What the chances are it will snow this year on Christmas?


Many Christmas tales tend to follow the same imagery; picturesque snow-covered towns and villages, log fires and a sense of joy as families get together reminiscing over the past year. But, despite the large coats, extra long scarves and thick boots, the chance of widespread snow on December 25th is usually pretty slim in the UK.

The relationship between snow and Christmas that we know today first began with the Victorians. The Charles Dickens novel, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old businessman who hates Christmas but has a change of heart on the day. In it, and in multiple other books by Dickens, snow is heavily detailed during this holiday season.

While a white Christmas was more frequent when Dickens was a child, today, thanks to climate change, higher temperatures mean lower odds. Though that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up hope of a white Christmas just yet as they do still happen in the UK on occasion. So, we’ll keep dreaming of it and hopefully you will too.

But could we finally see a White Christmas in 2019, or could December snowfall affect the upcoming general election? From the science behind winter weather to the bookmaker odds, here is everything you need to about snow during the festive season.

What is a ‘white’ Christmas?

While Bing Crosby imagined a white Christmas to involve treetops glistening and sleigh bells ringing, the Met Office defines the term as at least one snowflake falling in a specific location during the 24 hours of December 25.

The Met Office also analyses the data from its observing stations across the UK  to provide a better understand of where snow has fallen on Christmas day.  Snow doesn’t need to settle on the ground to be a white Christmas either.

Not quite the white Christmas we all dream of but, according to the Met Office,  there have only been four occasion in the UK in the last 51 years where more than 40 per cent of stations in the UK reported snow on the ground at 9am.

Latest white Christmas odds

A few weeks ago, bookmakers started offering odds on snowfall in a number of cities across Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

A spokesman for William Hill said: “At this stage of the year, the odds always suggest that a White Christmas is a long shot.”

Latest odds from William Hill 

9-4 Snow in Aberdeen on Christmas Day

5-2 Snow in Glasgow on Christmas Day

5-2 Snow in Edinburgh on Christmas Day

3-1 Snow in Newcastle on Christmas Day

10-3 Snow in Leeds on Christmas Day

9-2 Snow in Birmingham on Christmas Day

5-1 Snow in Belfast on Christmas Day

5-1 Snow in Dublin on Christmas Day

5-1 Snow in Manchester on Christmas Day

6-1 Snow in Liverpool on Christmas Day

6-1 Snow in London on Christmas Day

7-1 Snow in Bristol on Christmas Day

8-1 Snow in Norwich on Christmas Day

10-1 Snow in Cardiff on Christmas Day

12-1 Snow in Penzance on Christmas Day