With our warm start to the week and near record highs today it is hard to imagine seeing any snowfall soon but meteorological winter has only just begun. So if you are dreaming of a white Christmas, don’t let the 60s get you down. Historically speaking, 57 of the last 126 (45%) Christmas days have seen no snowfall. However, snow has fallen on Christmas day 67 time (55%). The vast majority of those Christmas days saw under an inch of snow. The most snow to ever fall on Christmas day was 5.1″ in 1950. The graphic below comes courtesy of the National Weather Service office in Romeoville.
Snow does not need to fall on Christmas in order to have a “White Christmas”. The National Climatic Data Center’s criteria for a white Christmas is any Christmas with at least one inch of snow on the ground that morning. We have seen a white Christmas 5 out of the last 10 years. The most recent was 2010 with 5″ of snow on the ground Christmas day. The most snow on the ground at Midway Airport on Christmas was 17″ back in 1951.
The National Climatic Data Center produced the map above that shows the historical probability of having a white Christmas. The probability of having a white Christmas in Chicago is around 44%. The most likely areas to see a white Christmas are in northern Minnesota, the Northwoods of Wisconsin , the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and parts of New England where there is a greater than 90% probability of having a white Christmas.