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White Christmas Statistics
for the Washington D.C. and Baltimore Areas




Probabilities for a white Christmas based on the 1981-2010 NCDC normals data using stations with at least 25 years or more of snow data. White Christmas is defined in this map as 1 inch or more of snow depth on Christmas Day. Map was constructed by NCDC.


000
NOUS41 KLWX 202126
PNSLWX
DCZ001-MDZ003>007-009>011-013-014-016>018-501-502-VAZ025>031-
036>040-042-050>057-501>504-WVZ050>053-055-501>506-211400-
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-WASHINGTON-FREDERICK MD-CARROLL-
NORTHERN BALTIMORE-HARFORD-MONTGOMERY-HOWARD-SOUTHERN BALTIMORE-
PRINCE GEORGES-ANNE ARUNDEL-CHARLES-ST. MARYS-CALVERT-
EXTREME WESTERN ALLEGANY-CENTRAL AND EASTERN ALLEGANY-AUGUSTA-
ROCKINGHAM-SHENANDOAH-FREDERICK VA-PAGE-WARREN-CLARKE-NELSON-
ALBEMARLE-GREENE-MADISON-RAPPAHANNOCK-LOUDOUN-ORANGE-CULPEPER-
PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK-FAIRFAX-
ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA-STAFFORD-SPOTSYLVANIA-
KING GEORGE-NORTHERN FAUQUIER-SOUTHERN FAUQUIER-WESTERN HIGHLAND-
EASTERN HIGHLAND-HAMPSHIRE-MORGAN-BERKELEY-JEFFERSON-HARDY-
WESTERN GRANT-EASTERN GRANT-WESTERN MINERAL-EASTERN MINERAL-
WESTERN PENDLETON-EASTERN PENDLETON-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
426 PM EST TUE DEC 20 2011

...PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...

    *      *     *      *       *       *    **     *   *      *   *
*        *          WHITE CHRISTMAS STATISTICS  *         *      *
    *           *        *         *                 *       *


IT IS TIME AGAIN FOR THE CHRISTMAS STATISTICS FOR THE MID-ATLANTIC
REGION...COMPILED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING
VIRGINIA.

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES FOR A WHITE CHRISTMAS? ...

WHAT IS TYPICAL CHRISTMAS WEATHER? ...

FIRST FOR WASHINGTON...THEN FOR BALTIMORE...


                         *** WASHINGTON DC ***

EXAMINATION OF CLIMATE RECORDS GOING BACK TO 1872 FOR CHRISTMASES IN
WASHINGTON DC SHOW A TYPICAL CHRISTMAS DAY IS PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A
FROSTY EARLY MORNING LOW OF 30 AND AN AFTERNOON HIGH OF 44. BUT THE
YEAR-TO-YEAR WEATHER CAN VARY CONSIDERABLY.

COLDEST CHRISTMASES...

THE COLDEST WAS 1983...THE LOW TEMPERATURE WAS 3 DEGREES F ABOVE
ZERO /-16C. THAT DAY ALSO PRODUCED THE COLDEST HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR
THE DAY...A FRIGID 14 DEGREES F /-10C THAT AFTERNOON. THE FIVE
COLDEST LOW TEMPERATURES WERE:

          1983 - 3  DEGREES F
          1872 - 5  DEGREES F
          1989 - 11 DEGREES F
          1980 - 12 DEGREES F
          1906 - 13 DEGREES F

WARMEST CHRISTMASES...

THE WARMEST CHRISTMAS DAY...A TOASTY 72 DEGREES F IN 1964. THE WARMEST
LOW TEMPERATURE WAS 49 DEGREES F IN 1987. THE 5 WARMEST CHRISTMASES:

          1964 - 72 DEGREES F
          1982 - 70 DEGREES F
          1965 - 69 DEGREES F
          1932 - 68 DEGREES F
          1889 - 65 DEGREES F

RECENT PAST CHRISTMAS DAY WEATHER:

LAST YEAR...2010...A WEAK DISTURBANCE MOVING THROUGH THE AREA RESULTED IN
CLOUDY SKIES FOR MOST OF THE DAY AND FLURRIES DURING THE MORNING. REAGAN
NATIONAL AIRPORT...THE OFFICIAL MEASUREMENT LOCATION FOR WASHINGTON DC...
RECORDED A TRACE OF SNOW. TEMPERATURES DID NOT FLUCTUATE MUCH LAST

CHRISTMAS...REMAINING IN THE LOW TO MID 30S DURING THE CALENDAR DAY.

      2010 -->  HI 36  LOW 32   CLOUDY/MORNING FLURRIES
      2009 -->  HI 47  LOW 29   SNOWMELT/CLOUDY/MID AFTERNOON-NIGHT RAIN
      2008 -->  HI 58  LOW 32   PARTLY SUNNY HIGH OCCURRED AT MIDNIGHT
      2007 -->  HI 52  LOW 37   PARTLY SUNNY AND MILD
      2006 -->  HI 50  LOW 37   CLOUDY WITH AFTERNOON AND NIGHT RAIN
      2005 -->  HI 44  LOW 30   CLOUDY WITH AFTERNOON RAIN
      2004 -->  HI 33  LOW 24   SUNNY AND COLD
      2003 -->  HI 42  LOW 31   MOSTLY SUNNY AND BLUSTERY
      2002 -->  HI 39  LOW 33   RAIN WITH SOME SNOW/SLEET
      2001 -->  HI 41  LOW 28   MOSTLY SUNNY AND COOL
      2000 -->  HI 28  LOW 19   SUNNY BREEZY AND COLD

FOR SNOW LOVERS...

A WHITE CHRISTMAS IS A RARITY IN WASHINGTON DC. IT LAST HAPPENED
EIGHT YEARS AGO IN 2002 WHEN A GENERALLY RAINY CHRISTMAS MORNING
CHANGED TO SNOW AROUND MIDDAY...YIELDING A MEASURABLE 0.2 TENTHS
OF AN INCH. HOWEVER...OF THE PAST 127 YEARS SINCE 1884 WHEN SNOWFALL
HAS BEEN MEASURED IN WASHINGTON DC...ONLY 10 TIMES HAS THERE BEEN
MEASURABLE SNOW THAT ACTUALLY FELL ON CHRISTMAS DAY. THAT AVERAGES
TO ABOUT ONCE EVERY 12-13 YEARS...OR ABOUT 8 PERCENT.

THE 6 HIGHEST SNOWFALLS OCCURRING IN WASHINGTON ON CHRISTMAS DAY...

    1... 1962 ... 5.4 INCHES
    2... 1909 ... 4.5 INCHES
    3... 1969 ... 4.3 INCHES
    4... 1902 ... 1.0 INCHES
    5... 1935 ... 0.6 INCHES
    6... 1892 ... 0.5 INCHES

IF YOU INTERPRET A WHITE CHRISTMAS AS EITHER MEASURABLE SNOWFALL
THAT DAY OR HAVING SNOW ALREADY ON THE GROUND (A SNOW DEPTH OF AT
LEAST ONE HALF INCH)...THE ODDS OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS ARE SLIGHTLY
BETTER. SINCE 1888...NINETEEN TIMES MEASURABLE SNOW WAS ON THE
GROUND ON CHRISTMAS DAY THAT EITHER FELL THAT DAY...OR WAS STILL ON
THE GROUND FROM AN EARLIER SNOWFALL. THAT AVERAGES TO A WHITE CHRISTMAS
ABOUT ONCE EVERY 6-7 YEARS...OR A 15 PERCENT CHANCE.

IN THE PAST 20 YEARS...THERE HAVE BEEN ONLY TWO CHRISTMASES THAT HAD
SNOWFALL...1993 AND 2002. BOTH YEARS FEATURED JUST A FRACTION OF AN
INCH. FURTHERMORE...THERE WAS ONLY TWO YEARS IN THE PAST 40 THAT HAD
AN INCH OR MORE OF SNOW ON THE GROUND ON CHRISTMAS. THEY WERE DURING
THE VERY COLD DECEMBER OF 1989...WHEN NEARLY 2 INCHES OF SNOW WAS ON
THE GROUND FROM PREVIOUS SNOWFALL THAT MONTH AND IN 2009...WHEN 7 INCHES
WAS STILL ON THE GROUND FROM THE DECEMBER 18-19 RECORD SNOWSTORM. ALL
7 INCHES OF THAT SNOWPACK ON CHRISTMAS 2009 MELTED BY THE NEXT MORNING.

OF NOTE...18 YEARS AGO...IN 1993 IN A SPAN LASTING LESS THAN 30
MINUTES IN THE EVENING...0.2 INCH SNOW FELL...WITH UPWARDS OF AN
INCH FALLING IN THE WESTERN SUBURBS. THAT QUICK BURST OF SNOW ON
CHRISTMAS NIGHT 1993 CAUSED SEVERE TRAVEL PROBLEMS. MUCH OF THE SNOW
MELTED ON CONTACT WITH PAVED SURFACES AS TEMPERATURES WERE JUST
ABOVE FREEZING AT THE TIME THE SNOW FELL. HOWEVER...AN ARCTIC COLD
FRONT SWEPT IN JUST AFTER THE SNOW ENDED. ANY WATER REMAINING ON
ROADS AND SIDEWALKS FROM MELTED SNOW QUICKLY FLASH FROZE INTO A THIN
LAYER OF ICE...WHICH CAUSED TREACHEROUS TRAVEL THAT NIGHT.

PRECIPITATION OF ANY SORT (RAIN INCLUDED) IS MUCH EASIER TO COME BY
OF COURSE. FIFTY-ONE CHRISTMASES HAVE HAD MEASURABLE PRECIPITATION.
THAT TRANSLATES TO ABOUT A 36 PERCENT PROBABILITY OF MEASURABLE
PRECIPITATION...OR ROUGHLY ONE IN EVERY THREE YEARS.

                         *** BALTIMORE MD ***

EXAMINATION OF WEATHER RECORDS GOING BACK TO 1872...SHOWS A TYPICAL
CHRISTMAS DAY IS PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A FROSTY EARLY MORNING LOW OF 26
AND AN AFTERNOON HIGH OF 43. BUT THE YEAR-TO-YEAR WEATHER CAN VARY
CONSIDERABLY.

COLDEST CHRISTMASES...

THE COLDEST...1983 WHEN THE TEMPERATURE HIT ZERO DEGREES F. THAT DAY ALSO
PRODUCED THE COLDEST HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THE DAY...A FRIGID 12 DEGREES F
THAT AFTERNOON. THE FIVE COLDEST LOWS WERE:

          1983 - 0  DEGREES F
          1980 - 7  DEGREES F
          1989 - 7  DEGREES F
          1960 - 12 DEGREES F
          1998 - 13 DEGREES F

WARMEST CHRISTMASES...

THE WARMEST...A TOASTY 72 DEGREES F IN 1964. THAT DAY ALSO PRODUCED THE
WARMEST LOW TEMPERATURE...48 DEGREES F.  THE 5 WARMEST CHRISTMASES:

          1964 - 72 DEGREES F
          1982 - 70 DEGREES F
          1932 - 67 DEGREES F
          1893 - 67 DEGREES F
          1889 - 67 DEGREES F

RECENT PAST CHRISTMAS DAY WEATHER:

LAST YEAR...2010...A WEAK DISTURBANCE MOVING THROUGH THE AREA RESULTED 
IN CLOUDY SKIES FOR MOST OF THE DAY WITH LIGHT SNOW AND FLURRIES IN THE 
MORNING.

BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT MEASURED A TRACE OF SNOW AND 
ONE HUNDREDTH OF AN INCH OF PRECIPITATION. TEMPERATURES DID NOT FLUCTUATE 
MUCH LAST CHRISTMAS AS MORNING LOWS IN THE UPPER 20S ONLY WARMED INTO THE 
MID 30S DURING THE AFTERNOON.

      2010 -->  HI 34  LOW 29   CLOUDY/LIGHT SNOW IN THE MORNING
      2009 -->  HI 42  LOW 19   SNOWMELT/CLOUDY/LATE AFTERNOON-NIGHT RAIN
      2008 -->  HI 59  LOW 32   PARTLY SUNNY HIGH OCCURRED AT MIDNIGHT
      2007 -->  HI 50  LOW 30   PARTLY SUNNY AND MILD
      2006 -->  HI 50  LOW 30   CLOUDY WITH AFTERNOON AND NIGHT RAIN
      2005 -->  HI 42  LOW 24   CLOUDY WITH AFTERNOON RAIN
      2004 -->  HI 31  LOW 17   SUNNY AND COLD
      2003 -->  HI 41  LOW 28   MOSTLY SUNNY AND BLUSTERY
      2002 -->  HI 38  LOW 32   RAIN WITH SOME SNOW/SLEET
      2001 -->  HI 40  LOW 23   PARTLY SUNNY AND COOL
      2000 -->  HI 27  LOW 17   SUNNY BREEZY AND COLD

FOR SNOW LOVERS...

A WHITE CHRISTMAS IS A RARITY IN BALTIMORE. IT LAST HAPPENED NINE
YEARS AGO IN 2002 WHEN A GENERALLY RAINY CHRISTMAS MORNING CHANGED
TO SNOW DURING THE LATE MORNING. IT CAME DOWN ENOUGH TO YIELD AN
INCH OF SNOWFALL. HOWEVER...OF THE PAST 118 YEARS SINCE 1893 WHEN
SNOWFALL HAS BEEN MEASURED IN BALTIMORE MD...ONLY TWELVE TIMES HAS
THERE BEEN MEASURABLE SNOW THAT FELL ON CHRISTMAS DAY. THAT AVERAGES
TO ABOUT ONCE EVERY 10 YEARS...OR ABOUT 10 PERCENT.

THE 6 HIGHEST SNOWFALLS OCCURRING IN BALTIMORE ON CHRISTMAS DAY...

    1... 1909 ... 9.3 INCHES
    2... 1969 ... 6.1 INCHES
    3... 1902 ... 3.0 INCHES
    4... 1962 ... 2.9 INCHES
    5... 1935 ... 1.2 INCHES
    6... 2002 ... 1.0 INCHES

IF YOU INTERPRET A WHITE CHRISTMAS AS EITHER MEASURABLE SNOWFALL OR
HAVING SNOW ALREADY ON THE GROUND (A SNOW DEPTH OF AT LEAST ONE HALF
INCH)...THE ODDS OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS IMPROVE. SINCE 1893...TWENTY
FOUR TIMES MEASURABLE SNOW WAS ON THE GROUND ON CHRISTMAS DAY THAT
EITHER FELL THAT DAY...OR WAS STILL ON THE GROUND FROM AN EARLIER
STORM. THAT AVERAGES TO A WHITE CHRISTMAS ABOUT ONCE EVERY 5
YEARS...OR A 20 PERCENT CHANCE.

HOWEVER...IN THE PAST 20 YEARS THERE HAVE BEEN ONLY TWO CHRISTMASES
THAT HAD MEASURABLE SNOW FALL THAT DAY...1993 AND 2002. BOTH YEARS
FEATURED AN INCH OR LESS. FURTHERMORE...THERE WAS ONLY THREE YEARS
IN THE PAST 40 THAT HAD MORE THAN AN INCH OF SNOW ON THE GROUND ON
CHRISTMAS. THE MOST RECENT WAS IN 2009 WHEN 6 INCHES WAS STILL ON
THE GROUND FROM A PREVIOUS STORM. ALL 6 INCHES OF THAT SNOWPACK MELTED
BY THE NEXT MORNING.

PRECIPITATION OF ANY SORT (RAIN INCLUDED) IS MUCH EASIER TO COME BY
OF COURSE. FORTY-NINE CHRISTMASES HAVE HAD MEASURABLE PRECIPITATION.
THAT TRANSLATES TO ABOUT 35 PERCENT PROBABILITY OF MEASURABLE
PRECIPITATION...OR ROUGHLY ONE THIRD.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

$$

NWS BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON JK/CS/SZ


National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office Baltimore/Washington
43858 Weather Service Rd.
Sterling, VA 20166
Phone: (703) 996-2200
Webmaster: lwxwebmaster@noaa.gov
Page last modified: Dec 21, 2011 2:43 AM EST
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