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White Christmas: So will it snow in Scotland on the big day?

The big day is on its way but will we or won’t we see some lovely white flakes?

Snowy Mount Roystan

The Christmas countdown is on but will we or won’t we see some lovely white flakes on the big day?

We’ve already seen snowfall on higher ground in Scotland as early as October but we know that doesn’t always mean snowmen in December.

According to the Met Office, the UK gets approximately 33 days of snowfall each year and on average it falls 3.9 days each year in December, compared to 5.6 days in February and 4.2 days in March.

In order for it to be an ‘official’ white Christmas though, it used to be that meteorologists had to record snow falling on the roof of the Met Office building in London.

Now though, the locations used to make the official call have grown.

At the last widespread white Christmas in the UK in 2010, a huge 83 percent of stations recorded snow on the ground, the highest amount ever reported. 

The deepest snow levels recorded on Christmas Day were in 1981 in Perthshire, which had 47cm of snow.

The strongest winds recorded were on Sella Ness on Shetland, which faced a bracing 101mph in 2011.

Tale as old as time

It is thought Christmas first became associated with snow during the Victorian period after author Charles Dickens featured it in his books.

Between 1600 and 1814, Britain was also experiencing some pretty chilly winters, with temperatures often dropping to -13 C. This led to the idea of ‘frost fairs’, a sort of Christmas market.

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.

The formation of snow begins when the temperature drops and there is moisture in the atmosphere, creating tiny ice crystals that stick together and become snowflakes.

Snowflakes, which are clear in appearance, become heavy and start to fall when enough crystals group together.

So what is a ‘white’ Christmas?

The Met Office only declares a ‘white Christmas’ is at least one snowflake falls in a specific location during the 24 hours of December 25.

Snow doesn’t need to settle on the ground to be a white Christmas either.

According to the Met Office, there have only been around four occasions in the UK in the last 51 years where more than 40 percent of stations in the UK reported snow on the ground at 9am.

So will we or won’t we?

Weather forecast accuracy increases the closer we go the big day. Even about 10 days in advance though is still difficult to call and it will only really be five days and closer that the data will be able to give us the better odds.

However, here are the odds on a white Christmas in Scotland for the moment…

3-1 Snow in Aberdeen on Christmas Day

7-2 Snow in Glasgow on Christmas Day

7-2 Snow in Edinburgh on Christmas Day

-Sourced from William Hill (Early November 2019)

*A Creative Commons image was used in this article.

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