Lonely Planet Writer

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Check this out

The wonders of Christmas movies and Michael Buble have us preconditioned to obsessing over a white Christmas in spite of its potential inconvenience. But where is likely to have a chocolate box white Christmas this year according to the weather forecast?

Deer roam the grounds of a snow covered Raby Castle in County Durham.
Deer roam the grounds of a snow covered Raby Castle in County Durham. Image by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Predictions this year seem less reliable than usual, what with the strongest El Nino in 50 years throwing predictions and increasing the chances of a white Christmas for less likely places.

In the parts of the UK and Ireland that have, in recent weeks, experienced the worst of Storm Desmond including floods that wrecked shops and homes, more rain is expected, but sadly no snow. The weather for most of the UK in fact is predicted to feature gales, wind, and rain. According to Sky News Weather there is likely to be snow anywhere with high altitude in the North, with Aberdeen and other parts of Scotland most likely to see snowfall on Christmas Day. A white Christmas is generally understood to be when at least an inch of snow has fallen.

In North America predictions have all cautioned that El Nino’s influence means that places accustomed to experiencing a white Christmas, might not this year. “Even if a snowfall were to occur on December 20 or December 21 across parts of the Midwest and Northeast, a relatively quick return to mild air could melt a lot of the snow,” Accuweather’s Ben Noll warned.

A snow scene and Christmas lights at a house in Brentry, Bristol.
A snow scene and Christmas lights at a house in Brentry, Bristol. Image by Ben Birchall/PA Wire

However, some areas have already started experiencing snowfall. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have put up a graphic showing the areas most and least likely to experience snowfall this Christmas. Minnesota, Maine, upstate New York, Idaho, West Virginia and the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania are among the states and regions most likely to see snowfall on 25 December. According to the graph Aspen, Colorado is one of a few locations with almost 100% probability of a white Christmas. Areas of the Carolinas were also reported to get some potential rare snowfall.

Some of Canada is already seeing snow and the likelihood of it remaining white for Christmas Day is mixed. In Montreal they are 70% likely to get a white and mild Christmas according to Environment Canada, and this is largely attributed to El Nino.

Snow and the "never-ending winter" has left New Yorkers feeling blue
Snow and the “never-ending winter” has left New Yorkers feeling blue Image by Antonio Quintano / CC BY 2.0

In Europe, many of the northern cities could see a white Christmas, with Prague, Warsaw, Helsinki, Rekjavik, Copenhagen all strong candidates for a white Christmas. The Alps are set to have a white Christmas, although the season started late this year due to a lack of snowfall.

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