The Met Office also analyses the data from its observing stations across the UK to provide a better understanding 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 occasions 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.
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Latest white Christmas odds for the UK
Bookmakers have started offering odds on snowfall in a number of cities across Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
Ladbrokes’ odds for snow to fall anywhere in the UK on December 25th is currently 6/4. Alex Apati of Ladbrokes says: “Punters dreaming of a white Christmas look destined to get their wish later this year as we strap ourselves in for a record-breaking cold winter ahead.”
Paddy Power spokesperson Amy Jones says: “In the words of Game of Thrones, winter is coming and it seems we may be adding to the craziness of 2020 with snow at Christmas.”
The latest odds from Paddy Power are:
15/8 Snow in Aberdeen on Christmas day
2/1 Snow in on Dundee on Christmas day
10/3 Snow in Edinburgh on Christmas day
10/3 Snow in Glasgow on Christmas day
4/1 Snow in Belfast on Christmas day
4/1 Snow in Dublin on Christmas day
4/1 Snow in Leeds on Christmas day
4/1 Snow in Manchester Christmas day
5/1 Snow in London Christmas day
5/1 Snow in Norwich Christmas day
6/1 Snow in Birmingham Christmas day
6/1 Snow in Cardiff Christmas day
6/1 Snow in Liverpool Christmas day
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History of Christmas Day snow and weather forecasts
Previously, the Met Office building in London was the location used to determine whether the UK had a white Christmas, but as the number of people betting on it has increased so has the locations used (as the odds show).
The last widespread white Christmas in the UK was back in 2010. A whopping 83 per cent of stations recorded snow on the ground, the highest amount ever reported. Technically, the last white Christmas was on Christmas Day in 2015, with 10 per cent of weather stations recording snowfall, though no station reported any of snow settling on the ground.
Perthshire, Scotland had 47cm of snow on December 25, 1981, the deepest figure ever recorded, while Gainford, Durham, had the coldest Christmas Day in 1878 at -18.3 C.
Capel Curig, Wales, experienced the wettest Christmas Day in 2015, with 165mm of rain and Sella Ness, Shetland Islands, faced the strongest winds at 101mph in 2011.
Why do we associate Christmas with snow?
It is thought that Christmas first became associated with snow during the Victorian period, after Dickens featured it in his books. Britain also experienced colder winters between 1600 and 1814, with temperatures often dropping to -13 C. This era is now known as the Little Ice Age. During this period, it was common for the River Thames to freeze and in 1536, King Henry VIII travelled from London to Greenwich on a sleigh across it.
The severe weather later led to the idea of ‘frost fairs’, where shops, ice rinks and pubs would open on the ice. In more recent years, snow has become a recognisable symbol of Christmas, often seen as part of cards, wrapping paper, festive artwork and tree decorations.