Published: 13:31, 03 November 2021
| Updated: 15:04, 03 November 2021
Will the UK see a white Christmas this year?
Those who enjoy the light hearted annual debate, as to whether families will wake up to a winter wonderland on Christmas morning, can place their bets now as bookmaker William Hill has opened its book on the likelihood of snow on December 25.
The pastime of betting on the chances of a snowfall at Christmas was in fact instituted by William Hill, which this week assigned prices to 10 major UK airports and made northerly duo Edinburgh and Newcastle the current favourites for festive flurries.
For many of us snow is synonymous with the Christmas period, but in the UK snow - or sleet - only falls for an average of just three and a half days in December with the Met Office onlyc able to forecast whether snow is likely on any given Christmas Day up to about five days beforehand.
Traditionally a white Christmas required a single snowflake to fall on the Met Office operations centre in London.
But with that city building long since sold, and national weather services now based in the West Country, all that is required to declare an official white Christmas is the observation of a single snowflake falling in the 24 hours of December 25 at one of the UK's 10 major airports.
With that in mind - according to William Hill - Edinburgh and Newcastle Airports are current favourites with both holding odds of 4-1 to experience wintry conditions on December 25.
Leeds Bradford Airport, which is more than 700ft above sea level and holds the record for being the highest airport in the UK, currently appears alongside the likes of Birmingham, London City Airport and Dublin with odds of 6-1.
Manchester is 13/2 while Bristol, Liverpool and Cardiff Airports are 8-1.
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 when a staggering 83% of weather stations reported snow - which was the highest amount ever recorded.
But technically, says the bookmarker, it was 2017 that was the last year on record to have enjoyed a white Christmas with records of snowflakes falling despite no weather stations actually recording any of the icy stuff actually settling on the ground.