The Met Office has defined a White Christmas as, ‘one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25th of December, somewhere in the UK’. But will we have a White Christmas this year?!
Large areas of Scotland and the North of England have already received snow and in the Highlands, temperatures have plummeted to -8C. However, Scotland and the North are more prone to snowy conditions due to their higher grounds and receive on average 38.1 days of snow per year, whereas the rest of the UK receives 23.7 days. So if anywhere is due for a White Christmas, it will more than likely be Scotland, but will that even happen this year?
In the last 54 years, we have seen 38 White Christmases. However, the number of times we have seen a “proper” Dickensian widespread White Christmas (where almost half of all weather stations reported snow on the ground) is a lot less – just 4 in the last 51 years. Of which the last one in the UK was 2010.
Despite more than half of the past 54 years being White Christmases, December is the least likely of the winter months to receive snow. From December to March, December receives on average 3.9 days of snow and is the mildest of the winter months. Whereas January receives 5.3 days, February receives 5.6 days and March gets 4.2 days. Therefore, with December been the beginning of the period where snow is likely, we are lucky (or unlucky, if you aren’t a fan of the white stuff) if we receive snow at all on Christmas Day.
Predictions for This Year’s White Christmas?
With this December being an unpredictable month, it’s hard to know what to believe about our White Christmas chances until we are closer to the date. So far this month, the weather has been warmer than average, we’ve received 70mph winds, snow in Scotland and the North, and a storm that caused severe flooding and left 42,000 homes without power. Therefore, no accurate weather forecasts have been published with around a week to go until the 25th!
However, the Met Office has said that ‘there is no strong signal that there is going to be a period that’s high pressure dominated’ – which typically, in winter generates colder spells. Just half a degree in temperature can make all the difference in the weather outcome. Will it be rain or snow? If it’s snow will it settle? If it’s rain will it freeze?
Our fingers are still crossed for a White Christmas, and the snow to continue into 2016! However, at the minute, we cannot accurately tell.