation turned into snow quite easily.” But because there is little current in the wind, those cold temperatures and associated snow do not reach us.
There is currently also snow in Germany and Poland. “Normally a few centimeters are enough to have an impact on our weather. But the wind plays a part here too. In classic winter scenarios we have a strong easterly wind, but that is not the case now,” says Roose.
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No ice cream days
Still, we’ll all be scratching our heads this week if we want to leave by car in the morning. “In the Kempen, in Diepenbeek, it is currently (Monday morning, ed.) -7 degrees Celsius. But during the day we go to positive temperatures,” says weatherman Frank Deboosere. “In the west there are still some clouds, but otherwise we will see the sun everywhere at about 2 degrees. Next night it will be clear again and we will have lows around -5 to -6. In the High Fens you then go to -10 to -12 degrees,” he says. “Wednesday there is a snow zone coming from the south, but it will probably graze on the southern flank of the Ardennes. They will get some snow in Belgian Lorraine, but not in Flanders. It will also be dry on Thursday and Friday. At night it freezes at about -2 degrees, but during the day the figures are still positive.”
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All in all, it’s not too bad, says Deboosere. “Yes, it is the coldest week of the year so far. But in perspective it is anyway much ado about nothing. Last winter it was very mild and the lowest temperature measured was -4.2 degrees. Now we are at -4.4. But in the winter of 2021 we were at -8.6 degrees. In the winter of 2011-2012 that was even -13.”
We have not yet had ice days, a day on which it freezes all the time, says the weatherman. “In an average winter we have about six. In the middle of the 19th century there were still fifteen. Compared to the past, it is now not too bad, but we will feel it in our energy bill.”
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But good news, in the weekend we have a turning point and it will soften a bit again. Monday 19 December the temperatures will go back to 6 degrees during the day, Tuesday we may even reach 10 degrees.
And then the classic question: will we have a white Christmas this year? “It’s still early. The chance of a green Christmas is always more logical in percentage terms,” says Roose. “This winter, too, that chance seems relatively high. That snow zone seems to be something for France at the moment. But there are still options. Although at the moment, with the weather turning on Sunday, it seems less and less plausible that we will have a white Christmas. When a soft trend sets in, it is often for a week or more.”