-10.5 is our record low in Gravesend, Greenhithe and Dartford

PUBLISHED: 13:06 22 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:48 22 December 2010

Frozen lake at Bluewater shopping centre

Frozen lake at Bluewater shopping centre


Records, as well as mercury levels, fell as the area experienced the lowest temperatures since a Met Office observation site was installed.

On Sunday night a reading of -10.5 Celsius was taken at the bank of the River Thames at Greenhithe — the lowest since it was set up in 1995.

Gravesend has made headlines for extreme weather at the other end of the scale, having briefly held the record for the UK’s hottest temperature in 2003. But this time it was subjected to Arctic conditions as the UK was hit by a brutal cold snap.

Dan Grey, a forecaster for the Met Office, said: “Typically, the jet stream, which carries air currents from east to west across the Atlantic, runs in a straight line, bringing milder weather. What we are seeing is a block pattern where the stream is criss-crossing north to south. This is pulling cold air from above the Arctic down over Britain so we are effectively experiencing Arctic conditions.”

So far this winter the UK has had temperatures five degrees lower than average for the time of the year.

While -10.5 degrees is officially the coldest temperature recorded in north Kent, other factors indicate the area has experienced worse in the past.

In 1947 and 1963, parts of the River Thames froze over, yet the Port of London Authority has reported no sign of ice on the river this year.

Gravesend is also some distance off the UK record for the lowest temperature, -27.2C, recorded in 
Braemar, in the Grampian mountains, Scotland, both in 1895 and 1982, and at Altnahara, Scotland in 1995.

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