Does it snow in Glasgow – and what can you expect from winter weather here?
While Glasgow is located quite far north, it doesn’t snow as much here as you may think, largely thanks to its maritime location.
But it can snow here, and usually does a few days a year.
We’re talking all things Glasgow snow in this post!
Does it snow in Glasgow?
Glasgow, Scotland’s second city, is chilly in winter – but it doesn’t necessarily snow!
In fact, snow in Glasgow is different every year.
The city’s close to the sea which can lead to unpredictable winter weather, including snowfall.
However, that said, it’s usually more rainy and frosty in the winter months than snowy – kind of similar to Edinburgh.
But when it does settle, the city’s transformed!
The frequency and intensity of snow in Glasgow can vary greatly from one year to the next.
How often does it snow in Glasgow?
Snowfall in Glasgow isn’t as regular as in other Scottish cities.
The city’s winters are usually marked more by rain than by snow – more similar to England to the south.
Glasgow’s maritime climate means it’s protected somewhat from extreme weather, including heavy snow. On average, you might see snow turning the city white a few times each winter, often in January and February.
But it’s not every year that these snowfalls are substantial enough to cover the city for more than a day or two.
And when it does snow, it doesn’t usually settle!
When does it snow in Glasgow?
Glasgow can see snowflakes from December through March, with the likelihood increasing as the winter deepens.
January and February are the months with the highest chance of snow, and they correlate with the dip in temperatures.
Snowfall before December or after March is not unheard of, but it’s infrequent and typically doesn’t accumulate much.
Does it snow in Glasgow in November?
It rarely snows in November in Glasgow.
The autumnal weather still holds well into the month, and while temperatures start to drop, they are usually not low enough to allow snow to form.
If snow does fall, it tends to be a light dusting that disappears quickly, with no significant accumulation.
Does it snow in Glasgow in December?
As the festive season approaches, the chances of snowfall in Glasgow slightly increase.
December can see snow, but it’s typically not extensive or persistent.
It’s more common to have cold, crisp days, perhaps with frost, than heavy snow blanketing the city.
Does it snow in Glasgow in January?
January is one of the peak months for potential snowfall in Glasgow.
The temperatures are often at their lowest, which can lead to snow showers.
But still, heavy or lasting snow is not guaranteed and, when it does snow, it often melts away within a few days.
Does it snow in Glasgow in February?
February continues the trend with a reasonable (but not high) chance of snow.
The temperatures can still dip enough to allow for snow to fall and settle, but like January, substantial snow that stays around for more than a couple of days is infrequent!
Does it snow in Glasgow in March?
March marks the beginning of spring and with it, a decrease in the likelihood of snow.
While it can still snow occasionally – especially in the early part of the month – any snowfall is generally short-lived and temperatures begin to climb.
Why doesn’t it snow much in Glasgow?
Glasgow’s modest snowfall can be attributed to its maritime climate, influenced by the warm currents of the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
This climatic condition leads to moderate temperatures throughout the year, preventing the extreme cold that is conducive to heavy snow.
The city’s proximity to the coast means that the air retains a degree of warmth, making cold snaps severe enough for snow not very common.
Another factor is Glasgow’s position on the western side of the British Isles.
The prevailing westerly winds from the Atlantic carry moist air, which often results in rainfall rather than snow.
When colder air does sweep in, it often doesn’t linger long enough to turn into snow!
Plus, Glasgow’s dense urban area generates heat, which can cause temperatures to be slightly higher than in surrounding rural areas, limiting the potential for snow to settle and stick around. This is called the Urban Heat Island effect.
When has it snowed most in Glasgow?
In March 1947, what seemed to be a gentle end to winter was sharply contradicted when an unexpected cold snap enveloped Glasgow.
The city, accustomed to milder conditions, was caught off guard as temperatures plunged to a biting -12.7°C.
This sudden turn brought the city’s transport to a near halt, covering streets and railways in snow and challenging energy supplies.
Fast forward to the winter of 1962-63, known as the Big Freeze, which saw Glasgow experience its coldest temperatures in over two centuries. Mercury dropped to an extraordinary low of -18°C!
In January 1979, South Lanarkshire felt the full force of winter’s might, recording -24.6°C!
The winter of 1994-95 is remembered for the day the River Clyde froze, a spectacle not seen since 1962, with temperatures hitting -19°C in Glasgow.
In more recent years, in 2010-11 Glasgow was overwhelmed by snowfall.
The city saw a standstill like no other, with the M8 motorway closure stranding drivers for days and temperatures plummeting to -13°C.
Schools and airports were shut, leaving many confined to their homes or makeshift shelters.
More recently, in 2018 Glasgow prepared for the onslaught of the Beast from the East, a severe weather front that warranted the highest level of alert.
Things to do in Glasgow in the snow
Here are some of the best attractions and activities for a snowy day in Glasgow!
- Head over to the Glasgow Green to build your perfect snowman on its spacious lawns.
- Take a snowy stroll through the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
- Sip on a warm cup of Scottish tea at The Willow Tea Rooms.
- Snap breathtaking snowy photographs from The Lighthouse, Glasgow’s renowned design and architecture centre.
- Warm up and delve into Scotland’s rich history at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Average weather in Glasgow in winter
If you’re visiting Glasgow in winter, here’s what weather you can expect:
|Month||Average High (°C)||Average Low (°C)||Precipitation||Snowfall Days||Weather Conditions|
|November||8||2||High||Low||Early winter with cold rain and potential for early snowfall.|
|December||7||1||High||Low||Chilly with a mix of rain and occasional snow; short days and long nights.|
|January||5||-1||High||Moderate||Coldest month, higher chance of snow, still predominantly rainy.|
|February||6||-1||High||Moderate||Similar to January, with increasing daylight hours.|
|March||9||1||Moderate||Low||Transitioning to spring, snow becomes less likely, but still possible.|
So, does it snow in Glasgow?
Yes, it snows in Glasgow, but nowhere near as much as the Scottish highlands! If you visit and it snows, count yourself lucky – it’s the exception rather than the rule.