White Christmas 2020: Snow falls in Yorkshire as odds slashed on white Christmas in Leeds

Snow fell across Yorkshire on Christmas Eve - as bookmakers slashed odds on a white Christmas in Leeds.

Thursday, 24th December 2020, 1:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th December 2020, 1:36 pm

Flurries of the white stuff were spotted across the county, with this video capturing the scene in Harrogate this morning.

It comes as bookmaker Paddy Power slashed the odds on snow in Leeds on Christmas Day to 13/8 - from 2/1 yesterday.

The Met Office said it was "not out of the question" that snow could fall across the county.

Snowfall in Harrogate.

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

Alex Burkill, a meteorologist at the Met Office, told the PA news agency: “Christmas Eve night into Christmas Day is going to be very cold, with harsh widespread frost first thing Christmas morning.

“So it could be a ‘white’ Christmas in as much as lots of people are going to wake up to a frost.”

Any Christmas Day snow in Leeds this year is unlikely to be this heavy.

Christmas Day will be dry and settled for most of the UK, however, there may be showers in the eastern parts of England that bring the possibility of sleet or snow in the morning.

Mr Burkill said: “So in the Lincolnshire, Yorkshire area, maybe even East Anglia, there could be a few showers during the early hours and with the cold weather it’s not out of the question that there could be a wintery element to those, so a few showers could be falling as sleet or snow.

“They’ll be very light, scattered, not everywhere will see them by any means, and for most areas it’s going to be a pretty dry day just cold.

“But there is a chance we could see a few showers of snow across eastern parts of England, particularly early on Christmas day.”

But, 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."

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.