How cold does it need to be to snow?

BBC Weather: UK warned of snow as temperatures fall

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Freezing conditions have been forecast across Britain this week. Many will be looking forward to the first snow flurries this winter, but just how far do temperatures have to drop before it snows?

After a mild Autumn, the Met Office has warned Britons to expect a cold snap from November 24.

The forecaster predicts the recent weeks’ unusually mild weather will be replaced by chilly winds, rain and even snow.

These wintery conditions could be in place for some time.

How cold does it have to be to snow?

A common misconception is that it needs to be below 2C for snow to fall.

In fact, in this country, the heaviest snowfalls usually happen when the air temperature is between zero and 2C, according to the Met Office.

But the snow does begin to melt as soon as the temperature rises above freezing.

If temperatures rise above 2C, then snowflakes will melt and fall as sleet rather than snow.

If the temperature rises even further, then it will be rain.

What conditions are needed for a blizzard?

Blizzards and drifts can be treacherous, causing commuter chaos and schools to close.

When snowfall is combined with strong winds, blizzards and drifts can develop.

What are the chances of a white Christmas?

With winter just around the corner, many will be hoping to get into the festive spirit with the prospect of a white Christmas on the cards.

As temperatures usually drop as we head deeper into the winter months, the likelihood of snow will increase.

But those hoping for a white Christmas may be disappointed.

Met Office meteorologist Tom Morgan told “As we would generally expect as we go into the winter months the risks of snow do increase across the whole of the UK.

“But there’s certainly nothing out of the ordinary anticipated and any widespread snow at this range is very difficult to predict in terms of the timings of it.

“But the longer-term forecast is for temperatures to most likely be above average, so even into December the risk of snow is not expected to be widespread or particularly disruptive.”

But we might see a last-minute cold snap arrive in time for December 25, as long-range forecasts are notoriously hard to accurately predict.

The Met Office said it can accurately predict if snow is likely to fall on Christmas Day up to five days beforehand.

Britons hoping for a white Christmas will have to wait until December 20 to know for sure.

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