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Not much point dreaming of snow on Christmas Day in Suffolk, but we could see a white Easter

PUBLISHED: 10:49 14 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:02 14 December 2016

Snow scenes at Christchuch Park as Ipswich had a white Christmas in 1970

Snow scenes at Christchuch Park as Ipswich had a white Christmas in 1970

Archant

With Christmas just around the corner, the big question on everyone's lips in Ipswich is will it be a white one?

The average chance fo a white Christmas in the UKThe average chance fo a white Christmas in the UK

Suffolk and Essex have not had a classic white Christmas for decades, when the perfect combination of cold air and precipitation come together to dust the ground with snow.

The idea of the picture perfect Christmas morning – waking up with snowflakes gently falling, a carpet of fresh white snow making the view outside look like one of the cards on the mantlepiece – is most people’s dream.

But it is a rare occurrence, especially in the south east of the country, with the last widespread white Christmas happening six years ago.

Many will remember the perfect white Christmas of 1970, where fresh snow fell on the day, people took their sledges to Christchurch Park in Ipswich and a brave few took a dip in the town’s outdoor pool at Broomhill. Some even took to their skis in Bury St Edmunds.

Having fun sledging in Christchurch Park in Ipswich on December 27, 1970 - that year saw a white ChristmasHaving fun sledging in Christchurch Park in Ipswich on December 27, 1970 - that year saw a white Christmas

Chris Bell, forecaster at Weatherquest, says it looks unlikely we will experience a white Christmas this year as it is set to be too warm for the flakes to fall.

“Snow at Christmas is not a very likely thing to happen, but in general there’s only a pretty small chance anyway,” he said. “In fact, it is more likely to snow at Easter than at Christmas.

Frozen smiles all round as the snow falls on the Christmas Day swim at Broomhill pool in 1970Frozen smiles all round as the snow falls on the Christmas Day swim at Broomhill pool in 1970

“The short answer is it is too soon to know for sure.

“Weather forecasts like this in general, if you are giving a day specific forecast, are an uncertainty and we are still 12 days away from Christmas.

Sledging in Christchurch Park on December 27, 1970 after a white ChristmasSledging in Christchurch Park on December 27, 1970 after a white Christmas

“But the pattern between now and the 23rd and 24th looks pretty mild, in fact we are not going to see much frost even over the next five or six days.

“For snow you are talking temperatures of freezing or just above, nothing like that looks like it is going to happen.”

The likelihood of having a white Christmas is just 6% in London, 15% in Birmingham and 35% in Glasgow – with the probability in Suffolk and Essex at just 10%.

Mr Bell said there are a perfect set of circumstances that need to come together at the same time for it to snow.

“You really need air temperatures of around freezing, but you also need something to produce precipitation,” he said.

“In the case of this region, the most likely times you see snow showers happen is when you get a very cold flow of air from eastern Europe or Scandinavia moving over a cold sea.

“That’s one way.

“The other way is if you have very cold air already and low pressure moves south of us at the English Channel. On the northern side it would be very cold and would get snow.”

Mr Bell said there is always an argument about what actually makes a full-on white Christmas anyway.

“For the bookies they are clearly looking for one flake of snow to fall at different weather stations at any time in the 24-hour period on the 25th.

“You could have a marginally cold day and have one or two flakes of snow fall.

“I can remember a few years ago there was still snow on the ground on Christmas Day, but it didn’t snow on the day.

“But it still looked like a white Christmas.”

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