All I want for Christmas Snow.  Odds on?
Blog by Jo Farrow
15th November 2017 17:49

All I want for Christmas Snow. Odds on?

November has given just a little bit of snow, over the high ground of northern Britain. It has been cold with frosts but no sustained chill as the weather flips from mild to nippy and back again. The Netweather forum coldies are leaping on the new runs of the forecast models for signs of a Scandinavian High. An anticyclone to the NE of the UK which could bring us a dry, cold easterly winds, and the chance of proper snow to southern parts in a lingering cold spell; The Beast from the East.

More likely to produce UK snow are wintry showers coming down in a northerly flow. Proper cold Arctic air, like on Remembrance Sunday bringing sleet and snow showers which will tend to clip northern and eastern coasts, sometimes finding their way down the west coast to Northern Ireland and along the North Channel. The chart below shows Met Office historical data of falling snow on Christmas Day. Snow lying on the ground doesn't count, there has to be a falling snowflake seen at the various official recording stations, which are usually Met Office observations from Airports.

Another way which the UK can get snow is from a frontal band coming in from the Atlantic. It comes up against cold air over the UK and can turn to snow. This can be tricky to forecast, with small changes in timings and intensity resulting in “just rain” or winter chaos on the M5 at rush hour. 

Notable White Christmases 2004, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1995, 1993, 1970, 1968, 1964 with many stations reporting falling snow. Years when there was also plenty of lying snow and so the Christmas card scene; 2010, 2009 and 1981. The deepest recorded snow on Christmas Day was in 1981 with 47cm, half a metre in Perthshire, central Scotland.The Yorkshire Dales had 43cm of lying snow in 2009 with two decent snowy winters to follow.

The bookies are trying to get us all excited so that we place/waste our money. I do get excited when it snows. Other people can’t stand it due to its impacts on their everyday lives. I tend to put a few pounds against about 5 locations at the end of October. Then I enjoy the runup to Christmas, watching what develops. The same hype happens every year regardless of anything meteorological or climatological. Starting odds in Autumn; used to be okay and you could get 10/1 for London, nowadays they are stingy. It snows somewhere in the UK or turns much colder in November and reports or statements appear about lots of people betting on a White Christmas. You can bet on lots of things, a wet Christmas, will it snow in November, but you have to seek out those bets, rather than them just appearing online in the Specials category.

Irish Examiner Nov 2016:

A rush of wagers has prompted bookmaker Ladbrokes to shorten its odds on the arrival of a white Christmas. The firm was jingling 6/1 for a snow-covered Dublin this Christmas, but that's now 5/1, while Cork, Shannon and Knock have all been cut to 4/1 from 5/1.

The odds always shorten at this time of year, as more people put money on. In December they might shorten further or allow for a different announcement that the odds are lengthening if it does look really mild, like in 2016.  If the forecast maps do settle down and show mild conditions for most, you can always rely on the tabloids to flip the other way. Only extreme weather will do! In our current climate of warmer and warmer years, maybe the UK's White Christmas will be consigned to the history books.

COLDIE - a person who loves cold weather and has a half-yearly quest to seek out cold/snowy scenarios on weather models.
Anyway, we can keep wishing.  Take it away Mariah.

History of British Winters

Will it snow? Check for your location in the week ahead

Everyone's favourite The Netweather Santa Shaker

Plenty of winter model chat in the Community Forum

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