Snow on Christmas Day this year?

3rd November, 2015

Bookies have slashed the odds on a white Christmas from 5/1 to 2/1 – and it’s no surprise. Some forecasters are warning of a harsh winter ahead, with some experts predicting 36 days of snow and the coldest Christmas in five years.

What is a white Christmas?
For many of us, a white Christmas means a thick blanket of snow on Christmas day, but if you’re placing bets, the definition is for a single snowflake observed falling during 25 December at a specified location. According to Met Office data, this has happened 38 times in the last 52 years, so technically over half of our Christmases have been white. However, there has only been a widespread covering of snow on the ground four times in the last 51 years – so if you’re hoping for a beautiful festive scene for Christmas, it’s much rarer.

How many white Christmases have we had?
Britain’s last white Christmas was in 2010, with a staggering 83% of Met Office stations reporting snow on the ground – the most ever recorded.

Britain saw many white Christmases in the 18th and 19th centuries, before climate change caused higher temperatures worldwide. In 1752, England switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, effectively bringing Christmas back by 12 days. Before this, white Christmases were even more common.

What are the odds of a white Christmas?
Wintry weather is most common between January and March, and Christmas falls only at the very start of the period when snow is likely. The Met Office reports that, “Snow or sleet falls on average 3.9 days in December, compared to 5.3 days in January, 5.6 days in February and 4.2 days in March.”

However, it is hard to tell at this stage whether we will have a white Christmas or not. The Met Office says, “We can accurately forecast if snow is likely on any given Christmas Day up to five days beforehand.”

Will it be a cold winter?
At the moment, it’s difficult to tell what the weather will be like this winter. As the Greenland ice sheet melts it slows the Gulf Stream, which brings warm currents to the UK, making a 1,500 mile expanse of the Atlantic Ocean colder than it has been for over 80 years, but this might not necessarily mean a harsh season.

Speaking to the Express, James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said, “The worst case scenario could certainly place us in a similar winter to that of 1962/63.”

The devastating winter of 1962/63, known as the Big Freeze of 1963, saw Britain grind to a halt as the upper reaches of the Thames and even some parts of the sea froze over. Despite these predictions it is still uncertain what this winter will be like, as long range weather forecasts are imprecise. However, it always pays to be prepared.

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas – or are you unprepared for the winter weather? Call us today on 01728 633900 to find out how Ice Watch can help protect your business from devastating winter conditions.

white Christmas 2015

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