London is England’s largest city as well as the United Kingdom’s capital. The climate in the old city is temperate oceanic, with variable temperatures throughout the year.
Summers are hot and humid, whereas winters are often pleasant and not too chilly. It rarely snows in London.
The city of London, as a huge urban center, experiences a form of climate associated with large cities, known as the urban heat island effect.
As a result, the temperature in central London is occasionally somewhat higher (by around 9° F) than in the suburbs on the periphery. Because the core section is warmer than the outskirts, there is even less snowfall in the central region than in the suburbs.
In the winter, snowfall has been uncommon in London; between 1961 and 1990, it fell on an average of 16 days per year, though rarely significantly. Since 1990, this number has dropped dramatically. Thunderstorms are another common occurrence, happening up to 16 days per year on average.
According to the Met Office, the core portions of London experience less than 10 days of snow or sleet on average each year. Between 1981 and 2010, the entire United Kingdom received an average of 23.7 days of sleet or snowfall every year.
When it snows in central London for a few days, the snow rarely stays because it melts away so quickly. Snowfall is heavier on the outskirts of the city and in locations with higher elevations.
It is due to a peculiar weather pattern exacerbated by global warming. Hot air from North Africa has been blowing all the way up to northern Europe thanks to southerly winds. Temperatures have risen to record levels as a result of the pattern lasting for several days and the UK being warmer than it used to be.
It could be beneficial in certain respects. However, if we become accustomed to a scenario in which very little snow is the norm, it is probable that we will be less prepared for a major snow event if, owing to variability, we are suddenly hit with a severe snow event.
Because, ultimately, I believe it’s a question of how much infrastructure for clearing snow do you invest in compared to the likelihood of it actually happening? So it is a financial choice.
Does London Ever Snow?
If you live outside of Zone 3, it is doubtful that you have seen snow in London in what feels like a decade. It never gets to the point where you are forced to work from home or, if you are a kid, “forced” to miss a day of school because the roads have been blocked with snow.
Instead, there is precipitation and sleet, as well as delayed but eventually functional buses, ready to take you wherever you would not want to be.
There is a lot of year-to-year fluctuation in the snow in central London from 1960 onwards, although there is a downward tendency in the snow. In comparison to the 1980s and 1960s, there has been significantly less snow in the past few decades.
The number of days with snow lying, which is defined as the snow covering at least half of the ground at 09:00 GMT, and the number of days of sleet and snow falling at any moment throughout the day, were estimated using normal 30-year averages by the Met Office.
When we compare statistics from 1961 to 1990 with those from 1981 to 2010, we can see that the number of days of snow falling and sleet in central London has decreased from 21 to 10 every year. In addition, the number of days with snow has decreased from eight to five.
So, while it is still an exceptional occurrence, it is becoming substantially less common.
Also, white Christmases used to exist in London, but London hasn’t had one since 2010, and there have only been three recorded instances before that. Even so, it is rare for the snow to settle in London.
What Months Does It Snow In London?
The snowy days in London are mostly expected to be from December to February but they last only 3 to 5 days a month.
Fortunately, the snow does not stay on the ground for long, and it melts away quickly most of the time.
London has at least a centimeter of snow on the ground for around 84 days of the year. The snowpack is roughly 11 cm deep in mid-winter. Snow begins to gather in late December and continues to do so throughout January. The snow had mostly melted by the end of March.
According to the Met Office, the core portions of London experience less than 10 snowy days on average each year. Between 1981 and 2010, the entire United Kingdom received an average of 23.7 days of sleet or snowfall every year.
Despite the fact that London is colder in the winter, typical temperatures of 2 to 6°C (36 to 43°F) ensure you will be able to fully enjoy the city, just bundle up warm! The Christmas lights, activities, and decorations that take place throughout December are an added treat.
February is the coldest month in London, with an average low of 39°F and a high of 48°F.
London, a large metropolitan center, experiences the urban heat island effect, a type of climate associated with large cities.
As a result, the temperature in central London is sometimes slightly higher (by roughly 9° F) than in the outskirts. Because the core is warmer than the outside, the central region receives even less snow than the suburbs.
And even if it snows for a few days in central London, the snow rarely sticks because it melts so quickly. On the outskirts of town and in areas with higher elevations, snowfall is heavier.
When Was The Last Time London Snowed?
The last heavy snowfall which hit London and the southeast happened to be in March 2018, yet it missed Christmas. We need to go back to December 2010 for some snowy fun.
As for Christmas, the last time London saw a widespread snowfall was in 2010. Not only was there snow on the ground at 83 percent of stations (the largest amount ever recorded), but sleet or snow also fell at 19 percent of stations, making it exceedingly rare.
Natural climate variability has occasionally dropped London into sub-zero temperatures over decades and centuries.
It’s because of a strange weather pattern brought on by global warming. Due to southerly winds, hot air from North Africa has been blowing all the way up to northern Europe. As a result of the pattern spanning many days and London being warmer than usual, temperatures have surged to record highs.
However, global warming is shifting the odds away from the weather we are accustomed to. People in London have become used to substantially warmer, wetter winters with less snowy days.
Why Does It Not Snow In London Anymore?
The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean circulation that originates in the Caribbean, has a significant impact on London’s weather. Ocean temperatures off the coast of England are usually in the 40s throughout the winter. When arctic air does arrive, it has been altered by its journey across large stretches of water.
The Met Office released global temperature data showing that the recent decade has been the warmest on record for the globe as a whole and that seven of the ten warmest years in London have occurred in the 2000s.
According to Met Office’s study, the explanation for a decrease in cold spells in the UK is likely linked to climate change; similarly, a rise in warm spells throughout the summer is probably linked to climate change.
“The rest of the country, including London, has enjoyed a reasonably mild winter so far with very little snow, aside from over the hilltops and mountains of Scotland and northern England,” a Met Office representative told MyLondon.
Natural climate variability has occasionally dropped the UK into sub-zero temperatures over decades and centuries. However, global warming is shifting the odds away from the weather we are accustomed to. People in London are being used to the substantially wetter and warmer winters.
Finally, if we wish to try to reverse the growing trend in global temperature, world leaders must make a major global policy decision. The global climate reacts slowly, and there is a huge lag in the system.
Even if all emissions were stopped immediately, it would take a long time for the signal to reach the global temperature. It’s not like we can do anything to make snowfall in London again.
Flurries of snow have been falling in certain parts of the UK since before Christmas, but our capital is yet to see a single speck.
Temperatures in the city have also been abnormally warm for past years, and we can’t help but wonder why especially given how much the Londoners like a snow day.
Besides London having lesser snowy days, it could be beneficial in certain respects. However, if we become accustomed to a scenario in which very little snow is the norm, it is probable that we will be less prepared for a major snow event if, owing to variability, we are suddenly hit with a severe snow event.