UK weather forecast – Odds slashed on White Christmas as Arctic blast could bring snow

THERE'S a 60 per cent chance Brits will see a white Christmas – amid claims this winter could be the coldest in almost a decade.

Arctic blasts ahead of the festive season could bring -10c temperatures, along with snow and ice, it's claimed.

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And Scotland will be the worst-hit by the polar blitz, say forecasters.

Officials at The Weather Company say in recent years, our winters have been milder – and the cold this season will "shock" us.

And Met Office records show that if the average temperature is just 0.2C below normal, at 3.5C or lower, it'll be the coldest winter since 2012/13.

Forecasters have already warned of below-average temperatures in December, and a higher chance of cold spells than in recent years.

Meanwhile, bookies have slashed the odds on a snowy Christmas Day.

Ladbrokes’ odds for snow to fall anywhere in the UK on December 25 are currently 6/4.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: "Punters dreaming of a white Christmas look destined to get their wish later this year as we strap ourselves in for a record-breaking cold winter ahead."

And Paddy Power spokesperson Amy Jones said: “In the words of Game of Thrones, winter is coming and it seems we may be adding to the craziness of 2020 with snow at Christmas.”

At Coral, Edinburgh and Newcastle have odds of 3-1, making them the most likely UK cities to see a white Christmas.

London is 5-1.

The bookmaker has also cut odds to evens on winter being the coldest on record.

Coral spokesman Harry Aitkenhead said: “Autumn's been mild but winter looks wild.

"We have enjoyed a mild autumn but winter is going to arrive with some freezing temperatures.

"We have slashed the odds to just evens that it is our coldest on record."

Experts at the Weather Company say December is likely to be the coldest month of the winter, with freezes in January and February, but fewer chilly days overall.

Leon Brown, head of meteorological operations, said: “People will get a shock after recent mild winters.

"It looks like a close call for this winter to be 0.3C below average, which would make it the coldest winter since the early 2010s.

“A colder-than-average December is favoured, with Arctic influxes from the north-west due to the jet stream's position.

What counts as a white Christmas?

If you’re picturing treetops glistening and sleigh-bells ringing, we have some bad news

The Met Office defines the term as at least one snowflake falling in a specific location during the 24 hours of December 25. 

Snow doesn't need to settle on the ground to make it a 'white Christmas' either.

There have only been four occasions in the UK in the last 51 years where more than 40 per cent of weather stations reported snow on the ground at 9am.

The last widespread white Christmas in the UK was back in 2010. A whopping 83 per cent of stations recorded snow on the ground, the highest amount ever reported.

Technically, the last white Christmas was on Christmas Day in 2015. However, no station reported any snow settling on the ground.

Perthshire, Scotland had 47cm of snow on December 25 1981, the deepest figure ever recorded, while Gainford, Durham, had the coldest Christmas Day in 1878 at -18.3 C. 

Capel Curig, Wales, experienced the wettest Christmas Day in 2015, with 165mm of rain and Sella Ness, Shetland Islands, faced the strongest winds at 101mph in 2011.

According to the Met Office, on average snow falls 3.9 days each year in December, compared to 5.6 days in February and 4.2 days in March.

“-10C in Scotland and -5C in England is expected, with snow in the north including to lower levels at times, and a risk in the south, with some travel disruption.

"January and February temperatures look more average, with an Atlantic influence – but also cold spells and not the extreme mild temperatures of last winter."

According to the Met Office, the chance of cold spells is much higher than in recent years.

“Temperatures will feel reasonably cold in late November," officials from the service said.

"December 5 to 19 has temperatures close to or below average, with an increasing chance of wintry showers, especially in the north on high ground.”

However, officials from the service say they don't yet have forecasts for Christmas Day – although acknowledged: "As we get further into the winter months, there is the likelihood of colder weather."

Snow is expected in Scotland from the middle of next week.

Met Office forecaster Alex Deakin said: “It is going to turn much colder over the next 24 to 48 hours."

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