Dreaming of a White Christmas? A Look at the Chances in Your Backyard

news image
Special Stories
4 Dec 2018 8:50 AM
[Image from National Park Service] [NOAA] For those of you dreaming of a white Christmas, you can find places that have the best chance of being a winter wonderland according to weather history. The “Historical Probability of a White Christmas” map shows the climatological probability of at least 1 inch of snow being on the ground on December 25 in the contiguous United States. On the map, dark gray shows places where the probability is less than 10 percent, while white shows probabilities greater than 90 percent. Where does history say you should be in the Lower 48 for the best chance of seeing a white Christmas? Most of Idaho, Minnesota, Maine, Upstate New York, the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and, of course, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada Mountains all have a high probability of seeing a white Christmas. And, Aspen, Colorado, is just one of about a dozen locations boasting a 100% historical probability of seeing a white Christmas. [Table from AMS]

Snowy Climates Based on Data

This map is based on the 1981–2010 Climate Normals, which are the latest three-decade averages of several climatological measurements. This dataset contains daily and monthly Normals of temperature, precipitation, snowfall, heating and cooling degree days, frost/freeze dates, and growing degree days calculated from observations at approximately 9,800 stations operated by NOAA’s National Weather Service. You can find the Climate Normals for locations near you by using NOAA NCEI’s interactive map or search tool. While the map shows the climatological probability of snow-covered ground on December 25, the actual conditions this year may vary widely from these probabilities because the weather patterns present will determine if there is snow on the ground or if snow will fall on Christmas Day. These probabilities are useful as a guide only to show where snow on the ground is more likely.

Tracking U.S. Snowfall

If you would like to keep track of the snowfall across the United States on a daily basis, see the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center’s National Snow Analyses. [Current snow depth as of 12/4/18] For a more detailed assessment of the probability of a white Christmas as well as documentation of the methodology used to calculate the map’s underlying climatological statistics, see our scientists’ paper, White Christmas? An Application of NOAA’s 1981-2010 Daily Normals, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. [Table from AMS] Edited for WeatherNation by Meteorologist Mace Michaels
All Weather News
More
Storms Take Aim at Plains Again

Storms Take Aim at Plains Again

Early morning storms charged through Iowa bri

24 May 2024 1:05 PM
Severe Threat Slices South Yet Again

Severe Threat Slices South Yet Again

The severe threat continues again Friday in t

24 May 2024 12:55 PM
Hurricane Season 2024: Expected Above Average

Hurricane Season 2024: Expected Above Average

Atlantic Hurricane season starts June 1 and r

24 May 2024 2:50 AM
More Storms this Weekend in the Hard-Hit Plains

More Storms this Weekend in the Hard-Hit Plains

This weekend brings yet another threat of sev

24 May 2024 2:40 AM
Mid-South: Multiple Days of Severe Weather

Mid-South: Multiple Days of Severe Weather

The theme of this Spring has been non-stop se

24 May 2024 2:05 AM
Hurricane Season Around the Corner: Eyes on the Atlantic

Hurricane Season Around the Corner: Eyes on the Atlantic

Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins o

24 May 2024 2:00 AM
Severe Weather Hits the Northeast Today

Severe Weather Hits the Northeast Today

Storms are possible today along the entire ea

23 May 2024 4:50 PM