Odds on white Christmas in Leeds slashed as city becomes most likely place in England for snow

The odds on a white Christmas have been slashed in Leeds by the bookmakers - with the city now believed to be the most likely location in England for snow.

Wednesday, 23rd December 2020, 5:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd December 2020, 5:22 pm

According to bookmakers Paddy Power, Leeds (Leeds-Bradford Airport) is now the 2/1 favourite for a white Christmas in England this year.

The definition that the Met Office uses to define a white Christmas is for one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December somewhere in the UK.

The last widespread white Christmas in the UK was in 2010.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

According to bookmakers Paddy Power, Leeds (Leeds-Bradford Airport) is now the 2/1 favourite for a white Christmas in England this year.

There was no record of snow falling at any station in the UK in 2018, or in 2019.

However, weather expert Sara Thornton - Director of digital weather service Weathertrending.com - previously told the Yorkshire Evening Post that "while at this stage there’s little to suggest we’ll see a winter wonderland of deep snow", a wintry shower can't be ruled out in Leeds on Christmas Day.

Sara said the greatest chance of a covering of snow would be on the higher ground of Yorkshire as the colder air spreads in.

She believes we are "long overdue" a white Christmas this year.

Sara told the YEP: "There’s a difference between a White Christmas, which needs falling flakes, and a snowy Christmas, which refers to snow lying on the ground.

"It’s a decade since we saw a really widespread cold or snowy Christmas, so cold-lovers feel we’re long overdue!

"After days of unsettled and relatively mild weather, things will start to turn colder from the middle of next week in the run-up to the big day, which should add to the festive spirit.

"We think it’s ever more likely that West Yorkshire will wake up to a frost on Christmas morning.

"And while at this stage there’s little to suggest we’ll see a winter wonderland of deep snow, we definitely aren’t ruling out a wintry shower almost anywhere, with the greatest chance of a light covering over the higher ground of Yorkshire as the colder air spreads in."

A yellow weather warning for strong winds also begins at 3pm Saturday and continue through to Sunday evening.

The Met Office forecast says: "Very windy weather is expected for parts of England, Wales and the far south of Scotland, leading to disruption to transport and utilities.

"Road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected, with longer journey times and cancellations possible

"Some roads and bridges may close

"Power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage

"Injuries and danger to life could occur from large waves and beach material being thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties

"Some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs, could happen"

How likely is a white Christmas?

The Met Office can accurately forecast if snow is likely on any given Christmas Day up to five days beforehand.

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

This means the service can probably expect more than half of all Christmas Days to be a 'white Christmas'.

However, the Dickensian scene of widespread snow lying on the ground on Christmas Day is much rarer.

There has only been a widespread covering of snow on the ground (where more than 40% of stations in the UK reported snow on the ground at 9 am) four times since 1960—in 1981, 1995, 2009 and 2010.

What is a white Christmas?

The definition that the Met Office uses to define a white Christmas is for one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December somewhere in the UK.

Traditionally the service used to use a single location in the country to define a white Christmas, which was the Met Office building in London.

However, with the increase in betting on where will see a white Christmas, the number of locations have increased and can now include sites such as Buckingham Palace, Belfast (Aldergrove Airport), Aberdeen (Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen FC), Edinburgh (Castle), Coronation Street in Manchester and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The Met Office also analyse the data from their observing stations around the UK to provide a complete picture of where snow has fallen or was lying on Christmas Day.