White Christmas 'highly likely', Met Office predicts in fresh festive forecast

18 December 2023, 17:21 | Updated: 18 December 2023, 17:26

Brits are in for a cold snap over Christmas
Brits are in for a cold snap over Christmas. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A White Christmas is looking 'highly likely' for Brits across the country, the Met Office has predicted in a fresh festive forecast.

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After a cold and snowy start to the month, temperatures have been more mild in recent weeks, even reaching as high as 13C in southern England a few weekends ago.

While that is expected to remain the same over the next few days, as we enter the final countdown to the big day, temperatures will plummet, bringing in a Christmas cold snap for Brits across the country.

According to the Met Office, the Christmas period - starting from December 23 - is "most likely to start with a colder, showery, northerly airflow across much of the country".

This is likely to bring "some snowfall", the forecaster added.

Dreaming of a White Christmas?
Dreaming of a White Christmas? Picture: Alamy

The Met Office went on to say that this "interlude" is likely to be "short-lived", before milder temperatures return.

This could lead to some transient snow for a short period.

Its long-range forecast, which runs from December 23 to January 1, reads: "A continuation of this pattern most probable towards New Year's Eve, with the majority of cloud and rain likely across the west, and drier, brighter conditions more probable in the east."

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What defines a White Christmas?

Man carries a Christmas tree across a snow covered field with his partner in Bodsham earlier this month
Man carries a Christmas tree across a snow covered field with his partner in Bodsham earlier this month. Picture: Getty

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.

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.