When will it snow in UK in 2021? Weather forecast from Met Office and odds of a White Christmas this year

Following in the footsteps of Storm Arwen, Storm Barra is expected to bring ‘wind, rain and snow’ to the UK

The UK is set to see temperatures drop below freezing due to an icy air blast coming in from the Arctic.

According to the Met Office, we might see “prolonged periods” of snow across higher grounds in Scotland, northern England and Wales at the end of the week.

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When will it snow?

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for snow, rain and wind across the UK on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 December as Storm Barra makes its way towards the UK.

As Storm Barra moves in from the west, the strongest wins and impacts are expected to affect the Republic of Ireland, as as the system stars to weaken, wind, rain and snow will hit northern England and Scotland.

On Tuesday, yellow weather warnings cover most of the UK, whereas on Wednesday the warnings only affect the whole of the Republic of Ireland, Wales and some areas of the south of England.

Earlier this year in February, the UK experienced large amounts of snow (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Frank Saunders, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “Strong winds arriving across the west through Tuesday morning, will spread inland and reach eastern areas through the afternoon and early evening. Gusts of 45-50 mph are expected widely, with 60-70 mph in exposed coastal locations.

“The strongest winds will ease across inland areas into the overnight period.”

Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Brent Walker added: “A band of rain will turn to snow across northern England and Scotland through Tuesday.

“Two to five cm of snow is expected to accumulate quite widely across the warning area, but locally this could reach ten cm, particularly in parts of the Southern Uplands and Highlands.”

Walker also said: “Strong south-easterly winds will also lead to snow drifting in places, particularly over the highest routes, adding to poor visibilities.”

Storm Barra is the second named storm of the season, following Storm Arwen which caused havoc across the UK.

Will it be a white Christmas?

Unfortunately, those wishing for a white Christmas will be disappointed as, according to the Met Office, it doesn’t appear that snow is on the cards for the big day.

These are the odds that betting site Paddy Power has for snow on Christmas day for various locations around the UK:

  • Birmingham, 4/1
  • Newcastle, 4/1
  • Edinburgh, 3/1
  • Belfast, 9/2
  • London, 5/1
  • Cork, 6/1
  • Leeds, 6/1
  • Dublin, 6/1
  • Liverpool, 8/1
  • Cardiff, 8/1
  • Bristol, 8/1
  • Aberdeen, 11/4
  • Glasgow, 3/1

The Met Office explains that snow forecasting in the UK is so difficult because, since it’s so cold high up in the atmosphere, most precipitation begins as either snow or “supercooled” raindrops.

It can be difficult for forecasters to accurately predict if it will snow, for a number of reasons (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

As this snow, or supercooled raindrops, falls to earth, it moves through warmer air most of the time and thus melts. Depending on the temperature of the air nearest the ground determines whether we see rain, sleet or hail.

“However, the freezing level (usually the boundary at which precipitation will fall as snow rather than rain) doesn’t just stay the same every day, or even within a day, sometimes it can change hour by hour, across the country, or even a few miles down the road,” the Met Office says.

What’s the forecast for the rest of this week?

The Met Office states that on Monday 6 December, it will be windy and unsettled, with early rain in the north and west which spreads eastwards, rain heavy at times with hill snow in the north. Tonight, evening showers will slowly ease off, leaving a cold night with clear spells and widespread frost.

On Tuesday, the Met Office says that there will be “early rain in the west [which will] spread across the UK [and] hill snow in the north”. Brighter, showery conditions will follow into the southwest, and it will become windy and very blustery, especially in the west.

It’s likely that it’s going to be very rainy before any hint of snowfall (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The outlook for Wednesday to Friday, the Met Office says, is that it will be “unsettled with showers or longer spells of rain” and “often windy with coastal gales at times”. While it will be cold, snow will mainly be restricted to high ground in the north.

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