A look at Christmases past and our chance for a white Christmas this year

Weather Specials

Christmas day through the years--A look at which was the warmest, coldest, wettest, snowiest, and a look at the chance of a white Christmas in the Valley this year

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Or perhaps you’re more of a warm Christmas with shorts and T-shirts? Or how about one with the kind of cold that freezes your nose hairs? We have had them all!

I dug through the stats and wanted to look into a few simple questions: What are the records for the warmest, coldest, wettest, and the snowiest Christmas days? And what are the chances of a white Christmas this year?

Before diving in, I also must note that these records and stats are all based on the records kept at the official climate reporting station for this area – the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport. Here’s what I found.

The warmest Christmas Day on record occurred in 1982. On that day, the high was 66°. The day also holds the record for the warmest low temperature, coming in at 60°. The normal high is 35°.

The coldest Christmas on record came just one year after the warmest. Christmas Day 1983 only had a high of 1° and the low temperature was -12°. The normal low for Christmas Day is 22°.

The wettest Christmas on record is Christmas Day 1979. A total of 1.86″ of precipitation was measured on that day. The high that day was 51° and the low 33°. The average amount of precipitation for December 25th is 0.11″.

Based on the historical climate data for the date, there is a fairly high chance of seeing wet weather on December 25th. The number of Christmases measuring at or above 0.01″ of liquid precipitation comes in at 49% since records have been kept.

The most snowfall recorded on Christmas Day occurred 18 years ago. The most snow to fall on Christmas Day since records have been kept was 5.4″ record in 2002. It wasn’t an overly cold day with a high of 31° and a low of 27°. The average amount of snowfall for December 25th is 0.4″.

Since 1934, records have been kept for the depth of snow on the ground. The Christmas Day with the most measured snow on the ground was 1995. On that day, a snow depth of 10″ was recorded.

So what is the definition of a white Christmas? According to the National Weather Service, A white Christmas is defined as 1″ of snowfall on the ground on Christmas morning. Since records have been kept, 45% of our Christmases have occurred with 1″ of snow reported on the ground. It is important to note that the time of day measurements are taken aren’t included in these stats. While there is a decent chance of at least 1″ of snow on the ground, odds of seeing a thick blanket of snow are lower. We have seen 20% of Christmases reporting 3″ or more on the ground, 7% with 6″ or more on the ground, and we have never recorded a Christmas where the snow depth was at or above one foot.

The all-important question – Will we have a white Christmas this year?
A strong cold front will sweep through the Valley on Christmas Eve. Rain will accompany the front and quickly turns to snow through the afternoon. Accumulation is likely Christmas Eve night. We will also have a chance for some lake effect snow into Christmas Day. In fact, this is looking like the coldest air so far this season. Wind chills on Christmas day are likely to be between 5° – 15° through the day.

With the approach of this storm system, the surge of Arctic air accompanying it, and the timing of the changeover to snow, confidence in a white Christmas is pretty high this year. It is currently looking like around a 90% chance of at least 1″ of snow on the ground Christmas morning. That meets the official definition of a White Christmas.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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