Early Thoughts On White Christmas Chances

We are now close enough to Christmas that we can begin taking some educated stabs at the general weather patters around the holiday. It’s much too early for a specific forecast (something like partly sunny, high 36)  for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

The overall idea for the next several days….probably even up to 10 days is that arctic air will remain bottled up well to our north. Much of southern Canada and the US will be flooded with mild, Pacific air instead. 


6-10 day outlook is balmy for December. 

But this pattern is advertised to break down some by around Christmastime. The following 2 animations are from the European and GFS models, both show colder air (blue) finally making inroads sometime between the 22nd and 25th. 

GFS Model Temperature Anomalies 
European Model Temperature Anomalies 

Neither model advertises a harsh cold snap but it seems very likely that the pattern around Christmas Eve/Christmas Day will be colder than the 10 days preceding it. At the end of each animation is the few days after Christmas. The GFS suggests it stays chilly while the European tries to warm it up again. Confidence is low on which idea is right at this time. 

What about snow??? Well it seems unlikely we will see much snow over the next 10 days. Could we see some snow right around the holiday? It’s possible. 

Odds of 1″ of Snow Cover On Christmas Morning (European Model) 

The above image shows the odds of 1″ of snow on the ground (which is what we consider to be a “White Christmas”) on the morning of the 25th. Not real high odds but not zero. 

Based on the current data, I have lower-than-average odds of a White Christmas in my forecast but this number will surely change (up or down) as we get closer. 

White Christmas Odds

Some other Christmas weather stats for our area: 

Updated 2018-2019 Winter Forecast

You can find the original Winter Forecast HERE

There are years in which the data changes enough between early November and early December that a decent-size revision to the winter forecast is warranted. Last year was one of those years. This year? I like the forecast!

This is the original December forecast:

Here’s the new map:

As you can see I am still expecting December to come out in the wash as pretty average. BUT it will be an up-and-down month, perhaps we can divide it into 3 parts.

  1. A cold stretch from today through next Sunday/Monday
  2. A mild stretch from around the 13th to the 20th
  3. A stretch that’s colder to average from the 20th-31st

That’s generally the idea that the latest run of the long-range European modeling has. This animation actually continues into mid-January and the model shows a fair amount of cold (compared to average) in the pattern during the first couple of weeks of the year.


Unless we get a decent-sized storm late in the month, I suspect December is going to be lacking in the snow department. The pattern looks too warm for snow in the middle of the month and while the latter part of the month looks more seasonable, most modeling suggests the primary storm track may be to our south.

European mode precipitation anomalies through Christmas Eve:

I still think a much colder pattern will develop as we get into the new year and I have no changes to the idea that the winter overall will be colder-than-average, despite the average December. Again, check out the original forecast HERE