Christmas weather

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Most will experience an unsettled Christmas, with the greatest chance of some snow over high ground in northern England and Scotland.

After a fine and dry start for many across the UK on Wednesday, increasing cloud and then rain will move in from the southwest, heralding a more unsettled spell of weather that will continue through the Christmas period.

As the initial band of rain bumps into colder air over Scotland there will be a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow over the high ground with up to 5cm of snow accumulating over 400-500m in elevation. However, some of this may fall as freezing rain, which would bring an ice risk to the Southern Uplands this afternoon and then the Highlands this evening and overnight. A Yellow warning for Ice has been issued for these regions from 14:00 Wednesday to 04:00 Thursday morning.

Elsewhere bands of rain will continue to push north-eastwards across the UK through Wednesday and Thursday. Some heavy snow is likely over high ground in northern Scotland on Thursday night, but the amount that affects roads is still slightly uncertain.

Friday will see further showery rain moving north-eastwards across the UK with colder and drier conditions over Scotland.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day will see continued rain across Wales as well as central and southern England. Further north, where the boundary between milder and colder air is, there is a chance of some snow, primarily over high ground. This exact location is still uncertain, however, Pennine areas and then the Southern Uplands later are the most likely to see snow. Further north, in the cold air, skies will be clearer with sunshine and lower daytime temperatures.

Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Chris Bulmer, said: “The Christmas period will be a fairly unsettled spell across the UK this year. Many will see wet and cloudy conditions as mild air dominates over the south and west of the UK. Where this mild air meets colder air trying to sink south there is a chance of some Christmas snow, this looking most likely over the Pennines, however exactly where this boundary will be is still uncertain. In the far north cold conditions and clearer skies will bring a more wintry feel. For many areas a brisk easterly wind will bring a notable wind chill”

Further ahead

The forecast out towards New Year looks to remain unsettled, with mild air from the southwest bringing wet and at times windy conditions.