Will it be a white Christmas in 2021? Sheffield Met Office snow forecast and odds - and when was the last one

Sheffield experienced its first snowfall of the winter this week – but will it be a white Christmas this year?

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 4:02 pm

Storm Arwen brought heavy snow and ice to the city over the weekend, leaving some overjoyed at the chance to wrap up and make a snowman – and others struggling to get around and caught in traffic chaos.

Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny the snow left Sheffield looking like a Winter Wonderland as people wandered around the Christmas market in the city centre and began their festitivies.

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This is how likely it is to snow in Sheffield this Christmas - and when the Met Office last recorded a white Christmas in the UK. Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images.

Much like the song, many people will be dreaming of a white Christmas, hoping to wake up to a blanket of thick snow on the big day.

Every film, advert and music video depicts the same image for the holiday – opening the curtains to see flurries of snow falling in the cold.

But in reality, it’s not that common for the UK to experience a white Christmas – and it has been quite a while since we’ve had one in Sheffield.

The Met Office’s long range weather forecast now goes up to just after Christmas, and bookies have released their odds for the big day.

Snow fell in some areas of the UK at Christmas last year, but the Met Office has not yet forecast any snow for Sheffield this Christmas. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

But will it snow in Sheffield this Christmas? Here is everything we know so far.

Will there be a white Christmas in Sheffield this year?

There are still a few weeks until the big day so it is quite hard to say for sure, but the Met Office does issue a vague forecast for the week which covers the Christmas period – although this is subject to change going forward.

Bookies have slashed the odds on it snowing at Christmas recently and Betway has given odds of 7/2 for snow in Sheffield this Christmas.

Paddy Power is offering odds of 6/1 for a white Christmas in nearby Leeds, and there are also 4/1 odds for Birmingham and 4/1 in Newcastle.

Ladbrokes have the odds for a white Christmas in the UK at 5/4 – with a higher chance of snow in Scotland than in England.

However, more information and more accurate forecasts will become available as we get closer to Christmas.

What is the Met Office forecast for Christmas 2021 in Sheffield?

The Met Office has said it is too early to make a completely accurate prediction on whether or not it will snow in Sheffield this Christmas,

However, its long range forecast does currently run up to Wednesday, December 29.

At the moment, it is not looking too likely that it will snow, as slightly milder and wetter weather appear to be on the cards.The forecast reads: “Temperatures likely to be milder than earlier in the month, with temperatures near to above normal, although some colder spells remain possible.”

There is an ‘increased chance of overnight frost and fog’ around Christmas and New Year, although conditions are expected to be more settled than at the beginning of December.

The forecaster will update the information as we get closer to Christmas – as it can only ‘accurately forecast’ if snow is likely on any given Christmas Day up to five days beforehand.

What is the definition of a white Christmas?

It might surprise you but the Met Office’s definition of a white Christmas is a single snowflake falling within 24 hours of 25 December in a certain location in the UK.

That means areas could experience a white Christmas without seeing widespread, heavy snowfall.

The Met Office measures whether or not there has been a white Christmas using a number of locations, including its building in London, Buckingham Palace, Edinburgh Castle and Coronation Street in Manchester, amongst other places.

When was the last white Christmas in Sheffield?

The Met Office recorded 2020 as the last white Christmas in the UK, with 6 per cent of weather stations recording snow falling. However, only 4 per cent of stations reported any snow lying on the ground – and there wasn’t any in Sheffield.

The last widespread white Christmas in the UK was in 2010.

The forecaster says it was extremely unusual, as not only was there snow on the ground at 83 per cent of stations – the highest amount ever recorded – but snow or sleet also fell at 19 per cent of stations.

There was also a white Christmas in 2016 and 2017.

A white Christmas is actually quite an unlikely prospect in the UK, as snow is actually more common at the beginning of the year than the end.

The Met Office says: “For most parts of the United Kingdom, Christmas is only at the beginning of the period when it's likely to snow. We are more likely to see snow between January and March than in December, with snow or sleet falling an average 3.9 days in December, compared to 5.3 days in January, 5.6 days in February and 4.2 days in March.”

It adds: “Since 1960, around half of the years have seen at least 5 per cent of the network record snow falling on Christmas Day. This means we 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 per cent of stations in the UK reported snow on the ground at 9 am) four times since 1960—in 1981, 1995, 2009 and 2010.”