The Met Office explains the reasons why it rarely snows in Sunderland

As parts of the North East woke up to a blanket of snow, most of Sunderland has once again missed out on the flurry.

Friday, 8th January 2021, 5:19 pm

Neighbouring County Durham received a heavy coating of snow overnight and even Gateshead and Newcastle received a substantial sprinkling.

But most of Sunderland missed out – or were lucky to avoid depending on your point of view– on another snowy day.

On Friday, January 8, you could drive a few miles out of a wet and cold Sunderland to Houghton or Hetton where you’d be met with snow.

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Snow fall at Penshaw Monument - but why doesn't it often snow in Sunderland?

So why does the city miss out on snow so often?

Being along the coast is one reason as temperatures are slightly warmer due to being next to the milder waters – although the North Sea won’t feel mild if you pop in for a dip.

Graham Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office, said: “The proximity to the coast and as a relatively low lying area does tend to be a degree or two warmer and that is sometimes all that is needed.”

It is more likely to snow in higher areas – which is why Houghton (at 217ft elevation) is a bit more likely to receive snow than Sunderland (112ft) despite the two areas being just a few miles apart.

Pictures taken on Friday, January 8, show no snow at the A183/A19 roundabout whereas 10 minutes down the road on the A690 at Houghton Cut snow has is being cleared.

"It is only when you get very cold easterly winds our coastal communities see snow, as we had in the Beast from the East when there was more than other areas as it was dumped quite soon as it reached the UK,” added Graham.

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However, according to the Met Office, as cold easterly winds travel over so much dry land across Europe there is usually very little moisture in it to form the snow so we end up with some crisp winter sunshine instead.

In order for easterly winds to bring snow to low lying areas on the east coast like Sunderland we need this cold air 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 snow showers.

And with wintry weather travelling from the west, it is also more likely for majority of moisture is precipitated out over the Pennines before it reaches the North East coast.

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