Still dreaming of a white Christmas: meteorologists say snow is still possible … if icy arctic air wins ‘battle’ on warm front, promising moderation on December 25
- A gloomy and misty weekend saw the coldest nights of winter in the UK so far with temperatures dropping to -9.1°C.
- Today and tomorrow are set to be brighter for many, but as of Wednesday it is expected to turn cold again.
- The ingress of moist air from low pressure inland from the Atlantic Ocean is expected to lead to snowfall in higher areas
- The Met Office says this could spread to the lower parts of the Midlands, northern England and Scotland
Chances of a White Christmas are growing in some parts of Britain, with forecasters keeping a close eye on a looming “battlefield” of icy Arctic air and milder, wetter conditions.
After a bleak and foggy weekend that saw the coldest winter nights yet, with temperatures dropping to -9.1°C (15.6°F) at Braemar in Cairngorms last night, today and tomorrow are set to be much brighter.
But from Wednesday, the weather is expected to turn cooler again, before humid air from the low pressure area begins to enter from the Atlantic, which is expected to bring snow in higher areas as Christmas Eve approaches.
The Met Office added that this could likely spread to lower parts of the Midlands, northern England and Scotland, and that motorists traveling this week before then should ‘prepare for icy winter weather’.
Bookmakers Coral and Laddbrooks each have chances in Edinburgh for White Christmas at 4-5, while Newcastle are tied, Birmingham 6-4, London 7-4 and Cardiff and Belfast both 2-1.
Snow covers the Black Mountains in Wales’ Brecon Beacons on Christmas Day 2010. The last time it snowed in most of the country was on December 25 that year, when 83 per cent of weather stations reported snow.
Humid air from low pressure traveling from the Atlantic is expected to lead to snowfall in higher areas as Christmas Eve approaches
“From Wednesday evening we will see wetter and milder conditions in the southern and western regions, while it will remain cool and bright in the north,” said Annie Shuttleworth, a meteorologist with the Met Office.
At the boundary between the two we can see the risk of snow on Thursday and Friday. But there is still a great deal of uncertainty about when and where exactly.
Any significant snowfall will likely be on higher ground, but anyone traveling in the lead-up to Christmas will need to prepare for icy winter conditions.
She added: “We could see some snow showers in the hills in the northern parts of the UK – probably the most likely place to see any snow. You can’t rule out some snow further south, but there is a really big question mark.”
The BBC’s Sarah Keith Lucas, forecaster, described it as a “battlefield” where “cooler air seeps in from the north, milder air blows in from the southwest” as the festive weekend approaches.
BBC Weather currently expects temperatures in London to reach 52 Fahrenheit (11 Celsius) on Christmas Day.
Today may also see more snow in the northern hills, but forecasters aren’t expecting disruptive amounts of wind.
The last time it snowed in most of the country was on December 25, 2010, when 83 percent of weather stations reported snowfall.
This was only the fourth time since 1960 that it has occurred in at least 40 per cent of UK sites.
Today and tomorrow are expected to remain largely dry with brighter periods than over the weekend. But the nights will still be frosty, with temperatures dropping to -2°C (28°F) tomorrow even in the south.
The outlook for post-Christmas is currently another wave of high pressure, resulting in a return to stable, cool, and dry conditions.
On Saturday night, Braemar in Cairngorms reached -8.9°C (16°F) making it the coldest night of winter so far. Then he was beaten again in the same location last night with a low of -9.1 degrees Celsius (15.6 degrees Fahrenheit).