UK weather: Dreaming of a White Easter? Snow in March or April is more likely than at Christmas - but probably won't happen this year

 
Richard Chapman
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Spring Snowstorm Hits Northern Scotland
Will your Easter Eggs come with frosting? (Source: Getty)

In recent weeks we have seen headlines which would lead us to think that the weather forecast for this Easter could be one of two extremes.

On the one hand “sudden stratospheric warming” could bring bank holiday snow and sub-zero temperatures - and on the other, you could believe that Britain is “set for a heatwave” with highs of 20C as we head for a sizzling Easter.

So should you be bracing yourself for a White Easter - or will you be dusting off your sunglasses and making a start on the tan?

Snow in the UK during March is hardly unusual and, with the potential for Easter to move up to 35 days within the months of March and April, it isn’t difficult to see that this year's Easter means the probability of snow is higher.

The movement of this Christian festival around the calendar does therefore lend itself to some interesting weather stats.

According to The Met Office, the warmest Easter saw temperatures reach 27.8C in Wisley on April 23, 2011 compared to -12.5C in Braemar, on March 31, 2013. The Met Office has reported sleet or snow falling in 2013, 2008, 1998, 1994, 1986, 1978, 1877 and 1975, and has actually said that “it is more likely to snow at Easter than it is at Christmas.”

Already this month we have seen heavy snowfall in parts of northern England. Yorkshire, Lancashire and Derbyshire were worst affected on 4 March, with up to 10cm reported on higher ground. Travel disruption was widespread and flights were cancelled at several airports.

In March 2013, more than 70 motorists were left stranded in Cumbria by snow drifts up to 15ft deep and temperatures struggled to get above freezing in many areas, in the worst March snowfall since 1981.

Simon Keeling, expert forecaster at Weatherweb.net, told me that Easter 2016 "looks set to bring a real mixed bag of weather across the UK" - in particular, a cold northerly wind could bring some snow showers to the hills, of Scotland and northern England.

In short, it will be chilly and unsettled before things turn drier and brighter - though how long that will last is beyond forecasts at the moment.

Of course, British weather being what is, there is always the chance that the UK weather might still decide to change its mind in the time left before the four day break.

But it doesn’t look like a record-breaker in terms of either heat or snowfall at this stage.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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