What Are the Odds of a White Christmas in the Valley? 12/11

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

What are our chances of a White Christmas this year?

Many people have been asking for weeks our chances of a White Christmas. Not only did I look at National number but I did a little local researching to see how close we came to those national statistics.
(All of this is based on climatological records, and this is not a forecast for this Christmas.)

A "White Christmas" is defined as having an inch or more of snow on the ground on Christmas day.

The last time we received snow on Christmas Day was recent, in 2010 however we only saw about 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.

Technically speaking, we've only had TWO officially White Christmas days! (And by that I mean 1" or more of snow falling) Both days were in the 1960s.

The exact Christmas day records I have are from Carl Quintrell in Stanley, VA.

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

And in 1969 in Stanley, nearly a foot of snow 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 2 White Christmas years in the last 70 years, that's a 3% chance of a White Christmas probability! 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 22% chance of any snow flurries or any small accumulation 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."

I can tell you right now there is going to be no snow on December 13th, in fact it should be a very sunny day. So we'll have to see if the folklore reigns true, and see if it will be "dark with snow" on Christmas.

It's a little too early to forecast for Christmas eve and Christmas Day right now, but we will be keeping an eye out for snow for the Holiday.

Follow Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz WHSV on Facebook and Twitter.

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