Winter Outlook: What are the odds of a white Christmas?

Winter Outlook 2021

It’s November, we’ve had our first lake effect snow of the season, Starbucks comes out with their holiday cups Thursday, there’s definitely some people who are already getting their christmas decorations out.

Besides how much snow we’ll get this winter or how cold it’ll be, the next more popular question about this winter is, will we have a white Christmas?

Well, Christmas is still 7 weeks away, and while we are the most accurate forecast in Central New York, we’re not that good.

But, what we can tell you are the odds in any given year of a white Christmas. 

According to the National Weather service, a white Christmas is defined by 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas day.

The Northeast Regional Climate Center out of Cornell analyzed data since 1970 and came up with the probability of a white Christmas in Syracuse is about 65% chance, 58% chance for Ithaca, and about 80% chance in Watertown!

If we look at the snow depth on December 25th from the last 30 years since 2000, 22 out of the last 30 years had at least 1 inch of snow on the ground! That’s 73% of the time.

However, it’s only snowed on 9 out of the last 30 years on Christmas day. 

The last time we had more than an inch of snowfall on Christmas was 4 years ago in 2017. 

The most snow we’ve ever received on Christmas day was 15.6” in 1978. 

The maximum snow depth ever recorded in Syracuse on Christmas day was 17”s in 1929.

The last time we had anything even close to that was 19 years ago with 10.2” of snow in 2002. 

You have to go all the way back to 1995 when there was a snow depth of 10” on Christmas day.

Needless to say, it’s been a while since we’ve had a lot of snow around for Christmas. 

You can bet we’ll have you covered with the forecast as we get closer to the holidays to see if we’ll have a white Christmas or not this year.

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