Will 2014 be a white Christmas in the UK? According to the Met Office and Ladbrokes, the chances are slight

 
Billy Ehrenberg
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73 per cent of the last 52 Christmases have been (technically) white (Source: Getty)

As we enter the business end of the festive season, many people will be wondering what the odds are of a white Christmas. That depends on the definition.

The most widely definition for this isn’t all that practical: rather than enough of the white stuff to build a snowman or igloo, all that is needed is a single flake of snow to fall at a specified location.

According to the Met Office this list includes:

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Belfast (Aldergrove Airport)
  • Aberdeen (Pittodrie - Aberdeen FC)
  • Edinburgh (Castle)
  • Coronation Street, Manchester
  • Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

By this rather broad definition, the Met Office says, 38 of the last 52 Christmases have been white. That’s a veritable blizzard: 73 per cent.

However, the snowball-fight in the garden definition, where there has been a covering of snow in over 40 per cent of monitoring locations in the UK, has happened only four times in the last 51 years. That’s a much lower 7.8 per cent.

The last white Christmas was four years ago in 2010. The Met Office said this is highly unusual; not only was there snow on the ground at 83 per cent of stations (a record) but snow or sleet fell at 19 per cent of stations too.

2009 was also a white Christmas, although not as complete. 57 per cent of stations recorded snow on the ground, while 13 per cent of stations noted snow or sleet falling on the big day.

Statistics aside, the chances of a white Christmas this year seem slight. According to the Met Office’s 5-day forecast, Tuesday to Thursday (23-25 December), we are more likely to get rain:

Rain, possibly heavy at times, slowly moves southwards Tuesday and through Christmas Eve. Colder, clearer conditions with showers, wintry across northern hills, extending to all areas by Christmas Day. Breezy.

Ladbrokes seems to agree, and is offering long odds:

Location

Odds

London (Heathrow)

10/1

Aberdeen (Airport)

5/2

Belfast (Int Airport)

4/1

Birmingham (Airport)

7/1

Cardiff (Airport)

7/1

Cork (Airport)

5/1

Doncaster (Airport)

5/1

Dublin (Airport)

5/1

Edinburgh (Airport)

5/2

Glasgow (Airport)

5/2

Knock (Airport)

5/1

Liverpool (Airport)

5/1

Leeds-Bradford(Airport)

5/1

Manchester (Airport)

5/1

Newcastle Airport

4/1

Shannon (Airport)

5/1

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