Slim chance of a white Christmas, according to local weatherman

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Scott Whitehead Scott Whitehead

Wanstead’s local weatherman has predicted Christmas Day will mainly be dry and cloudy, with only a slim chance of a white Christmas.

Scott Whitehead, 41, has his own weather station in his garden in Wanstead Park Avenue, Aldersbrook, and has put together statistics from the borough’s last 53 Christmases to form the prediction.

He found the average maximum Christmas day temperature in the area to be 7.5°C, the minimum to be 2.9°C, with average rainfall of 2.4mm and 1.2 hours of sunshine.

Mr Whitehead predicted a wet Christmas may be more likely, with a 47 per cent chance of rain.

The definition of a white Christmas is described by bookies as, at a minimum, a single snowflake falling in the 24 hours either side of December 25 at a specific location recognised by the Met Office.

Mr Whitehead said: “Technically there has not been a white Christmas in Wanstead for over 30 years and it has rained on 12 out of the last 33.

“However there has been snow on several Boxing Days, notably 1995 and 1996.

“Christmas day in Wanstead, on the balance of probability and from previous patterns, is most likely to be green and mostly cloudy, but a dry one.”

Mr Whitehead explains that precipitation falls as snow when the air temperature is below 2°C and the heaviest snowfalls tend to occur when the air temperature is between zero and 2°C.

The falling snow begins to melt as soon as the temperature rises above freezing, but as the melting process begins, the air around the snowflake is cooled.

Mr Whitehead maintains there is still an outside chance that a white December 25 may happen.

“If it does turn very cold on December 24, pray for clouds to appear and we could be in with a chance. But at the end of the day we still need that vital combination of temperature and moisture.

“Snow, like Christmas in that sense, requires some magic.”

Bookies' odds for a white Christmas in London currently stand at 5/1, with the last record of snow falling in London on December 25 going back to 2001, according to the Met Office. 

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