The Met Office has said there is a “risk of rain and snow” next week while other forecasters believe it could be a white Christmas as the weather freezes into the festive period
Britain could be in for a white Christmas with below freezing temperatures and snow, according to new forecast maps.
The UK has seen warm weather this week with 7C in Newcastle and even 9C in London.
But by this time next week, the country will experience plunging temperatures, with snow expected for many parts of the country.
WXCharts maps show where snow is predicted to fall – demonstrated by a wall of purple on the map.
They show snow and rain pushing northeastwards through Britain on December 23, with up to 3mm of snow falling over the north of Wales and the midlands at midday.
Snow will cover much of the country on Christmas Eve which will see even more unsettled weather, the maps show.
A total of 2cm of snow is expected to settle for most of the UK as temperatures fall to -1C in much of the country.
Into Christmas Day, snow will continue to fall in the north of England and much of the Midlands.
The north of England will see the heaviest snowfall by midday with 11cm of snow expected to settle on the ground around Leeds.
The south of England are not expected to wake up to snow, but they may see up to 5cm of the white stuff falling by 6pm, as well as overnight into Boxing Day.
Meteorologist James Madden, from Exacta Weather, told the Express : “Snow could arrive as early as Christmas Eve in parts of the south.
“Further snow is likely during the latter part of Christmas Day and on Boxing Day.”
Mr Madden said a Sudden Stratospheric Warming would “contribute to bringing a very cold easterly and the ever-increasing risk for widespread snow during the final third of December”.
He added: “Temperatures could also dip as low as -10C in the coldest and iciest areas over the festive period.”
Sleet and snow could continue to blanket swathes of Britain through Christmas and into New Year.
Jim Dale, of British Weather Services, said: “A White Christmas is definitely on.
“It will get colder through next week as high pressure breaks down and a system coming in on Christmas Eve clashes with cold conditions and brings snow.
“There is a chance of snow any time in any place.”
According to the Met Office, the definition of a White Christmas is when one snowflake is observed falling within the 24 hours of December 25 anywhere in the UK.
There have been four white Christmases in the past six years.
Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said: “We’ve had a few days of settled weather, we’ve been above average. From Wednesday onwards, lower pressure is moving in.
“For the Christmas period, it turns more unsettled and there is a risk of rain and snow.
UK weather forecast:
Low cloud and fog persisting for many, though with some sunny spells for Scotland and west Wales.
Some patchy light rain and drizzle at times in east and north.
Cloudy for most, but fog and low cloud lifting overnight.
Some clear periods to the lee of high ground, mainly west Wales, Scotland and north of Northern Ireland where frosty.
Cloudy again for many, though cloud may begin to break during the day with some sunshine as slightly cooler conditions spread in from the east.
Breezy in far southwest.
Outlook for Tuesday to Thursday:
Turning brighter but colder for most through Tuesday and Wednesday with overnight frost.
Becoming unsettled from the southwest on Thursday with rain perhaps turning to snow across hills further north.
Thursday to Saturday Jan 1
It is expected to turn unsettled towards Christmas, particularly in the south, as a front approaches bringing cloud to the southwest, as well as rain and possibly wintry conditions to parts of the country.
Whereas the drier weather may continue elsewhere for a time with variable cloud cover, although occasional showers may be possible for northern and eastern coastal regions.
Rather cold in the north but turning milder across the south.
During this time some stronger winds are possible, although these are likely to be confined to southern regions.
Settled conditions however, are likely to continue towards the end of the year with the potential for frost and fog.
Temperatures likely to be rather cold with overnight frosts and increased risk of fog.