With the holiday season approaching, millions of people are wondering if we will enjoy a white Christmas this year.
Many of us seem to think that almost all of our Christmas holidays had a blanket of snow on the ground, but they are actually rarer than you might remember.
But bookies have reduced the chances of a White Christmas this year as colder weather is expected from the Arctic and some parts of the UK.
However, weather forecasts define White Christmas in a certain way. So what exactly defines a white Christmas, how is it defined – and will there be one in 2021?
READ MORE: Met Office weather warning issued in November of UK snowfall
What is a white Christmas and how is it defined?
According to Met Office, it’s officially White Christmas when a single snowflake falls at one of its observation stations in the UK on December 25th.
It is not necessary for snow to settle on the ground for the Met Office to declare a white Christmas – it is enough to spot a flake at one of the UK’s 270 weather observation stations.
The Met Office used to officially declare a white Christmas when snow fell on its London office building – which it is no longer inhabited – but it’s now taking a much broader approach.
It uses the data from its observation stations across the country to get a more detailed picture of where snow falls on Christmas Day.
How do bookmakers define a white Christmas?
Bookmakers’ definition of a white Christmas differs from the Met Office’s definition and in most cases bookmakers define a white Christmas as snowfall at a major UK airport.
William Hill, the bookmaker who placed the first white Christmas bets, has said that all it takes to announce a white Christmas is to watch a single snowflake fall in the 24 hours of the 25 UK airports: Leeds -Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast, Dublin, London (City Airport), BristoL and Cardiff.
When was the last white Christmas in the UK?
The last White Christmas in the UK, in some areas at least, was actually last year – 2020 – when 6% of the Met Office weather stations reported snowfall and 4% snow on the ground.
Some Met Office observation stations also observed snow for Christmas 2015, 2016 and 2017 – but there were no snow reports for 2018 or 2019.
The last widespread White Christmas in the UK happened in 2010 when 83% of the Met Office’s weather stations had snow on the ground.
Will there be a white Christmas in 2021?
Bookmaker William Hill has cut its chances of a White Christmas at 12 major airports across the UK as temperatures are expected to drop in the coming days.
At over 700 feet above sea level, Leeds-Bradford Airport is the unsurprising favorite for a white Christmas with odds of just 3-1.
William Hills White Christmas odds, completely as follows:
The Met Office Long term forecast predicts temperatures from November 28th to December 7th will be cold in the north but milder than last in the south.
After that, December 7-21, it is likely that mild spells will be followed by cold spells, along with the possibility of wintry weather in the north.
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