White Christmas: will it snow on 25 December, 2013?

The chances of a white Christmas are improving - according to the bookies at least.

Paddy Power is offering 2-1 odds of Manchester and Glasgow having a sprinkling of the white stuff on 25 December and the odds of a white Christmas in the capital have improved to 9/4.

In late November, the Daily Express declared that Britons should "Get ready for 'three months of winter hell'". But since then forecasters have suggested that the chances of snow in December are far from guaranteed.  William Hill is offering odds of 33/1 on Christmas Day being the coldest on record.

But with temperatures taking a dive this week, the chances of seeing some snow on the big day seem to have improved slightly. William Hill is offering 3/1 odds on a White Christmas in Aberdeen, but rather longer odds - 6/1 - on London getting a dusting of the white stuff.

Overall, the company's white Christmas odds have lengthened slightly since a week ago when it was offering 4/1 odds on the capital being blanketed with snow.

So, snow is still reasonably likely, particularly in northern parts of the country, but don't bet the house on it.

The Met Office's long-range forecast for the period from 20 December to 3 January suggests we won't be digging ourselves out of snow drifts on the big day. Temperatures should "be staying around normal" across the UK, it says. But there's a caveat: any forecast looking beyond five days is subject to change, the Met says.

The willigetawhitechristmas website suggests there's a "50 per cent" chance of snow on Christmas Day in London. Oddly, it suggests there's exactly the same chance of snow in Glasgow.

Netweather.tv is less confident it will snow on 25 December suggesting the chance of a dusting in Southern England is only 20 per cent. Scots have a better chance - 40 per cent - of getting their toboggans out of the garden shed.

Ultimately, it seems, we're not heading for the coldest Christmas on record and the chance of a Bing Crosby-esque white Christmas appears to be slipping. But as the Met Office points out, it's too early to say.

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