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The White Christmas Map

The mental image of a White Christmas is iconic, beautiful, irreplaceable. It's also a rare symbol of true, pure British optimism.

The chance of seeing snowfall on Christmas Day is still as depressingly low as it ever was, let alone witnessing a beautiful white blanket on Christmas morn.

But just how low are those chances, I hear you ask?

5.4%. Based on historic December snowfall, the chance of us in England seeing snow on Christmas Day is 5.4%.

But where should you head if you want to see a fabulous White Christmas - and which countries are even more hopeless than ours?


White Christmas MapWhite Christmas Chart


England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Ireland and Wales are all remarkably close together, but there is a definitive ranking:

  1. Scotland - 6.8%
  2. England - 5.4%
  3. Northern Ireland - 5.7%
  4. Wales, Ireland - 3.9%

Russia (63.1%), Belarus (55.6%) and Estonia (50.9%) officially top the tables when it comes to the likelihood of a White Christmas - and there are a whopping 127 countries with a veritable zero percent chance.

Across Europe, Norway (43.4%), Iceland (40.9%), Sweden (33.7%), Poland (30.1%) and the Czech Republic (27.6%) make for some of the more picturesque destinations if you want to see shimmering snow on your Christmas morning.

Bizarrely, there's still hope for Monaco, Italy, Albania and the Vatican - who cling on with a 0.4% chance of snow (or one in every 250 Christmases).

On the other end of the spectrum, 127 countries have a 0% chance of seeing a White Christmas based on historic December snowfall - that's almost 65% of countries around the world.


Believe it or not there's actually an official definition for what constitutes a 'White Christmas':

The definition that the Met Office uses to define a white Christmas is for one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December somewhere in the UK

Pretty simple, really. The Met Office traditionally used the Met Office building in London as its marker, but betting on White Christmas resulted in alternate sites being included, including the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Coronation Street in Manchester.


In terms of the UK and Ireland specifically, there's also a city-by-city ranking for places most likely to see snow:

  1. Inverness (Scotland) - 13.6%
  2. Aberdeen (Scotland) - 13.3%
  3. Bradford (England) - 12.9%
  4. Stirling (Scotland) - 12.5%
  5. Newry (Northern Ireland) - 10.0%

White Christmas Chart - UK

Unsurprisingly, it's t'up North racking up the snow days, though with Wolverhampton and Birmingham (9.7%) representing in equal 6th, the Midlands could potentially see more than its fair share.

Down South is much less likely to see a White Christmas with Truro, Swansea and Plymouth all sitting below a 3% chance - though Waterford and Galway prove Ireland isn't looking too likely either (2.42% each).


We also wanted to take a look across the US to discover which states have higher hopes of a White Christmas - apparently our 'murican brothers love the concept of a White Christmas as much as we do.

Who's looking at snowy streets Stateside, then?

  1. Alaska - 63.8%
  2. Vermont - 52.3%
  3. Minnesota - 36.9%
  4. Montana - 34.4%
  5. Michigan - 33%

Of course, this is still going on the classic British definition of a white Christmas - if Alaska isn't already covered in snow on Christmas day, then something has gone severely wrong.

White Christmas MapWhite Christmas Chart - USA


Countries Most Likely to See a White Christmas

Country Percentage Chance
Russia 63.1%
Belarus 55.6%
Estonia 50.9%
Lithuania 50.2%
Greenland 48.7%
Finland 48.4%
Ukraine 46.6%
Canada 45.5%
Kazakhstan 43.7%
Norway 43.4%
Latvia 41.2%
Iceland 40.9%
Croatia 39.1%
Bosnia and Herzegovina 35.8%
Sweden 33.7%
Poland 30.1%
Czech Republic 27.6%
Andorra 27.6%
Kosovo 25.8%

Full data available here.


UK Cities Most Likely to See a White Christmas

City Country Percentage Chance
Inverness Scotland 13.6%
Aberdeen Scotland 13.3%
Bradford England 12.9%
Stirling Scotland 12.5%
Newry Northern Ireland 10.0%
Birmingham England 9.7%
Wolverhampton England 9.7%
Carlisle England 9.0%
Stoke-on-Trent England 9%
Derby England 8.6%
Armagh Northern Ireland 8.2%
Glasgow Scotland 8.2%
Lichfield England 7.9%
Leicester England 7.5%
Cambridge England 7.5%
Peterborough England 7.5%
Lincoln England 7.5%
Portsmouth England 7.2%
Newcastle upon Tyne England 7.2%
Coventry England 7.2%
Gloucester England 7.2%
Dundee Scotland 6.8%

Full data available here.


US States Most Likely to See a White Christmas

State State Capital Percentage Chance
Alaska Juneau 63.8%
Vermont Montpelier 52.3%
Minnesota Saint Paul 36.9%
Montana Helena 34.4%
Michigan Lansing 33%
North Dakota Bismarck 31.9%
Wisconsin Madison 31.5%
Utah Salt Lake City 29.7%
Idaho Boise 28%
Nevada Carson City 27.2%
Maine Augusta 25.1%
South Dakota Pierre 24.7%
Wyoming Cheyenne 22.6%
Iowa Des Moines 21.9%
Indiana Indianapolis 21.1%
New Mexico Santa Fe 20.8%
West Virginia Charleston 20.1%
New York Albany 19.4%
Ohio Columbus 19.4%
New Hampshire Concord 19.4%

Full data available here.


Data

Data collected from World Weather Online.

Each country's chance of snowfall was calculated from 9 years of December snowfall data - 2009 through 2017 - in each country's capital city.

The total number of days of snowfall in December in each year were added together to work out the percentage chance of snow falling on a typical December day.

You can find the data in full via this link.

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