Met Office reveals what needs to happen for UK to get a White Christmas

A White Christmas doesn’t seem too far-fetched a possibility for many Britons at present, with weather maps showing another oncoming chill and snow still coating parts of Scotland.

Snowy showers began unexpectedly early in the UK this year, as the first flakes fell in late November and settled in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Forecasters have captured and predicted smaller-scale snowfall since then, primarily over the country’s northernmost regions.

Charts show the cold encroaching slightly further south over the next week, raising the possibility of snow for much of the country.

But forecasters won’t declare a white Christmas just yet, as the weather must meet a specific set of criteria first.

READ MORE: Latest weather map shows huge chunks of UK covered in snow on Christmas Day

A white Christmas doesn’t necessarily need to fit the longhand stereotype of blankets of snow covering the country on December 25.

The definition is set by the UK’s national forecasters, the Met Office, which sets its expectations much lower.

An area is experiencing a white Christmas by the agency’s standards if a snowflake can be observed falling on the big day.

Whether this is a possibility or not is a different question, and something maps have shed some light on.

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Snow risk maps from Netweather show a high probability of snowfall early on December 25, especially in Wales, the Midlands and northern England.

Netweather calculates the likelihood as between 30 and 80 per cent, rising as high as 90 and 100 per cent over high ground in Snowdonia, the Peak District, and the Yorkshire Dales.

By midday, the risk will spread across the UK, with snow likely almost everywhere, especially in northern Scotland and on the Home Nation’s border with England.

Winter overview maps from WXCharts show a similar forecast, with settled snow possibly reaching 15, 17 and 20cm in mid and northern Scotland.

The Met Office long-range forecast states high pressure will move across the country in time for Christmas, bringing unsettled conditions and a possible “colder interlude”.

The forecast for December 17 to December 26 reads: “From next week, high pressure will likely move further west into the central Atlantic, allowing a return to unsettled conditions and typically nearer average temperatures nationwide.

“It now looks probable that there will be at least one short-lived colder interlude next week, with a period of north or northwesterly winds that could bring some snow and ice, especially in the north.”

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