For many people snow is synonymous with the festive season and in Bing Crosby’s words many of us are dreaming of a white Christmas.
In recent weeks the UK has recorded sub-zero temperatures and a cold snap of arctic air has caused widespread chaos for public transport and motorists on the road. It has already been a year of extreme weather conditions in the UK with some of the warmest temperatures of all time being recorded during the summer months.
But will we see snow in 2022? Here is everything you need to know.
Will it snow this year?
According to the Met Office we are more likely to see snow hit the UK in the early parts of 2023 between January and March then we are during the later months of 2022.
The latest data figures suggest that we will see snow or sleet fall on an average of 3.9 days in December, compared to 5.3 days in January, 5.6 days in February and 4.2 days in March.
So far this year we have seen warmer autumn temperatures than usual in the UK, which has been welcomed by many households amid the cost of living crisis as it has saved them money on energy bills.
What is a white Christmas?
Traditionally a white Christmas has been defined as a Christmas where one snowflake has fallen in the 24 hours of Christmas Day in any area of the UK.
In years gone by, the Met Office used a single location in the country to decide if it had been a white Christmas and that was the Met Office building in London. However in recent years with the growing interest in the topic, particularly with betting markets, the number of locations have increased to cover more sections of the UK.
The following sites are now included by the Met Office to dictate whether the UK has had a White Christmas.
- Buckingham Palace - London
- Aldergrove Airport - Belfast
- Pittodrie Stadium - Aberdeen
- Edinburgh Castle - Edinburgh
- Coronation Street - Manchester
- Principality Stadium - Cardiff
The Met Office analyses data from all of these locations to provide a picture of where snow has fallen and to decipher if it has been a White Christmas or not.
How likely is a white Christmas?
The Met Office states that it can accurately forecast if snow is likely on any given Christmas day up to five days in advance.
Since 1960, around half of the years have seen at least 5% of the network record snow on Christmas Day. This means technically speaking there is a 50/50 chance of snow on the 25th December.
However, these figures can be misleading as there has only been a widespread covering of snow (where more than 40% of stations in the UK reported snow on the grounds) on four occasions. These instances were 1981, 1995, 2009 and 2010.
Met Office weather forecast
The latest reports from the Met Office suggest that we are unlikely to see snow on Christmas Day with the majority of the week being dominated by mild, wet and windy conditions. However, there is a greater chance of snow if you are located in the north of the UK.
Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Dan Harris said: “From mid-week we expect to see a north/south split develop with colder weather arriving in the north, while the south hangs on to the mild conditions. There are, however, large uncertainties concerning where the boundary between the two will eventually end up, especially as we head into the Christmas weekend.”
Harris added: “However, what we can say is that Christmas Day will most likely be mild with a risk of rain or showers in places for the south, especially the far south, while any cold air and wintry conditions will most likely be confined to the north of the UK.”
What are the chances of snow on Christmas Day?
Bookmakers at William Hill are currently offering odds on the chance of snow on Christmas Day and areas such as Leeds, Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow are seen as the most likely to have a White Christmas. Meanwhile areas such as London and Cardiff have much higher odds.
Here are the current odds according to William Hill (odds correct as of Tuesday 20 December)
- Leeds (Leeds Bradford Airport) - 4/7
- Edinburgh (Airport) - 4/7
- Manchester (Airport) - 4/6
- Glasgow (Airport) - 8/11
- Belfast (Airport) - 5/6
- Birmingham (Airport) - 2/1
- London (City Airport) - 4/1
- Cardiff (Airport) - 7/1