Chances of Seeing a White Christmas in the Valley

What are the actual chances of the Valley seeing a white Christmas on any given year?

A look back at historical data to see what our chances are for a White Christmas this year.

It's just not going to happen this year, no white Christmas, but is it really that typical to have a white Christmas in the Valley?

Here is a look at the chances for our area to see a white Christmas on any given year.

A "White Christmas" is defined as having an inch or more of snow on the ground on Christmas day. (Meaning it doesn't have to fall on Christmas)

The last time we received snow on Christmas Day was recent, in 2010 however we only saw about a trace, to a half an inch accumulate on the ground so technically, not a White Christmas.

Statistically, according to the National Weather Service we fall into the 11-25% chance of a White Christmas range.

So statistically it's not all that promising.

I dug though some records and this is what I found as far as past White Christmas's.

In the last 70 years, since 1943, we've only had four officially White Christmas days!

Two of those years, snow fell on Christmas, and it was actually some decent snowfall. That was in the 1960s. 


These actual totals are from weather watcher Carl Quintrell from Stanley.

On Christmas Day in 1962, 5.75" of new snow fell yielding a 10" total accumulation.

In 1969, nearly a foot of snow fell on Christmas day! Snow totaling 11" fell. I hope Santa didn't get stuck!

In Rockingham County at Dale Enterprise that same year, 7.5" of snow fell that same day.

Based on only 4 White Christmas years in the last 70 years, that's a 5% chance of a White Christmas! Not very good odds of seeing an 1" of snow or more on Christmas Day.

But let's face it, any snow falling would be welcome on Christmas.

Let's spin this another way.

Based on the last 70 years, the chance of ANY wintry precipitation falling is a bit better.

This is the chance of any amount under the 1" White Christmas criteria.

There is a 20% chance of any snow flurries or any small accumulation already on the ground, no matter a trace, dusting, or just under an inch. 

There is also some weather folklore, to watch the weather on December 13th, which is St. Lucy's day. "If St. Lucy’s day be bright, Christmas day will be dark with snow; but if the snow falls on St. Lucy, Christmas will be clear and sunny."

The image above is from NOAA and the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center. 

This give an estimate of snow on the ground as of Christmas Eve morning.

Anywhere that's blue or purple has over an inch of snow.

The grey area is a trace to an inch.

Parts of the Great Lakes region will see measureable snow today, even the western facing mountains in our area could see an inch or snow of snow falling.

Most of the county however, will not see a white Christmas.

Follow Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz WHSV on Facebook and Twitter.

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