Will it snow?
The best way to find out is to look at the forecast charts at
and select ‘HGT 500-1000’ from the ‘select chart type’ menu
If the 528dam line is South of where you are, and there is a forecast of precipitation, then that precipitation is likely to be snow.
Image of the UK, 5th December 2012
What is the 528dam line?
528dam = 5280m
It is the vertical distance between the 1000mb height (somewhere near the ground) and the 500mb height (somewhere in the middle of the troposphere). As warm air is less dense than cold air, the smaller this distance, the colder the air is.
It is also worth having a look at a cross section through the atmosphere for example at http://www.wetter3.de/ – select ‘Vertikalschnitte’ which gives a longtitude/ height cross section for 50N (move the pointer on the right side of the left hand map to change the latitude of the cross section). The air between the clouds and the ground has to be cold for snow to reach the ground.
When do we get snow in the UK?
More information from the Met Office about Snow in the UK.
More from the BBC about White Christmasses.
Snow inspired science teaching ideas from Science in School.