Who’s getting a White Christmas in the U.S.?


Snow covered areas of the Lower 48 U.S. colored in white and blue shades. Less than 30% of the contiguous U.S. has snow cover as of December 23. (NOAA)

Less than one third of the U.S. will have a White Christmas (meeting the criteria of having at least 1” of snow cover on December 25). At the moment, just about 30% of the country has snow cover, and that’s unlikely to change significantly over the next two days.


Megan Heller and Jon Mischke walk down a snowy street on their way to catch a bus to the airport, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 in Boulder, Colo. (PAUL AIKEN/AP)

Here are the places that are virtually assured a White Christmas:

* northern interior New England
* the northern Great Lakes
* western Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle and northern Texas panhandle (these places experienced a blizzard earlier this week)
* the northern and southern Rocky mountains, including Denver, Boulder, Co, and Casper, Wy.
* the mountains and elevated regions of New Mexico
* the Cascades and high elevations of the Sierra Nevada range

What areas, unaccustomed to White Christmases, might experience one this year? Just a couple - and they’re in the Southwest: Albuquerque, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. Amazingly, El Paso has had as much snow as Chicago this year, which won’t have a White Christmas.

Some of the cities which typically have a White Christmas, but most likely won’t have an inch of snow cover Christmas day include:

Syracuse, NY, Burlington, VT, Green Bay, WI, Minneapolis, MN and Bismarck, ND

Just to end on a more optimistic note for snow enthusiasts, there is a chance of some conversational flurries Christmas evening in the Ohio Valley, northern mid-Atlantic and Northeast as an upper level disturbance ripples through. AccuWeather writes:

It is certainly possible the swath from Minneapolis to Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo may sneak in with a dusting or light coating of snow just yet. A few snowflakes could even drift through Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The flakes along the East Coast seem like a stretch to me, but if there’s one day in the year to wishcast, why not December 25?

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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