Dreaming Of A White Christmas? For Some, Chances Look Good For Snow

Photo: Clearing snow along 23rd Avenue in Denver on Feb. 2, 2016
Clearing the sidewalk along 23rd Avenue in Denver on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016.

Several snow systems will pass through Colorado starting on Saturday into the middle of next week making snow on Christmas probable for much of the state, the experts say. If you live in the mountains it’s almost guaranteed that there will be snow on the ground on Christmas Day and highly probable there will be snow falling from the sky.

That probability becomes a lot less certain as you travel to other areas around the state, especially the eastern plains. According to Russ Schumacher, a climatologist and associate professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, the chance of snow east of Denver during the holiday is about once every three years.

Among other things, the Climate Center at the university collects and observe historical data. They created a Christmas Climatology report based off some of that data.

“This is all based on history,” Schumacher said. “Taking a look at the records at all the stations we have across the state and across the country in terms of a somewhat particular criterion, which is having an inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day, December 25.”

The National Weather Service created a map that shows the historic probability of there being at least 1 inch of snow on the ground in the Lower 48 states on December 25 based on data gathered from the 1980s to present.

Graphic: NWS Snow Map 20181222
White Christmas probability map from the National Weather Service.

While there has been a warm, dry pattern this week, that will change quickly as we head into the weekend. Snow will fall Saturday in northern Colorado and the mountains but it’s not likely to linger until Christmas. However, a larger storm system will begin moving in on the 25th and into the 26th. That means snow lovers in the state have a shot of seeing the snow on Christmas Day.

“By the weekend it should be a lot more clear what that storm earlier next week or in the middle of next week will look like, Schumacher said. “So make sure to check-in with the weather service or your favorite meteorologist over the next few days.”