20 December 2023

Will it be a White Christmas?

The Met Office’s definition of a White Christmas is when at least one snowflake is officially recorded anywhere in the UK, within the 24 hour period of Christmas Day. Over the past 60 years, around half have had snowflakes recorded on Christmas Day and the last 3 years have all had White Christmas’s, so it is actually a common occurrence!

Now most people would define a White Christmas by snow laying on the ground. Of the Met Office’s network of stations, there have only been 4 years since 1960 where 40% or more, of the stations recorded lying snow. These were 1981, 1995, 2009 and 2010. The latter and most recent one will be etched into the brains of meteorologists forever – the ‘December to Remember’ of 2010. On Christmas Day 2010, lying snow was recorded on 83% of stations, the highest amount of stations ever recorded.


What will it be this year? The current forecasts are showing some colder air arriving on the night of Christmas Eve in Scotland, before spreading further South on Christmas Day. Northerly winds could bring some wintry showers to the high ground of Scotland, and along the East Coast of the UK but should turn to rain towards lower levels. I think it is a good bet that we will have a White Christmas this year based on the Met Office’s definition, but in terms of snow on the ground UK wide, that is looking unlikely! Make sure you follow Ice Watch for any further updates.

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