What are the chances of a white Christmas in Devon?

Light snow settled on country lanes such as here in East Hill. Picture: Simon Horn

Light snow settled on country lanes such as here in East Hill. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Devon is bracing itself for a weekend of rain and strong winds this weekend after the Met Office issued a yellow warning - upgraded to amber in parts of North Devon. But the question on everyone's mind as we approach Christmas is: will it snow on Christmas Day?

The last time Devon saw heavy snow on December 25 was back in 2010, when most of the UK was blanketed in the white stuff; the Met Office described this as 'extremely unusual'.  Technically, 2020 was the last white Christmas in the UK, with 6% of weather stations recording snow falling, but only 4% of stations reported any snow lying on the ground.

Last year the UK saw snow as we emerged from the second lockdown in November, with the south east mainly seeing a dusting, but none fell in Devon.

It's certainly got colder over the last few days. In the early mornings this week, low-level frost settled on the roads and cars. Devon County Council rolled the gritters out on major roads in Devon for the first time this winter on Monday (November 22) as the temperature dropped to -2 in places.

But the Met Office's long-range weather forecast for the UK up to December 24 is not for a traditional white winter. It will be  'unsettled and changeable with milder and wetter than average conditions for most, bringing a risk of stormy conditions. Perhaps turning more settled in southern regions for a time in the middle of this period, which will increase the risk of frost and fog when skies clear overnight. Mild for much of this period but some short lived colder spells are possible'.

So okay, it might not snow yet. The Met Office says Christmas is only the beginning of the period when snow might be expected, with it more likely to fall over January, February and March more so than December. Bing Crosby lied to us!

Bookmakers William Hill are currently offering odds of 8/1 for a white Christmas in Bristol; they don't mention anywhere further west. In London they're putting the odds at 6/1, with a 3/1 chance of a white Christmas in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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The Met Office can only predict snow five days in advance though, so who knows, there is still time before the big day for us to get a little bit of the white stuff.