As we enter the final hours before Christmas and temperatures begin to plummet once more, the thoughts of many Britons are inevitably turning towards whether the country will finally see the fabled blankets of snow we promise ourselves every year on a million greetings cards but which rarely actually materialise.
Our obsession with the phenomenon cannot be blamed solely on Charles Dickens, who depicted memorably snowy Christmases in The Pickwick Papers and “A Christmas Carol”, as it was a regular occurrence between 1550 and 1850, when the UK was in the grip of a “Little Ice Age” and endured temperatures so low that it was still possible to hold a “Frost Fair” on the frozen surface of the River Thames in London as late as the winter of 1813/14.
Bing Crosby’s famous song “White Christmas” from the 1954 film of the same name, first groaned by the American crooner in the earlier Holiday Inn, has also unquestionably played an important role in planting the idea within the popular imagination, its association of the yearning for winter snows with sorrow at the loss of one’s youth as irresistibly poignant a theme as it is universal.
So how about our prospects for 2021?
There is also a chance of some snow in England but meteorologists said “this exact location is still uncertain”, with the Peak District, Pennines and Southern Uplands thought to be most likely.
Deputy chief meteorologist Chris Bulmer said: “The Christmas period will be a fairly unsettled spell across the UK this year. Many will see wet and cloudy conditions as mild air dominates over the south and west of the UK.
“Where this mild air meets colder air trying to sink south there is a chance of some Christmas snow, this is looking most likely over the Pennines, however exactly where this boundary will be is still uncertain. In the far north cold conditions and clearer skies will bring a more wintry feel.