What’s the UK weather forecast, will it snow this week and how cold does it need to be to snow?

Temperatures are expected to drop below zero and thunderous rain storms are also forecast. Here's the latest info on whether the snow is heading in your direction.

What's the latest weather forecast?

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for south-west England, starting at 4pm on Saturday and lasting until 7am on Sunday.

As temperatures fall next week, bookies have slashed the odds on every city in Britain seeing snow on Christmas Day.

Aberdeen is the most likely to see a White Christmas at 6/5 while London’s chances have been cut from 5/1 to 9/2.

Alex Apati, from Ladbrokes, said: “Weather-watching punters may be dreaming of a White Christmas, but the latest odds are suggesting they’ll be waking up to one and cashing in!”

But weatherman Derek Brockway urged caution saying the "milder air from the Atlantic will keep temperatures around or just above average".

 

He said: "It is still far too early to say for certain what weather we will have on Christmas Day. Even in some of the mild Decembers of the past few decades, short-lived cold spells did crop up and even produced short spells of snow."

Meteorologists say a "battleground scenario" of wet and wintry weather will play out over the next few weeks with snowfall coming and going until Christmas day.

The predictions give hope to Brits dreaming of a White Christmas this year.

ODDS ON A WHITE CHRISTMAS

Aberdeen – 6/5 (was 5/4)
Edinburgh – 6/4 (was 2/1)
Glasgow – 6/4 (was 2/1)
Newcastle – 9/4 (was 5/2)
Belfast – 3/1 (was 4/1)
Liverpool – 7/2 (was 4/1)
Manchester – 7/2 (was 4/1)
Birmingham – 4/1 (was 5/1)
Bristol – 9/2 (was 5/1)
Cardiff – 9/2 (was 5/1)
Dublin – 9/2 (was 5/1)
Leeds – 9/2 (was 5/1)
London – 9/2 (was 5/1)

(Ladbrokes latest betting)

How cold does it have to be to snow?

According to the Met Office, precipitation falls as snow when the air temperature is below 2C.

It is a myth that it needs to be below zero to snow.

In fact, in Britain, the heaviest snowfalls tend to occur when the air temperature is between zero and 2C. The falling snow does begin to melt as soon as temperatures rise above freezing, but as the melting process begins, the air around the snowflake is cooled.

Snowfall can be defined as slight, moderate or heavy. When combined with strong winds, a snowfall can create blizzards and drifts.

If the temperature is warmer than 2C then the snowflake will melt and fall as sleet rather than snow, and if it's warmer still, it will be rain.

What are the coldest UK winters on record?

Modern winters are nothing in comparison to those of the so-called “little ice-age” which lasted from 1350 until 1850.

These arctic winters resulted in the River Thames becoming frozen solid for months on end.

The worst UK winter on record was dubbed the "Great Frost", way back in 1683-84.

The Thames was covered in 11 inches of thick ice resulting in the famous Frost Fair — a festival held on the frozen river involving ice-skating, gambling and bear-baiting.

The winter of 1739-40 is one of the worst on record with a severe frost, which saw temperatures plummet to -9C, starting on Christmas Day and lasting until February 17.

The only time the River Thames has frozen in modern times was in the so-called “Big Freeze” of 1963 which saw the country covered in a thick blanket of snow.

Sheffield was one of the worst hit with four feet of the white stuff.

Another modern "snowmaggeddon" occurred during December 1978 and the early months of 1979.

Against a backdrop of political instability in the UK, the winter was the worst since 1963.

A bitterly cold wind smashed the country at the end of November 1978 bringing blizzards and snow showers.

The worst winter of the new century was in December 2010 which broke national records and covered Britain in ice and snow.

Once again dubbed the “Big Freeze”, the average temperature for the month, which was -1C, was the coldest for 100 years, the Met Office confirmed.

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