1 Dec

Map of the Week: Likelihood of a White Christmas

By Katie Anderson

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Just like the ones I used to know (Ooo)

Where the treetops glisten and children listen

To hear sleigh bells in the snow

Bing Crosby’s release of White Christmas in 1942 heralded an era of people dreaming of a snowy Christmas Day. But how likely is it to really look out the window on December 25th and see a winter wonderland? 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information created a map showing the probability of there being at least 1 inch of snow on the ground for people living in the U.S. NOAA determined this probability utilizing 30 years of data (1991-2020) from nearly 15,000 weather stations across the continental United States. The climate measurements used include: daily and monthly normals of temperature, heating and cooling days, frost/freeze dates, growing-degree days, precipitation, and snowfall. The map above is an updated version of the previous edition which used data spanning 1991-2010. The map showcases the historical probability of at least 1 inch of snow, however actual weather conditions can vary due to weather patterns present leading up to December 25th and on the day itself. 

These probabilities are a useful guide only to show where snow on the ground is more likely. For a prediction of the actual weather conditions near you on Christmas, check out your local forecast at Weather.gov. Interested in diving deeper into the snowbanks? NOAA has released an interactive version of the map allowing users to click the individual points to reveal the probability at specific locations. 

Happy Holidays!