Dreaming of a White Christmas? See if the odds are in your favor


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Every year, the burning question for the StormTracker 6 weather team is, will there be a White Christmas?

That is a loaded question because the definition of a White Christmas varies.  The one similarity between the definitions is that there must be an inch of snow on the ground on December 25th.  The difference is what time the measurement is taken.  Some say for it to be a White Christmas, an inch of snow must be on the ground by 7 am Christmas morning.  The National Weather Service says a White Christmas is simply that there is an inch of snow on the ground at some point throughout Christmas Day.  Plus, whenever the snow measurement is taken, it does not have to be freshly fallen snow.  Old snow can count towards a White Christmas.

Now, what are the odds historically?  For the 15 counties in mid-Michigan, the range is roughly 40%-60%.  The range is developed by taking snow measurement data on Christmas Day from 1981 to 2010.  The percentage varies as some counties and towns see more lake effect snow than places like southeast Michigan.  From the northwest corner of mid-Michigan, the percentage is 50%-65% chance for a White Christmas.  The further south and east, the odds continue to drop.  Below is a break down of chances for a White Christmas in some mid-Michigan towns according to climate.gov.

St. John’s47%
Left are mid-Michigan town’s with the chance for a White Christmas to the right.

The odds for a White Christmas this year prove that the data above is onto something as a low-pressure system will be traveling north of mid-Michigan.  That may sound like we are missing a chance for snow, but the system has a strong cold front with it.  Behind the cold front, the coldest air so far this season will ride over lake temperatures that are around 40°-48°.  Highs are forecasted in the 20s for Christmas Day, making it possible for lake effect snow, which could lead to accumulations.

For updates on the Christmas Day forecast, head to wlns.com/forecast and see what the forecast has to say about a White Christmas.  As the chance for a White Christmas in 2020 is still up in the air, one thing you can plan on this Christmas is cold weather.

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