So many dream of waking up Christmas morning with a fresh dusting of picture perfect snow on the ground, only to find there hopes dashed when they look out the window. There are also the many who despise snow and hope they won’t have to deal with shoveling, scraping ice, or crazy winter drivers on a holiday. For those of us in the Midwest, we have already seen quite a bit of snow this December resulting in high snow piles and slushy roads. I’m currently up near Milwaukee, WI and our current snow depth ranges from 3-8 inches across the area, however, with warming temperatures before Christmas and a low pressure system moving through the area tonight my White Christmas will become a slushy, dirty snow mess.
So what about the rest of the country? If we look at the past for our first clues of what to expect throughout December, we can immediately say sorry to the southern 1/4 of the country as average max temperatures sit above 50 degrees. However, I doubt any of you in the south are the least bit surprised.
Next, I created a table, with data from NOAA, depicting major cities along with their average annual snowfall totals (taken over a 30 year period) and their average December snowfall. I then calculated what percent of the annual snowfall occurs in December which can help us picture how much of all of our years snow actually happens in the beginning of winter. As you can see from the table, there are only a few cities that receive more then 25% of their annual snowfall in December. Which means chances for a White Christmas, in terms of odds, is rather small for many major cities.
Averages aren’t everything though. There have been many major snow storms and blizzards that have occurred on December 25th over the last 30 years as well. So even though the odds are against us for a White Christmas, the forecast for the weekend will be everything for determining who will have a White Christmas.
Looking below I have an image of the current snow depth across the United States. So for many of these places, the snow will remain on the ground through the holiday weekend and many can expect a White Christmas. Unfortunately for some, like in central/southern Indiana and Ohio, northern Texas, and Kansas, temperatures look to warm up throughout the weekend which will cause the little bit of snow on the ground to melt. In fact, those in the plains should keep an eye on the weather on Sunday as severe thunderstorms are looking likely.
Lastly, we can look and see who will see new, fresh snow on Christmas day. Mountainous regions in the west, along with the Dakotas and Montana look to have the best chance for snow on Christmas. With lighter snow/flurries looking possible across the Northeast.
No matter the weather, I wish everyone a happy holidays and a Merry Christmas! Use caution when driving and enjoy the celebrations.