White Christmas news and views

Yesterday, Capital Weather Gang’s winter weather expert Wes Junker became the grinch who announced White Christmas odds in D.C. are even lower than usual this year. Does he still think that today, do others agree, and is global warming changing the odds of a White Christmas? We’ll examine these questions...

Let’s start with Wes. Does he see anything in the models today to offer snow lovers more hope? “I haven’t seen anything to change to my mind that odds don’t look favorable. Last night, some of the models showed low pressure around the Great Lakes on December 23 and 24 which is not good for our snow prospects.”

Several other local and national media forecasters have published their thoughts online - and they’re just as (if not more) bearish for a White Christmas. See a compilation below (allow a few seconds for it to load).

Is global warming affecting White Christmas chances?

AccuWeather’s Jesse Ferrell prepared an analysis examining whether the odds of a White Christmas have changed over the last 30 years as the climate has warmed. He looked at White Christmas probabilities in 12 cities over this time horizon. His conclusion:

Of these twelve cities [D.C. was not included], half saw a reduction in their chance of a White Christmas, but 33% actually saw an increase in snowier times.... The cities losing more of a chance of a White Christmas were Philadelphia, Raleigh, Denver, and Chicago, all losing 3%, Richmond, VA at -4%, and the worst was Omaha, Nebraska, which now has 11% less of a chance of a White Christmas than it did in 1990.

Better news for the kids and the young at heart in Cincinnati, OH (+2%), New York City (+3%), Columbus at +4%, and finally Saint Louis, Missouri has seen its chance increased by 10%.

What’s the definition of a White Christmas?

Having a White Christmas doesn’t require it to actually snow on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, it only necessitates 1” of snow on the ground.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.

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