Probability of a White Christmas

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By Quincy Vagell on December 4, 2012, 3:40pm Last modified: December 11, 2012, 1:44pm

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Above image shows the probability of having 1"+ of snow on the ground on Christmas.

Based on an image from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)

The topic of a white Christmas is one that's been thrown around a lot. To simplify the data, the NCDC uses a base of 1" of snow. After looking at long-term averages, they have come up with the probability of a white Christmas. (what percentage of years had 1" or more of snow on the ground on December 25th for a particular location)

Across the state:
Generally, the higher elevations of northwestern Connecticut have the highest probability of seeing a white Christmas. There, the percent probability ranges from roughly 50 to 70% of the time. The rest of inland Connecticut falls into the 25 to 50% range. Portions of extreme southeastern Connecticut actually come in slightly below 25%.
There is some conflicting data, but this is the most official detailed set of percentages I could find for the region. The "normal" snow depth for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks is 1.3", indicating that the probability of a white Christmas there is likely a little bit above 50%.

Will we have a white Christmas this year?
Honestly, it looks like we're stuck in a pretty warm pattern. The longer range computer models try to show some sort of shift after December 15th, but that remains to be seen. If the current pattern holds, Christmas will probably be a lot more warm than snowy, but stay tuned...

Further reading:

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, by Sam Kantrow
How Likely is a White Christmasby Richard Sparago
Historical Probability of a White Christmasby the National Weather Service

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Quincy Vagell

Town: Marlborough, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

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