White Christmas Statistics by the National Weather Service

IT IS TIME AGAIN FOR THE CHRISTMAS STATISTICS FOR BALTIMORE AND
WASHINGTON…AS COMPILED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICES
BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON FORECAST OFFICE.

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 ABOVE ZERO.
THAT DAY ALSO PRODUCED THE COLDEST HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THE DAY…A
FRIGID 14 DEGREES THAT AFTERNOON. THE FIVE COLDEST LOW TEMPERATURES
WERE:

          1983 – 3  DEGREES
          1872 – 5  DEGREES
          1989 – 11 DEGREES          
          1980 – 12 DEGREES
          1906 – 13 DEGREES

WARMEST CHRISTMASES…

THE WARMEST CHRISTMAS DAY WAS A TOASTY 72 DEGREES IN 1964. THE 5
WARMEST CHRISTMASES:

          1964 – 72 DEGREES          
          1982 – 70 DEGREES
          1965 – 69 DEGREES          
          1932 – 68 DEGREES
          1889 – 65 DEGREES

RECENT CHRISTMASES:

LAST YEAR…HIGH PRESSURE WAS IN CONTROL OF THE AREA. TEMPERATURES
WERE SEVERAL DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. CONDITIONS DRIED OUT AFTER FOG
AND DRIZZLE JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT ON CHRISTMAS EVE. CLOUDY CONDITIONS
PERSISTED THROUGHOUT THE DAY THOUGH THERE WERE SOME PEEKS OF SUNSHINE
AROUND MIDDAY. REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT RECORDED AN EARLY MORNING LOW
OF 34…RISING TO AN AFTERNOON HIGH OF 51 DEGREES.

      2012 –>  HI 51  LOW 34   MOSTLY CLOUDY AND SEASONABLY MILD
      2011 –>  HI 48  LOW 34   MOSTLY SUNNY AND SEASONABLE
      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…

SNOW FALLING ON CHRISTMAS DAY IS A RARITY IN WASHINGTON. OF THE PAST
128 YEARS SINCE 1884 WHEN SNOWFALL HAS BEEN MEASURED IN WASHINGTON…
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. LAST YEAR WE JUST MISSED WITH 0.2 INCHES OF SNOW
RECORDED ON DECEMBER 26TH.

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 AN INCH OR
MORE)…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 WERE 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 MORE RECENTLY IN 2009
WHEN 7 INCHES WAS STILL ON THE GROUND FROM THE FIRST OF OUR MAJOR
SNOWSTORMS THAT RECORD SETTING WINTER. 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 GRIDLOCK AND 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. THAT DAY ALSO
PRODUCED THE COLDEST HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THE DAY…A FRIGID 12 DEGREES
THAT AFTERNOON. THE FIVE COLDEST LOWS WERE:

          1983 – 0  DEGREES         
          1980 – 7  DEGREES
          1989 – 7  DEGREES          
          1960 – 12 DEGREES
          1998 – 13 DEGREES

WARMEST CHRISTMASES…

THE WARMEST WAS A TOASTY 72 DEGREES IN 1964. THE 5 WARMEST CHRISTMASES:

          1964 – 72 DEGREES
          1982 – 70 DEGREES
          1932 – 67 DEGREES
          1893 – 67 DEGREES
          1889 – 67 DEGREES

RECENT CHRISTMASES:

LAST YEAR…HIGH PRESSURE WAS IN CONTROL OF THE AREA. TEMPERATURES
WERE SEVERAL DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. CLOUDY CONDITIONS PERSISTED
THROUGHOUT THE DAY THOUGH THERE WERE SOME PEAKS OF SUNSHINE AROUND
MIDDAY. THURGOOD MARSHALL BWI AIRPORT RECORDING AN EARLY MORNING LOW
OF 30…RISING TO AN AFTERNOON HIGH OF 48 DEGREES.

      2012 –>  HI 48  LOW 30   MOSTLY CLOUDY AND SEASONABLY MILD
      2011 –>  HI 48  LOW 24   MOSTLY SUNNY AND SEASONABLE
      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…

SNOW FALLING ON CHRISTMAS DAY IS A RARITY IN BALTIMORE. IT LAST
HAPPENED TEN YEARS AGO IN 2002 WHEN A GENERALLY RAINY CHRISTMAS
MORNING CHANGED TO SNOW DURING THE LATE MORNING. ENOUGH FELL TO YIELD
AN INCH OF SNOWFALL. HOWEVER…OF THE PAST 119 YEARS SINCE 1893 WHEN
SNOWFALL HAS BEEN MEASURED IN BALTIMORE MD…ONLY TWELVE TIMES HAVE
THERE BEEN MEASURABLE SNOW THAT FELL ON CHRISTMAS DAY. THAT AVERAGES
TO ABOUT ONCE EVERY 10 YEARS…OR ABOUT 10 PERCENT.
INTERESTINGLY…LAST YEAR BWI SAW ONE INCH OF SNOW ON DECEMBER
26TH…JUST ONE DAY TOO LATE!

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 AN INCH OR MORE)…
THE ODDS OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS IMPROVE. SINCE 1893…THERE HAVE BEEN
TWENTY FOUR CHRISTMASES THAT MEASURABLE SNOW EITHER FELL THAT DAY…OR
WAS ON THE GROUND ALREADY FROM A PREVIOUS STORM. THAT AVERAGES TO A
WHITE CHRISTMAS ABOUT ONCE EVERY 5 YEARS…OR A 20 PERCENT CHANCE.

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 THE FIRST
OF OUR MAJOR SNOWSTORMS THAT RECORD SETTING WINTER. 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!!

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