Christmas is quickly approaching and we're getting into the holiday spirit! It's the one day of the year that *most* of us wish for snow as part of the holiday magic. We want a White Christmas- but what exactly does that mean? A White Christmas is officially defined as “One inch of snow on the ground during December 25th”. That means snow doesn’t actually have to fall on Christmas; it can already be on the ground from a prior snowfall.
So what are your odds, historically, of seeing a White Christmas? If you live in the mountainous areas in the western United States, or across the Upper Midwest and Northeast, you’ll likely always have a White Christmas! Elsewhere, well, things get a bit more complicated. Much of the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and Plains only have a 40-50% chance or less. This low probability is due to the highly variable conditions that impact these areas. See the map below to find your historical probability of a White Christmas.
Looking at this year specifically, weather conditions for new snowfall are looking very unfavorable to produce a White Christmas. A dominating upper level ridge and high pressure at the surface both indicate calm, dry conditions and quite a bit of sunshine across the eastern half of the country through Christmas.
The only places likely to see snow actually fall on Christmas will be mountainous areas in the western United States.
Like I mentioned before, though, a White Christmas needs just 1” of snow on the ground, and it can fall prior to Christmas. Below is the latest GFS model projection of snow depth at 7am EST Christmas morning. Places that have light blue shading or darker are most likely to see a White Christmas. This includes most of the Rockies, the Dakotas/Upper Midwest, and northern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Everywhere else is NOT likely to have a White Christmas this year. We’re not expecting this outlook to change much in the next 4 days either. ☹