White Christmas 2023: Will it snow on December 25? Latest forecast

Will there be snow on Christmas in the UK this year? Here is what the Met Office has to say.

Glasgow, Scotland, UK. 27th  November, 2023. UK Weather:  Freezing overnight saw a cold ground mist over the  the city as the towers appear on a sea of fog that covers the streets below. Credit Gerard Ferry/Alamy Live News
A cold ground mist over Glasgow in Scotland on Monday morning. (Alamy) (gerard ferry)

Parts of the UK are set to be hit with snow later this week as the cold weather continues ahead of the Christmas period.

The Met Office said snow showers are expected in Scotland and the north east of England from Wednesday and heading into the weekend.

It follows forecasters' predictions last week of a "snow event" in the coming days.

Read more: What the weather will be like near you this week

With four weeks to go until Christmas Day, the Met Office is yet to make a definitive prediction about whether there will be snow on 25 December.

However, its long range forecast suggests there could be "wintry hazards" around the time of the big day.

As for later this week, snow is expected but it is unlikely that it will gather on the ground.

Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said: "There will be snow showers but we are not likely to see significant accumulation on the ground."

London UK. 27 November 2023. A  Man struggles with two umbrellas  on Westminster Bridge during heavy downpours in the capital  .Credit: amer ghazzal/Alamy Live News .
A man struggles with two umbrellas on Westminster Bridge in London during heavy rain on Monday. (Alamy) (amer ghazzal)
Dundee, Tayside, Scotland, UK. 26th Nov, 2023. UK Weather: Tayside is experiencing bitterly cold weather with temperatures reached 1°C. Tourists and locals are braving the freezing cold winter weather to visit the V&A Design Museum along the Dundee Waterfront on a Sunday morning. Credit: Dundee Photographics/Alamy Live News
People braving the cold weather in Dundee, Tayside, Scotland. (Alamy) (Dundee Photographics)

Temperatures are forecast to dip as low as -8C in sheltered hills and glens in Scotland, while parts of rural eastern England could see temperatures as low as -5C.

“We could see some snow moving into southeastern parts of the UK towards the end of the week, including Hampshire,” said Claydon. “However, it may also remain dry.”

London is set to see lows of between 1C and 0C throughout the week.

Across the country, top temperatures will range from around 2C to 7C, below average for this time of year.

Yahoo News UK examines if we are going to see snow on Christmas in the UK in 2023.

What is the forecast for December?

In the second part of its latest long range forecast, which covers the period between 11 December until 25 December, the Met Office said: "Conditions are most likely to be changeable through this period. Wetter and windier than average conditions are slightly more likely than normal, especially in the west and northwest.

A snow covered cottage near Carrshield in Northumberland. Picture date: Tuesday March 14, 2023. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
What are the chances of a white Christmas in the UK this year? (Getty Images) (Owen Humphreys - PA Images via Getty Images)

"Temperatures are most likely to be near or above average overall, although this doesn't rule out some spells of cold weather and associated wintry hazards."

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For the period between 1 December and 10 December, the Met Office said: "Outbreaks of rain and perhaps some hill snow could affect parts of southeast England on Friday before clearing to the east later in the day. Elsewhere, a mixture of sunny spells and showers, with these showers most frequent near coasts.

"They are likely to be wintry in places, particularly further north where some snow could fall to low levels. Over the weekend and into the start of the following week, cold conditions are expected across the bulk of the UK. Showers will develop, these a mixture of rain, sleet and perhaps snow at times."

What has the Met Office said about Christmas Day?

The Met Office isn't making any predictions about 25 December just yet, given it is still four weeks until the big day.

“With more than one month to go it is far too early to give any indications on the weather for Christmas," Met Office spokesperson Nicola Maxey told Yahoo News UK.

"No one can determine with any confidence the forecast for the big day."

Snow in Leadhills village in South Lanarkshire. A yellow be aware warning for snow and ice has been issued by the Met Office for most of Scotland until 1800 hours tonight. Picture date: Monday December 26, 2022. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
Snow in Leadhills village in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, on Boxing Day last year. (Getty Images) (Jane Barlow - PA Images via Getty Images)

The Met Office said there is "often a fine line" between which areas see snow and which have rain.

It said that sometimes just a fraction of a degree Celsius change in temperature can make the difference between rain or snow falling, making forecasting snow weeks in advance extremely difficult.

However, it said it can accurately forecast if snow is likely on Christmas Day up to five days beforehand.

How does the Met Office measure a white Christmas?

Although it is too early for the Met Office to give a forecast for Christmas Day, Maxey did offer some hope for those wishing for snow on the 25 December.

“When many people think of a white Christmas they are thinking of a complete covering of snow, however, the definition used most widely is for a single snow flake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December.”

In the past, the Met Office used a single location in the country to define a white Christmas, which was its own building in London.

However, because of the increase in betting on a white Christmas, the number of locations has increased and includes sites such as Buckingham Palace, Belfast International Airport, Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen, Edinburgh Castle, Coronation Street in Manchester and the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

How likely is a white Christmas?

The Met Office said that snow falls "somewhere" in the UK on more Christmas Days than not.

Since 1960, about half of the years have seen at least 5% of the UK record snow falling on Christmas Day.

BRADFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 10: A general view of a pedestrian crossing a snow covered road on March 10, 2023 in Bradford, England. Parts of the UK are under weather warnings for snow and ice as cold Arctic air sweeps the central and northern parts of the country. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
The snowy scene in Bradford in March. (Getty Images) (George Wood via Getty Images)

Despite this, widespread snow on the ground on Christmas Day is very rare, with it only being reported four times since 1960 — in 1981, 1995, 2009 and 2010.

The Met Office said wintry weather is much more likely in early January than at Christmas.

In fact, earlier this year, the UK's big deluge of snow came in March.

When was the last white Christmas?

Technically, this was in 2021, with 6% of weather stations recording snow falling, but less than 1% of stations reported any snow lying on the ground.

The previous year, 2020, was also a white Christmas, but only 4% of stations reported any snow lying on the ground.

The last widespread white Christmas in the UK was in 2010, with snow on the ground at 83% of stations, the highest percentage ever recorded.

In 2009, 57% of weather stations reported snow lying on the ground.

Watch: Spring snow causes disruption across the UK