Will 2016 See a White Christmas?

Updated Thursday 21st February 2019, 02:40 PM

The month of December always brings with it the chance of snow, but the question that bookmakers like to pose at this time of year is whether or not the UK will enjoy a white Christmas. The Met Office defines a white Christmas as a single snowflake or more falling in the UK on Christmas Day, and they have traditionally monitored the Met Office rooftop in London to announce whether or not that has happened. Today, bookies accept bets on a variety of locations, and they tend to monitor the weather stations at each city’s main international airport to decide whether or not they need to pay out.


  • Whilst snow is often depicted on Christmas cards, December isn’t actually the best month for snowfall. According to the Met Office, December has just 3.9 days of snow or sleet on average, with January, February and March boasting superior averages of 5.3, 5.6 and 4.2 days, respectively.
  • A white Christmas in the technical sense of the term (meaning one snowflake or more falling on Christmas Day) has occurred 38 times in the last 54 years, with 2015 being the most recent. However, if one is thinking in terms of the ground being widely covered in a blanket of snow, that hasn’t happened since 2010.
  • The long-range Met Office weather outlook for Friday 16th to Friday 30th December suggests that high pressure will bring ‘drier than average conditions’ and clear skies at night. Presumably it is the anticipated clear skies which lead the Met Office to predict that ‘temperatures are likely to be generally colder than average.’
  • Newspapers in the UK tend to make their predictions about a white Christmas based on a combination of Met Office forecasts, the odds offered by bookmakers and which headlines are most likely to sell copies. That being the case, the general consensus right now is quite vague, and suggests little more than Aberdeen and other cities in Scotland will be more likely to see a white Christmas than London, Manchester or Cardiff.

Sports.net’s View

Although making predictions about the prospects of a white Christmas is fun at any time of the year, it should be viewed mostly as guesswork until around the 20th of December. The Met Office states that it can accurately forecast the chances of snow falling on Christmas Day ‘up to five days beforehand’, so to expect tabloid newspapers or other pundits to fare better is unreasonable.

That said, if we had to place a bet at this stage of the month then it would make sense to focus on the north of the UK. Glasgow seems like a good compromise between the most likely place to get snow (Aberdeen, according to the odds) and wishful thinking if you happen to live in England, so we will offer that city as our early tip and keep our fingers crossed that the weather will reward us with a festive payout.

  • Sports.net’s top tip: Glasgow to have a White Christmas – 11/4

*Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run-up to Christmas.

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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2019 02:40:28+00:00
Published By Sports.net

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