White Christmas

White Christmas

A white Christmas, to most people in the Northern Hemisphere, refers to snowy weather on Christmas Day. This phenomenon is far more common in some countries than in others. For example, in the United Kingdom, snow is seldom experienced at Christmas except in the Mid or northern parts and the mountains; but most parts of Canada except for the British Columbia coast and southern interior valleys, southern Alberta, southern Ontario and parts of the Maritimes stand an excellent chance of experiencing a white Christmas. The same goes for the countries in northern Europe, such as ones in Scandinavia, the Baltic States, northern Russia, Belarus. Due to oceanic climate and such, the further west a country is in Europe, the lower the probability that it will have a white Christmas ("e.g.", in southern France it is very rare, while in Bucharest, Romania, which is at a similar latitude, a white Christmas is much more likely).

Northern Italy and the mountain regions of central-south Italy may also have a White Christmas: in cities like Turin, Milan or Bologna a Christmas with falling snow or snow on the ground is not a rarity.
Trento, in example, has experienced 4 White Christmas since 1993 (1993, 1999, 2000, 2005, some freezing sleet in 2004);The city also received nearly 50 cm of snow on Christmas 1981 and a couple of cm on December 25th, 1985.

In the United Kingdom, white Christmases were more common in the 18th and 19th centuries. In modern times a Christmas is officially considered "white", especially by bookmakers, if a single snow flake is observed falling in the 24 hours of 25th December, [ [http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/whitechristmas/index.html] ] meaning it can officially be declared a "White Christmas" with no perceivable quantity of snow. This is in contrast to other countries which usually require a specified quantity of settled snow. The last widespread white christmas was the christmas of 2004.

The prospect of early winter snow, never mind a white Christmas, in Ireland is always remote due to the country's warm and wet climate. Bookmakers offer odds every year for a "white Christmas", which is ("officially") snow being recorded at 09:00 local time on Christmas Day, and recorded at either Dublin Airport, Belfast International Airport or Cork Airport (bets are offered for each airport). Snow is most common in the north, and as such Belfast usually has better odds than Dublin, and considerably better odds than Cork, which is at the extreme south of the country. Ireland's last "official" white Christmas was in 2004. [ [http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/?c=ireland&jp=cwidsnqleykf] ]

Some of the least-likely white Christmases that have happened include the 2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm, which brought the first white Christmas in 50 years to New Orleans and caused the first ever white Christmas to Houston, Texas. The 2004 storm also brought the first measurable snow of any kind since 1895 to Brownsville, Texas, and its twin city of Matamoros, Mexico. The Florida winter storm of 1989 also occurred immediately before Christmas. The same storm buried Wilmington, North Carolina and the rest of Southeastern North Carolina under 15 inches of snow; even small amounts of snowfall are rare in the area.

White Christmases in Canada

The Meteorological Service of Canada compiled a list of the probability of a White Christmas in selected Canadian cities: [ [http://www.msc-smc.ec.gc.ca/media/xmas/prob_e.html] ]

Quebec City100%
St. John's65%

2006 saw some of the warmest weather on record, with such places as Quebec City experiencing their first green Christmas in recorded history. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2006/12/21/green-christmas.html (CBC)] ]

White Christmases in the United States

According to the National Climatic Data Center, basing numbers upon 1988-2005 data and stations with at least 25 years of data, the probability of a White Christmas (one inch of snow on the ground) at selected cities is as follows: [http://ols.nndc.noaa.gov/plolstore/plsql/olstore.prodspecific?prodnum=C00493-PUB-A0001]

Anchorage, Alaska90%
Annette Island, Alaska (Alaska Panhandle)17%
Fairbanks, Alaska100%
Phoenix, Arizona1%
Little Rock, Arkansas3%
Los Angeles, California1%
San Francisco, California1%
Denver, Colorado50%
Hartford, Connecticut57%
Wilmington, Delaware13%
Washington, DC13%
Savannah, Georgia3%
Boise, Idaho30%
Chicago, Illinois40%
Indianapolis, Indiana30%
Des Moines, Iowa50%
Topeka, Kansas23%
Louisville, Kentucky13%
Portland, Maine83%
Boston, Massachusetts23%
Detroit, Michigan50%
Marquette, Michigan (Upper Peninsula)100%
Duluth, Minnesota97%
Minneapolis, Minnesota73%
St. Louis, Missouri23%
Helena, Montana67%
Omaha, Nebraska44%
Reno, Nevada20%
Concord, New Hampshire87%
Newark, New Jersey23%
Albuquerque, New Mexico3%
Massena, New York77%
New York, New York10%
Charlotte, North Carolina1%
Fargo, North Dakota83%
Cleveland, Ohio50%
Akron, Ohio50%
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma3%
Portland, Oregon1%
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania10%
Providence, Rhode Island37%
Charleston, South Carolina3%
Rapid City, South Dakota47%
Nashville, Tennessee13%
Amarillo, Texas7%
Dallas, Texas8%
Salt Lake City, Utah53%
Richmond, Virginia7%
Seattle, Washington8%
Spokane, Washington70%
Charleston, West Virginia30%
Milwaukee, Wisconsin60%
Casper, Wyoming47%

According to research by CDIAC meteorologist Dale Kaiser, the United States during the second half of the 20th century experienced declining frequencies of White Christmases, especially in the northeastern region. [Dye, Lee. [http://i.abcnews.com/Technology/story?id=99617 Study: White Christmases Have Become Rare.] ABC News. December 18, 2003.]

White Christmases in the United Kingdom

Since 1950, the number of years with a white Christmas in the UK is as follows: [ [http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/library/factsheets/factsheet05.pdf] ]

LocationPercentage of years with a white Christmas
St Mawgan7%


External links

* [http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/whitechristmas/index.html Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?]
* [http://australianflavour.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=58&Itemid=1 White Christmas Sweet from Australia]

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