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NCDC White Christmas Statistics

Introduction

Will we have a white Christmas? It's an age-old question that occurs to almost everyone this time of year. This report, created by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), contains maps and tables showing the percent probabilities for a snow depth of at least 1 inch on Christmas morning, as well as the probabilities for a depth of at least 5 inches and 10 inches. The "First Order" Summary of Day Dataset for the period of 1961-1990 was used to compute these statistics. Only stations with at least 25 years of data were used and the '61-'90 period was chosen to coincide with the standard period for computing climatological normals.

Discussion Following is a brief summary of our findings:

Greatest probability for at least 1-inch snow depth (continental U.S.):

100% -
Marquette MI
Sault Ste Marie MI
Hibbing MN
International Falls MN
Stampede Pass WA

Greatest probability for at least 5-inch snow depth (continental U.S.): 100% - Stampede Pass WA

Greatest probability for at least 10-inch snow depth (continental U.S.): 96% - Stampede Pass WA

Generally, the greatest probabilities lie where they would be expected-- over the northern U.S. and in mountainous areas. In defining a 'white Christmas' as having a snow depth of at least 1 inch, the chances are 60% or better over an area including much of the northern Rockies, the northern Great Plains, the Great Lakes area, and most of New England. The chances are less than 20% over most of the southern third of the country excluding the Rockies, along with the Pacific coast.

The 5 and 10-inch maps (Figures 3-6) indicate areas where there is a greater likelihood of encountering travel problems due to heavy snow. However, keep in mind that this is based on snow depth and not necessarily on newly fallen snow. Also, it is important to remember that higher mountain areas (e.g., elevation of 8000 feet in an area averaging about 4000 feet) will tend to have higher probabilities for each of the 3 categories.

The original source of this report can found on the NCDC web site at:
http://ols.nndc.noaa.gov/plolstore/plsql/olstore.prodspecific?prodnum=C00493-PUB-A0001

Additional NCDC information is also available at:
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/extremes/christmas.html

Table 1

Probability of snow depth on Christmas Day greater than or equal to values (in inches) shown at top of column.

STATE/CITY 1" 5" 10" STATE/CITY 1" 5" 10"
   
ALABAMA MONTANA
   
ANNISTON 0% 0% 0% BILLINGS 63% 17% 0%
BIRMINGHAM 0% 0% 0% BOZEMAN 73% 17% 3%
HUNTSVILLE 3% 0% 0% BUTTE 87% 17% 0%
MOBILE 0% 0% 0% GLASGOW 77% 30% 0%
MONTGOMERY 0% 0% 0% GREAT FALLS 57% 17% 3%
MUSCLE SHOALS 7% 0% 0% HAVRE 61% 21% 4%
TUSCALOOSA 0% 0% 0% HELENA 67% 17% 0%
  KALISPELL 80% 43% 3%
ALASKA LEWISTOWN 76% 32% 12%
  MILES CITY 57% 32% 4%
ADAK 43% 23% 3% MISSOULA 73% 20% 0%
ANCHORAGE 90% 70% 37%  
ANNETTE 17% 10% 0% NEBRASKA
BARROW 100% 80% 30%  
BARTER ISLAND 100% 93% 39% GRAND ISLAND 40% 10% 10%
BETHEL 87% 50% 13% NORFOLK 57% 17% 7%
BETTLES 100% 100% 100% NORTH PLATTE 33% 10% 0%
BIG DELTA 97% 57% 23% OMAHA 44% 8% 4%
COLD BAY 40% 10% 3% SCOTTSBLUFF 47% 3% 0%
CORDOVA 63% 43% 20% VALENTINE 61% 14% 4%
FAIRBANKS 100% 100% 77%  
GULKANA 97% 83% 53% NEVADA
HOMER 67% 30% 13%  
JUNEAU 62% 31% 14% ELKO 47% 13% 0%
KENAI 80% 67% 37% ELY 50% 13% 0%
KING SALMON 60% 20% 3% LAS VEGAS 0% 0% 0%
KODIAK 20% 0% 0% RENO 20% 3% 0%
KOTZEBUE 100% 97% 77% WINNEMUCCA 37% 3% 0%
MC GRATH 100% 100% 77%  
NORTHWAY 100% 93% 66% NEW HAMPSHIRE
SITKA 27% 10% 3%  
ST PAUL ISLAND 53% 7% 0% CONCORD 87% 57% 7%
TALKEETNA 100% 93% 79% LEBANON 85% 70% 30%
YAKUTAT 83% 60% 40% MOUNT WASHINGTON 93% 63% 27%
   
ARIZONA NEW JERSEY
   
FLAGSTAFF 56% 36% 12% ATLANTIC CITY 7% 3% 0%
PHOENIX 0% 0% 0% MILLVILLE 14% 3% 0%
PRESCOTT 10% 3% 3% NEWARK 23% 10% 0%
TUCSON 3% 0% 0%  
WINSLOW 20% 3% 0% NEW MEXICO
YUMA 0% 0% 0%  
  ALBUQUERQUE 3% 0% 0%
  CLAYTON 17% 0% 0%
   
ARKANSAS NEW YORK
   
FORT SMITH 10% 0% 0% ALBANY 63% 30% 13%
LITTLE ROCK 3% 0% 0% BINGHAMTON 67% 43% 17%
  BUFFALO 57% 23% 13%
CALIFORNIA GLENS FALLS 76% 59% 21%
  MASSENA 77% 47% 23%
ALAMEDA 0% 0% 0% NEW YORK 10% 7% 0%
BAKERSFIELD 0% 0% 0% POUGHKEEPSIE 45% 28% 7%
BISHOP 3% 0% 0% ROCHESTER 60% 23% 3%
BLUE CANYON 74% 48% 41% SYRACUSE 70% 47% 20%
EUREKA 0% 0% 0% UTICA 71% 46% 18%
FRESNO 0% 0% 0% WATERTOWN 69% 41% 21%
LEMOORE 0% 0% 0%  
LONG BEACH 0% 0% 0% NORTH CAROLINA
LOS ANGELES 0% 0% 0%  
OXNARD 0% 0% 0% ASHEVILLE 7% 0% 0%
PASO ROBLES 0% 0% 0% CAPE HATTERAS 3% 3% 0%
RED BLUFF 0% 0% 0% CHARLOTTE 0% 0% 0%
SACRAMENTO 0% 0% 0% CHERRY POINT 3% 3% 3%
SALINAS 0% 0% 0% GREENSBORO 10% 0% 0%
SAN DIEGO 0% 0% 0% HICKORY 3% 0% 0%
SAN FRANCISCO 0% 0% 0% JACKSONVILLE 4% 4% 4%
SANTA BARBARA 0% 0% 0% NEW BERN 3% 3% 0%
SANTA MARIA 0% 0% 0% RALEIGH 3% 0% 0%
STOCKTON 0% 0% 0% WILMINGTON 3% 3% 3%
   
COLORADO NORTH DAKOTA
   
ALAMOSA 60% 10% 0% BISMARCK 87% 30% 0%
DENVER 50% 13% 7% FARGO 83% 37% 3%
GRAND JUNCTION 40% 7% 0% GRAND FORKS 89% 46% 7%
PUEBLO 28% 3% 0% MINOT 79% 32% 14%
TRINIDAD 37% 3% 0% WILLISTON 79% 31% 3%
   
CONNECTICUT OHIO
   
BRIDGEPORT 30% 10% 0% AKRON 40% 7% 0%
HARTFORD 57% 23% 3% CINCINNATI 11% 4% 0%
  CLEVELAND 50% 17% 0%
DELAWARE COLUMBUS 23% 0% 0%
  DAYTON 27% 3% 0%
WILMINGTON 13% 3% 3% FINDLAY 41% 0% 0%
  MANSFIELD 47% 3% 0%
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TOLEDO 57% 3% 0%
  YOUNGSTOWN 50% 10% 0%
WASHINGTON 13% 7% 0% ZANESVILLE 21% 3% 0%
   
FLORIDA OKLAHOMA
   
APALACHICOLA 0% 0% 0% MCALESTER 4% 0% 0%
DAYTONA BEACH 0% 0% 0% OKLAHOMA CITY 3% 0% 0%
FORT MYERS 0% 0% 0% TULSA 7% 0% 0%
JACKSONVILLE 0% 0% 0%  
KEY WEST 0% 0% 0% OREGON
MIAMI 0% 0% 0%  
ORLANDO 0% 0% 0% ASTORIA 3% 0% 0%
PENSACOLA 0% 0% 0% EUGENE 7% 0% 0%
TALLAHASSEE 0% 0% 0% MEDFORD 3% 0% 0%
TAMPA 0% 0% 0% NORTH BEND 0% 0% 0%
WEST PALM BEACH 0% 0% 0% PENDLETON 13% 7% 0%
  PORTLAND 0% 0% 0%
GEORGIA REDMOND 20% 7% 0%
  SALEM 3% 0% 0%
ATHENS 0% 0% 0% SEXTON SUMMIT 44% 33% 7%
ATLANTA 0% 0% 0%  
AUGUSTA 0% 0% 0% PENNSYLVANIA
BRUNSWICK 4% 0% 0%  
COLUMBUS 0% 0% 0% ALLENTOWN 30% 10% 3%
MACON 0% 0% 0% ALTOONA 31% 3% 0%
SAVANNAH 3% 0% 0% BRADFORD 70% 37% 23%
  DUBOIS 52% 28% 14%
HAWAII ERIE 57% 23% 10%
  HARRISBURG 33% 10% 3%
HILO 0% 0% 0% PHILADELPHIA 10% 7% 3%
HONOLULU 0% 0% 0% PITTSBURGH 33% 7% 0%
KAHULUI 0% 0% 0% WILKES-BARRE 43% 17% 3%
LIHUE 0% 0% 0% WILLIAMSPORT 43% 10% 0%
   
IDAHO RHODE ISLAND
   
BOISE 30% 10% 0% PROVIDENCE 37% 10% 0%
BURLEY 38% 3% 3%  
IDAHO FALLS 70% 30% 13% SOUTH CAROLINA
LEWISTON 10% 0% 0%  
POCATELLO 40% 17% 0% BEAUFORT 3% 0% 0%
  CHARLESTON 3% 0% 0%
ILLINOIS COLUMBIA 0% 0% 0%
  FLORENCE 3% 0% 0%
CHICAGO 40% 7% 0% GREENVILLE 3% 0% 0%
MOLINE 47% 10% 0%  
PEORIA 40% 10% 0% SOUTH DAKOTA
QUINCY 32% 7% 0%  
ROCKFORD 57% 13% 3% ABERDEEN 59% 19% 0%
SPRINGFIELD 33% 7% 0% HURON 60% 27% 7%
  PIERRE 47% 10% 0%
INDIANA RAPID CITY 47% 7% 0%
  SIOUX FALLS 67% 27% 7%
EVANSVILLE 13% 3% 0%  
FORT WAYNE 47% 7% 0% TENNESSEE
INDIANAPOLIS 30% 3% 0%  
SOUTH BEND 67% 37% 7% BRISTOL 17% 3% 0%
WEST LAFAYETTE 24% 8% 4% CHATTANOOGA 3% 0% 0%
  CROSSVILLE 14% 7% 3%
IOWA JACKSON 7% 3% 0%
  KNOXVILLE 10% 3% 0%
CEDAR RAPIDS 39% 7% 0% MEMPHIS 7% 3% 3%
DES MOINES 50% 17% 7% NASHVILLE 13% 3% 0%
DUBUQUE 62% 21% 7% OAK RIDGE 7% 3% 0%
MASON CITY 57% 30% 17%  
SIOUX CITY 63% 13% 7% TEXAS
WATERLOO 70% 13% 3%  
  ABILENE 3% 0% 0%
KANSAS AMARILLO 7% 0% 0%
  AUSTIN 0% 0% 0%
CONCORDIA 24% 3% 3% BEEVILLE 0% 0% 0%
DODGE CITY 27% 0% 0% BROWNSVILLE 0% 0% 0%
GARDEN CITY 25% 0% 0% COLLEGE STATION 0% 0% 0%
GOODLAND 30% 3% 3% CORPUS CHRISTI 0% 0% 0%
RUSSELL 20% 0% 0% DALLAS 0% 0% 0%
SALINA 11% 4% 4% DEL RIO 0% 0% 0%
TOPEKA 23% 3% 0% EL PASO 0% 0% 0%
WICHITA 23% 0% 0% GALVESTON 0% 0% 0%
  HOUSTON 0% 0% 0%
KENTUCKY KINGSVILLE 0% 0% 0%
  LUBBOCK 3% 0% 0%
BOWLING GREEN 14% 3% 0% LUFKIN 0% 0% 0%
COVINGTON 17% 0% 0% MCALLEN 0% 0% 0%
LEXINGTON 10% 3% 0% MIDLAND 0% 0% 0%
LONDON 16% 12% 0% PORT ARTHUR 0% 0% 0%
LOUISVILLE 13% 0% 0% SAN ANGELO 0% 0% 0%
PADUCAH 17% 3% 0% SAN ANTONIO 0% 0% 0%
  VICTORIA 0% 0% 0%
LOUISIANA WACO 0% 0% 0%
  WICHITA FALLS 3% 0% 0%
BATON ROUGE 0% 0% 0%  
LAFAYETTE 0% 0% 0% UTAH
LAKE CHARLES 0% 0% 0%  
MONROE 4% 0% 0% CEDAR CITY 33% 7% 0%
NEW ORLEANS 0% 0% 0% MILFORD 46% 11% 0%
SHREVEPORT 0% 0% 0% SALT LAKE CITY 53% 13% 3%
   
MAINE VERMONT
   
AUGUSTA 90% 52% 21% BURLINGTON 77% 50% 13%
BRUNSWICK 80% 40% 17% MONTPELIER 93% 72% 41%
CARIBOU 97% 77% 57%  
HOULTON 96% 74% 52% VIRGINIA
PORTLAND 83% 43% 13%  
  LYNCHBURG 13% 3% 0%
MARYLAND NORFOLK 3% 0% 0%
  RICHMOND 7% 0% 0%
LEXINGTON PARK 13% 10% 3% ROANOKE 17% 7% 0%
SALISBURY 14% 3% 0% STERLING 17% 10% 0%
  VIRGINIA BEACH 0% 0% 0%
MASSACHUSETTS WALLOPS ISLAND 16% 0% 0%
   
BOSTON 23% 17% 3% WASHINGTON
MILTON 55% 21% 7%  
SOUTH WEYMOUTH 33% 13% 10% BELLINGHAM 10% 7% 0%
WORCESTER 60% 27% 10% OLYMPIA 3% 0% 0%
  QUILLAYUTE 0% 0% 0%
MICHIGAN SEATTLE 7% 0% 0%
  SPOKANE 70% 30% 3%
ALPENA 83% 47% 13% STAMPEDE PASS 100% 100% 96%
DETROIT 50% 13% 0% WALLA WALLA 17% 3% 0%
FLINT 63% 10% 0% WENATCHEE 67% 43% 17%
GRAND RAPIDS 73% 37% 3% WHIDBEY ISLAND 7% 0% 0%
HOUGHTON LAKE 82% 56% 0%  
LANSING 73% 17% 0% WEST VIRGINIA
MARQUETTE 100% 86% 71%  
MUSKEGON 70% 37% 13% BECKLEY 36% 7% 4%
PELLSTON 89% 69% 35% BLUEFIELD 24% 10% 0%
SAGINAW 61% 18% 0% CHARLESTON 30% 3% 0%
SAULT STE MARIE 100% 80% 53% ELKINS 35% 10% 0%
TRAVERSE CITY 87% 50% 17% HUNTINGTON 23% 0% 0%
  MARTINSBURG 24% 3% 3%
MINNESOTA MORGANTOWN 31% 0% 0%
  PARKERSBURG 24% 3% 0%
ALEXANDRIA 89% 41% 11%  
DULUTH 97% 63% 43% WISCONSIN
HIBBING 100% 66% 41%  
INTERNATIONAL FALLS 100% 73% 53% EAU CLAIRE 87% 33% 17%
MINNEAPOLIS 73% 30% 13% GREEN BAY 77% 40% 3%
REDWOOD FALLS 62% 27% 8% LA CROSSE 66% 28% 10%
ST CLOUD 73% 37% 10% MADISON 67% 20% 7%
  MILWAUKEE 60% 10% 3%
MISSISSIPPI WAUSAU 93% 54% 25%
   
GREENWOOD 3% 0% 0% WYOMING
JACKSON 0% 0% 0%  
MCCOMB 0% 0% 0% CASPER 47% 10% 3%
MERIDIAN 0% 0% 0% LANDER 77% 37% 17%
  LARAMIE 48% 4% 0%
MISSOURI ROCK SPRINGS 55% 10% 3%
  SHERIDAN 83% 17% 7%
CAPE GIRARDEAU 18% 0% 0% WORLAND 59% 24% 3%
JOPLIN 18% 4% 0%  
SPRINGFIELD 23% 7% 0%  
ST LOUIS 23% 3% 0%  

 

Figure 1
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 5
Figure 5
Figure 6

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