Wednesday, February 10, 2016

White Christmas prospects

The math argues against it; the atmosphere may disagree.

White Christmas prospects


At 7 a.m. on Dec. 25, 2009, the official snow depth in Philadelphia was 7 inches, the leftovers from the colossal storm of the previous weekend.

Should measurable snow be observed at 7 a.m. this Dec. 25, it would mark the first time since 1966 that Philadelphia had consecutive White Christmases.

In any given year, the smart money would be on bare ground. On average, Philadelphians can expect a Christmas-morning snow cover about once every seven years.

If we include those occasions on which measureable snow fell on Dec. 25 sometime after 7 a.m., Philadelphia, the chances of seeing Christmas snow on the ground increase to about 1 in 5.

This year, however, it is a genuine possibility. Those whimsical computer models have backed off the weekend snowstorm for now, but don't be at all surprised if they bring it back later today or tomorrow.

The government's 6-to-10-day outlook, valid through Christmas Eve, continues a call for below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation.

That certainly doesn't mean it's going to snow in that period, but if it does, it may well stick around for awhile.

Rod Phillips at Stormfax was kind enough to pass along a tidy summary of Philadelphia Christmas snows since 1958.



Inquirer Weather Columnist
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
Also on
letter icon Newsletter