Bookmaker Wiliam Hill today opened its book on the UK being treated to a white Christmas, with prices being assigned to 10 major UK airports. For many of us, snow is synonymous with Christmas - Bing Crosby even dreamt of it - but in the UK, snow or sleet falls an average of 3.5 days in December, with the MET Office able to accurately forecast whether snow is likely on any given Christmas Day up to five days beforehand.
Edinburgh and Newcastle Airports are current favourites, both 4-1 to experience wintry conditions on December 25. And despite its disruptive nature, Christmas is the one time of the year when the bothersome weather appears to get a free pass.
Leeds Bradford Airport is more than 700ft above sea level and holds the record for being the highest airport in the UK. It is therefore surprising to see it appear alongside the likes of Birmingham, London City Airport and Dublin on 6-1.
The popular pastime of betting on a white Christmas was in fact instituted by William Hill, and traditionally required a single snowflake to fall on the MET Office operations centre in London. Nowadays, and with that building long since sold - the national weather service now based in Devon, all that is needed to declare a white Christmas is the observation of a single snowflake falling in the 24 hours of December 25, at one of 10 major UK airports.
The UK has not seen snow on the ground on Christmas Day since 2015 when it was observed at a tenth of weather stations. Those 2015 flurries came five years after widespread snow and the coldest December for a century in 2010.
The last widespread white Christmas (2010) saw snow on the ground at 83% of weather stations (the highest amount ever recorded), while snow or sleet fell at 19% of stations. Technically though, 2017 was the last true white Christmas in the UK - with 11 percent of weather stations recording snow falling, but none recorded any on the ground.