Weather Blog

What are the odds of a White Christmas?

What are the odds of a White Christmas?
The last two years aside, snow in Seattle on Christmas is pretty rare.

Officially, the National Climate Data Center says Seattle has a 7% or 8% chance of a White Christmas in any given year, defined as 1" of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. (The 7% is if you take data between 1961 and 1990, the 8% is if you go between 1988 and 2005.)

Now, certainly last year counted -- in fact, the 4" that fell on Dec. 25, 2008 was the second-snowiest Christmas ever in Seattle and tied for the snowiest on record at Sea-Tac Airport. But aside from last year, it has only snowed two other times at Sea-Tac on Christmas. (Note in that in 1996, 1998 and 2007, it snowed on Christmas Eve but melted before the big day. 2007 did have some other places around outside of Seattle with measurable snow on the ground.)

The following are white Christmases and how much snow Seattle had...
2008 4"
2007 Dusting
1990 1", although Seattle City Office had 4"
1965 4"
1946 Dusting (according to history link website)
1944 0.2"
1937 Dusting (according to history link website)
1933 Dusting (according to history link website)
1924 1" left over snow at Seattle City Office
1916 0.1"
1915 0.4"
1911 Dusting (according to history link website)
1909 1.8"
1892 Dusting
1884 1" (according to a climate of Seattle book--Portland had measurable snow out of this one and that was Portland's last measurable Christmas snow before 2008.)
1871 6"
1861 12"

Here is the full chart for cities across the nation, if you want to compare to grandma's house.