White Christmas 'increasingly likely' as Met Office issues fresh snow forecast for festive period

11 December 2023, 10:32 | Updated: 13 December 2023, 12:40

Dreaming of a White Christmas?
Dreaming of a White Christmas? Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The chances of snow hitting the UK over Christmas and New Year are increasing, a new forecast has predicted.

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Temperatures returned to more average levels over the weekend, reaching as high as 13C in southern England, after much of the UK was hit by snow at the start of the month.

There was particularly heavy snowfall in Scotland and northwestern England, though the snow did not stick much elsewhere in the country.

While there has been milder temperatures in the last few days, winter does not actually officially start until December 22, meaning the coldest spells - and potentially snowiest - are yet to come.

In particular, the Met Office has issued a snow and ice warning as we move into the Christmas period.

Read More: Blast of snow and ice to hit UK just before Christmas as Met Office warns cold snap on the way

Heavy snow still lingers in the village of Ings, Cumbri
Heavy snow still lingers in the village of Ings, Cumbri. Picture: Getty

The Met Office's latest long-range forecast, which runs from Christmas Day to January, says the weather is likely to be more "unsettled" in this period.

"The wettest and windiest conditions are most likely in the west and northwest. The chance of a colder spell of weather, with hazards such as snow and ice, does increase later in December and into the New Year period," the forecast reads.

While there is certainly a chance this could happen, the Met Office said conditions are more likely to remain "mild and wet".

The chances of a White Christmas will become clear as we approach December 25.

Read More: Will it be a White Christmas? Met Office gives verdict as snow set to fall 'in days'

Read More: Exact date snow will end as temperatures to hit 13C after cold snap

It's been a couple of years since the last White Christmas, with the last one officially recorded in 2022, though no snow was actually recorded on the ground.

According to the Met Office's definition, it is a White Christmas if one snowflake falls in the 24 hours of 25 December somewhere in the UK.

While the national forecaster says the most accurate forecast for a White Christmas can be given between December 20 and 25, its long-range forecast now covers the big day.

When was the last widespread White Christmas?

Could there be a White Christmas?
Could there be a White Christmas? Picture: Getty

The last white Christmas in the UK was in 2022, when nine percent of stations recorded snow falling.

There were also White Christmases recorded in 2020 and 2021, though again, less than one percent of stations reported snow actually lying on the ground in 2021, and four percent in 2020.

There was no snow recorded in 2018 or 2019, according to the Met Office, and the last widespread White Christmas came in 2010, when there was snow at 83 percent of stations in the UK.

This was the highest ever amount recorded.

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