Will it snow in the UK in 2023? Latest snow forecast

We look at the weather predictions for the UK and when snow is next forecast

A snowy garden in the UK
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Will it snow in the UK again is the question on many people's lips as another cold snap descends.

After the snowfall in the UK back in December 2022, many wanted to know whether we would have a white Christmas and how cold it has to be for schools to close, as parents stockpiled winter weather gear such as kids' winter boots and waterproof gloves.

And while the festive period is long gone, the evenings are lighter and we're finally past the shortest day of the year, more low temperatures are on the horizon. While many are desperate to know when it will get warmer in the UK, others are wondering if it will snow again.

Will it snow in the UK in 2023?

Many areas of the UK have already seen snow in 2023, and some weather maps have predicted that there could be more snow to come, as low pressure from Scandinavia could result in a drop in temperature in the UK.

Brian Gaze, director and forecaster at the Weather Outlook, told Express.co.uk: "Computer models are suggesting that winter may have one final trick up its sleeve for the UK," adding, "High pressure is expected to build over Greenland and that opens the gates for a plunge of very cold Arctic air to sweep southwards towards the UK."

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The Met Office explains that for snow to fall, the air needs to be cold enough and there needs to be a supply of moisture. To get cold air in the UK, there needs to be winds from the north or east, but the most common wind direction in the UK is south-westerly - making snow a rare occurrence in most areas.

If there is an easterly wind, it either needs to meet a rain-bearing weather front and turn it into snow, or for the cold air to pick up enough moisture from its short journey across the North Sea, to form showers. 

When is it going to snow in the UK?

If the UK does see snow as a result of the oncoming cold snap, it is most likely to fall over the weekend, on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April.

But while the Met Office has also forecast a drop in temperatures over the weekend - falling to as low as 6C in part of Scotland by Tuesday 25 April - the weather service hasn't predicted snow.

However, the Met Office explains that snow forecasting in the UK is difficult, because as it’s so cold high up in the atmosphere, most precipitation either starts off as snow or supercooled raindrops. As it falls to earth, it moves through warmer air most of the time and melts into rain.

They add that weather fronts mark the boundary between cold air and warm air, so when a weather system moves in, there will be warm air and moisture wrapped up in it. While we need the moisture for snow to form, the warm air makes it very tricky to forecast. This is because as the warm air bumps into the cold air, the air mixes together and makes the cold air slightly warmer, and the warm air slightly colder, and so then rain becomes more likely.

Therefore, there’s a fine line between who sees snow and who sees rain - sometimes a fraction of a degree is the difference between rain and snow.

Where will it snow in the UK this winter?

Brian Gaze said that if snow were to fall, it is most likely to occur in the north and over high ground - as is often the cast with snowfall in the UK.

He said: "The cold conditions are most likely to impact the north and that is where the risk of snow is the greatest, but it's not out of the question that it could extend to southern Britain for a time, particularly over high ground."

Will it snow in London in 2023?

London has seen snow in 2023, but no more snow has been forecast for the capital.

Snow is rare in London, and World Atlas says data from the Met Office has shown "on average, the central parts of London experience less than 10 days of snow or sleet every year...for the few days that it snows in the central parts of London, the snow rarely settles since it melts away extremely fast."

The outskirts of London as well as areas with higher altitudes tend to get more snow, as the urban centre of the capital often has a higher temperature. This causes snow to melt more quickly and makes it unlikely that snowflakes will settle. 

The exception to this, of course, was the 'Beast from the East' in 2018, which saw the entire UK experience 10 days of heavy snow in late February. 

London's Tower Bridge in the snow

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How much snow does the UK usually get?

According to the Met Office, the UK gets on average 23.7 days of snowfall or sleet a year. The majority of this snow falls on higher ground where temperatures are lower.

In Scotland, the figure is much higher, with snow or sleet falling on 38.1 days out of the year on average. The Cairngorms in Scotland are statistically the snowiest place in the UK, with 76.2 days of snow or sleet falling per year on average.

In contrast, Cornwall is the least likely to get snow, with an average of only 7.4 days of snow or sleet falling a year.

However, because most of this snow does not settle, the number of days the UK sees snow on the ground is much lower. On average, there are 15.6 days a year where snow is on the ground in the UK, compared to 26.2 days in Scotland.

How cold are the temperatures predicted to get in the UK?

The Met Office's long range forecast has said that temperatures are likely to be below average for the next couple of weeks, before beginning to rise again.

For the period of Sunday 23 April - Tuesday 2 May, the weather service says, "The risk of rain and wintry showers affecting northern areas will reduce through the period. More settled conditions further south may be replaced by an increasing likelihood of cloud and rain. Temperatures below average early in this period but likely returning back to around average."

They add that following this period, "temperatures [are] likely to trend upwards...with above average temperatures more likely than below average temperatures during early and mid-May."

Data from the Met Offices UK climate averages shows that from the period of 1991 to 2020 the average minimum temperature in the UK in May is 6.25°C, while the average maximum temperature is 15.3°C, which is higher than in April, which sees a maximum of 12.03°C and but a minimum of 3.75°C.

Average temperatures in the UK in May by country:

  • England - Minimum 6.95°C, maximum 16.20°C
  • Scotland - Minimum 4.98°C, maximum 13.37°C
  • Wales - Minimum 6.64°C, maximum 15.21°C
  • Northern Ireland - Minimum 6.21°C, maximum 14.82°C

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Ellie Hutchings
Features Editor

Ellie is Goodto’s Feature Editor, having joined the team as a Junior Features Writer in 2022, and covers everything from wellbeing for parents to the latest TV and entertainment. Ellie has covered all the latest trends in the parenting world, including baby names, parenting hacks, and foodie tips for busy families. She has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University, and previously Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies.