It’s that time of year again: the tinsel comes out; halls are decked; we all start dreaming of a White Christmas; and the bookies start calculating the odds of it actually happening.
That idyllic white-washed winter wonderland depicted on Christmas cards everywhere may have often proved elusive in the past, especially since we’re more likely to see snow in January or February in the UK, instead of over the festive season.
But, with temperatures dropping to all time lows throughout November and expected to continue until January, the chances of us getting a White Christmas this year are at an all time high and already the bookies have slashed the odds.
It doesn’t take blankets of snow in the Bing Crosby sense for it to constitute a White Christmas, though; technically, all that’s required is for a single snowflake to fall on the roof of the Met Office. In this sense, there have been 38 White Christmases in the last 52 years in Britain, making it seem more likely we’ll get another one this year.
The bookies’ odds reflect these chances, with William Hill offering 2/1 odds for Aberdeen, 4/1 in London, 6/1 in Cardiff, 4/1 in Belfast and 5/1 in Dublin for a White Christmas.
Settled snow, on the other hand, on Christmas day is a much rarer phenomenon in the UK, with only four occasions reported in the past 51 years. For this to happen, over 40% of stations need to report snow.
The last time this happened, which was also our last White Christmas, was in 2010, setting the record for number of stations across the UK to report snow on the ground, at 83%, but with an additional 19% of stations reporting snow or sleet falling.
The year before saw 57% of stations reporting snow on the ground and 13% sleet or snow falling.
Snow has already been seen in locations across the UK this year, with schools in Aberdeenshire, Hertfordshire and Essex closing as a result, delays to train and underground services in London and accidents on the roads.
The Met office will be able to accurately predict whether or not we will have a White Christmas five days before.