Historical chances of seeing a White Christmas


Looking at the forecast a week ahead of Christmas has some hoping for a glimpse of snowflakes on December 25th. This year, Mid-Michigan will see the opposite with temperatures in the 40s and no snow maker insight.

Year to year, the forecast will be the determining factor of seeing a white Christmas. However, looking into Christmas past can provide an insight on the odds of seeing snow Christmas morning.

Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA. This map represents the historical probability of a white Christmas with greater than an inch of snow on the ground.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, released a map of the historical probabilities of a white Christmas across the United States. The dark colors mean a lower probability, while the white color represents a 91-100 percent chance of seeing Christmas snow. This map calculates many factors, and follows the definition of a white Christmas being one inch of snow on the ground by Christmas Day. Plus, the snow does not have to fall on December 25th. Old snow counts too!

A trend is that there are more dark colors than lighter colors covering the map, hurting the odds of Christmas snow. Another take away from the map is the further north you go the higher your chances for seeing snow on Christmas Day.

In Mid-Michigan, that idea mainly holds true, but the actual percentages could make for holiday confusion. StormTracker 6 Meteorologist Diane Phillips breaks down local White Christmas percentages in the video above. One factor that plays a role with local percentages is lake effect snow, and where the snow bands develop and drop varying amounts of snow.

Overall, this map calculates the data from three decades to give an idea of standing a chance for Christmas snow. The main determinate is the weather forecast leading up to Christmas Day.

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