Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?
Well, depending on where you are, your dream might turn into a reality! With the holiday season in full swing, it’s time to start checking in on what kind of weather we can expect on Christmas Day.
Let's start out with what a "white Christmas" means.
According to the National Weather Service, a "white Christmas" is defined as having one inch or more of snow on the ground on Christmas morning -- a tall task for many warmer locations in the United States, even without a La Niña pattern.
La Niña is in place for us this winter, meaning areas in the northern tier of our country, especially in the upper plains and the interior Northeast, are likely to have a higher probability of a "white Christmas." (I went into more depth on what La Niña is and what it means for us here: La Niña - What it means for winter in PA)
The lower half of the nation?
Eh...not so much.
Of course, while temperatures do tend to be warmer in the southern half of the country, meaning less snowfall is likely, there are other reasons for a not-so-white Christmas in the south. We, once again, turn to La Niña for the answer because La Niña storms normally track northward.
Meanwhile, there are a growing number of places all across the U.S. that are getting their first snowflakes of the season.
Even here in Pennsylvania, we have seen snowflakes of our own over the past few weeks, even if they didn't amount to any accumulations.
On the other hand, for the first time ever, Denver just broke the record for the latest day for a first snowfall - a record that has been held since snowfall records started in 1882. Unfortunately, this extended period of dry weather will have implications for the long-standing drought that they are going through.
But what about this year?
Above you see this historical probability of a white Christmas, but this map shows only that - the historical probability. Check out the map below showing the chance of a white Christmas compared to normal.
Unlike Denver, it seems as if Washington and Oregon state, two states that have also been struggling with an extreme drought, are forecasted to have above-average chances of snowfall, especially in the mountains.
Along with the northwest, there is a large portion of the central Plains into the Great Lakes that are also likely to have an above-average chance to get that snow on Christmas Day. Some cities of note include Chicago, Cleveland and Omaha.
Pushing further to the south, the chances become mighty slim as if there is any precipitation by the end of December, it is likely to be rain. If you are heading south for Christmas and are hoping for some snow, not all hope is lost.
Last winter, some systems early on fell way southward, some reaching all the way to Mexico!