Dreams of a White Christmas may well come true this year, according to Ice Watch’s own in-house meteorologist – but perhaps not in the format Bing Crosby sings about.
While the probable lack of any aesthetically pleasing precipitation on the big day means Ice Watch’s snow ploughs won’t be out and about, the gritters are likely to be kept busy throughout the festive season, as they have been over the past few weeks.
The bright sunny clear skies we’ve been enjoying during the day have a flipside – cold overnight ground temperatures – which means car parks, paths and cycleways can get very slippy underfoot.
Ice Watch is the only winter maintenance company in the UK to have its own in-house full-time meteorologist. And Timo Strom is extra busy at this time of year, analysing data from weather forecasting partner MeteoGroup (which also supplies forecasts to the BBC and hundreds of government agencies worldwide).
Timo explained the chances of a ‘meteorological’ white Christmas versus a Bing Crosby style affair.
“In technical terms, all it takes for the UK to have a white Christmas is for one snowflake to be recorded at any of the 200 plus Met Office weather stations, within the 24 hours of Christmas Day. So actually, a white Christmas is quite likely!”
According to the Met Office, there has been a white Christmas 38 times over the last 54 years.
“Snow settling is a lot more unlikely though. There have only been four times in the last 51 years when more than 40 per cent of the Met Office stations have recorded snow lying on the ground on Christmas Day.”
“There are signs that this Christmas is looking quite dry across the southern half of England and Wales. But with low pressure centred to the North of the UK, this could bring some precipitation over Scotland which could be wintry over the high ground of the Scottish Highlands. So there is the potential for a white Christmas - but perhaps not the one you were hoping for!”
MeteoGroup’s 120-strong team of meteorologists and its state-of-the-art technology provide ultra-accurate forecasting, which enables the Ice Watch team to distribute its manpower in the most efficient and effective way over the winter.
This includes ensuring the snow desk is manned 24/7 during times of predicted snowfall, planning precisely when gritting teams need to start work to enjoy maximum benefit from the salt supplies, and ensuring snow clearing teams are on standby for a callout.
Organisations signed up with Ice Watch will receive a precisely tailored winter gritting service based on real time forecasts.