There has been a distinctly chilly feel to proceedings for much of the UK this week as temperatures plummet.
An arctic plunge, moving in from Scandinavia, has caused the mercury to fall rapidly across the land, with snow already seen on the hills of Scotland and bitter winds felt across England.
This doesn’t appear to be a temporary thing either, with the Weather Outlook forecasters suggesting that this November could be the coldest since 2010.
And that could have implications for the rest of 2019, with bookmakers slashing their odds on a White Christmas to an odds-on position of 4/5.
So, if you long for the romance of a snow-laden Christmas morning, or just want a few extra days off work over the festive period, you might just be in luck!
Unfortunately, you might be shivering for the next few weeks until the festive season really gets underway. The average November temperature has gone up to 6.2°C – a big hit with climate change believers, with the last time the mercury consistently dropped below 5°C coming back in 2010.
And meteorologists are seeing signs that we could be heading for the same sort of conditions, with John Hammond – former BBC weather buff ow working for Weather Trending – suggesting that “there are similarities between the current set-up and November 2010.”
That year feels like a lifetime ago now, but it brought the infamous ‘Big Freeze’ in which temperature plummeted to as low as -21 in parts of Scotland and -15 in England. That caused chaos across the UK, although it was great news for sledge salesmen.
How Do the Bookies Define a White Christmas?
Of course, there are plenty of grey areas when it comes to the white stuff.
Just how do the bookies define what constitutes a ‘white Christmas’? Well, they use the official explanation as set out by the Met Office.
The first thing to note is that it is not simply snow falling somewhere on December 25 somewhere in the UK.
Before, snow had to be falling on the roof of the Met Office’s HQ for it to be defined as an official white Christmas.
But those parameters have now been widened, so if there is snowfall in any of the following locations you will also get paid out on your bets:
- Buckingham Palace, London
- Coronation Street, Manchester
- Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
- Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
- Aldergrove Airport, Belfast
The last official white Christmas in the UK came in 2010, with snow on the ground at 83% of weather stations and the white stuff falling on the day at 19%.
There are numerous reasons why white Christmases are so rare in the UK these days; 300 years ago, they were almost an annual occurrence.
Climate change is surely one factor, but the other is the switch from Julian to Gregorian Calendar in 1752, which moved Christmas Day out of the firing line of the harshest of winter weather.
It’s for that reason why, in modern times, snow is more readily seen in January, February or even March, as opposed to the festive period.