Will Santa be able to take off?

IT'S not just Britain that is basking in balmy December weather - the world is facing a real crisis at Christmas because Santa might not be able to launch his sleigh!

IT'S not just Britain that is basking in balmy December weather - the world is facing a real crisis at Christmas because Santa might not be able to launch his sleigh!

As we dream of a white Christmas here in Suffolk, even Lapland is missing the magical sight of tree boughs weighed down by a blanket of sparkling white snow.

The Lapland capital of Rovaniemi in Finland claims to be the home of Father Christmas and at this time of the year prepares to welcome tens of thousands of British tourists who want to visit the “real” Santa in his grotto. It is normally covered by snowdrifts - but this year's mild winter has left the area facing a green, rather than a white, Christmas. This picture was taken in September.

Further north Saana mountain at Kilpisjarvi normally offers tourists husky rides on thick snowdrifts - but this year it remains green and rocky.

All this has happened as UK scientists revealed that 2006 is on target to be the warmest since records began back in 1659.

That comes despite an exceptionally cold start to the year with the chilly winter extending into early April.

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This week's temperatures in Britain have been some of the highest ever recorded in December.

On Tuesday night the temperature fell to 13 degrees - the kind of night-time temperature you can expect in May or June.

Weather experts warn that the weekend will be colder with temperatures down to 7C. That will be seem very chilly - although it is in fact the long-term December average.

Next week the mild weather is due to return to northern Europe, with little chance of there being a White Christmas in Britain.

As for Lapland? Rovaniemi is due to get light snow over the next couple of days, but whether that will be enough to prepare the runway for Santa's Sleigh is not clear.

Children across the world will be praying for heavy snow to ensure they get their presents on the big night!

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Should we all forget about wishing for a White Christmas? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>

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