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Canny punters have been dreaming of a slightly damp month.

Without a single snowflake spotted in Britain yesterday, the only gamblers celebrating were those who bet on a wet Christmas instead.

The Met Office confirmed that no major city had reported snowfall.

Forecaster Chris Almond said: "Where it has been cold enough for snow it has been too dry. We have seen some rain though - for most of the day it's been confined to the South East."

Although the bookies were spared a seven figure white Christmas payout, some canny betters managed to cash in on the rain.

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "Although the White Christmas odds drifted badly out to 100/1 by Christmas Eve and there was never a genuine hope of it happening, the odds about a Wet Christmas collapsed from 6/4 to 1/5 and smart backers are celebrating a seven figure payout." There are higher hopes for next year though, he said.

"We are already offering 10/1 on a London white Christmas, 8/1 in Cardiff and Glasgow - but only even money on a wet one - for 2008."

The lack of snow was little consolation for hundreds of air passengers who faced a bleak Christmas Day in hotels as the knock-on effects of the weekend fog continued.

Despite the weather clearing, passengers remained stranded at Heathrow as airlines struggled to find empty spaces on packed festive flights.

British Airways axed 28 flights from Britain's biggest airport on Monday in a hangover from Sunday's chaos.

CAPTION(S):

The only way to get a white Christmas in Britain: Leeds businessman Chris Hopkins bid pounds 1,420 in an eBay auction for a white Christmas - and donated it to Martin House children's hospice near Leeds
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 26, 2007
Words:281
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