Christmas Climatology/Extremes
Grand Island, NE

The mention of Christmas often invokes visions of snow cover and cold weather. However, Christmas weather in south central Nebraska and north central Kansas doesn't always ring true to this picture. Just in the past 30 years, Christmas high temperatures in Grand Island have ranged from 11° to 62°! The tables below feature a wealth of Christmas Day weather and climate information focused specifically on Grand Island, Nebraska, where December weather records date back 119 years to 1895.

According to the entire period of record, the warmest Christmas on record was 62° on three occasions (1999,1963,1922) and the coldest low temperature was -16° in both 1983 and 1924. Only 19 of 119 Christmas Days on record (16%) have featured high temperatures of 50° or warmer. However, three of these occurrences were within the past 10 years. On the opposite side of the temperature spectrum, Christmas 1983 really stands out on the bitterly cold side of things, with a high temperature of only 7° and a bone-chilling low of -16°. Despite how cold Christmas 1983 was, that day actually broke an unprecedented streak of seven consecutive days of BELOW ZERO HIGHS that lasted from Dec. 18-24, 1983!

As for precipitation, snowfall and extreme winter weather on Christmas, nothing in the record books stacks up to what happened five years ago in 2009, when a major blizzard took aim on the region, dumping 7.8" of wind-whipped snow during the calendar day, and 9.1" of storm-total snow between the 24th-26th. CLICK HERE TO SEE A RECAP OF THE 2009 CHRISTMAS BLIZZARD. Forty-one years ago, in December 1973, 4.5" of snow fell on both Dec. 24th and 26th, but not on Christmas itself.

** Christmas 2013 Weather Recap:  Last year, Christmas Day in Grand Island was seasonably mild albeit breezy, with an afternoon high temperature of 44° under widespread sunshine. Sustained northwest winds picked up to 15-25 MPH with gusts up to around 30 MPH, before subsiding by late afternoon. Although not a balmy day by any means, the afternoon high temperature was a notable 30° warmer than the very cold Christmas the previous year in 2012. **



White Christmas Probability: The map below, from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), depicts the probability of having a "White Christmas" (defined as 1" or greater of morning snow depth) based on normals from 1981-2010. As depicted, most of south central Nebraska and far north central Kansas carries between a 25-40% chance of having a white Christmas. Specifically in Grand Island, there have been 8 white Christmases in the past 30 years (27% of the time). The last White Christmas occurred two years ago in 2012, when 3" of snow was still on the ground from a blizzard that struck on Dec. 19th-20th.

What is the Probability of a White Christmas?
(click image for larger version)
Based on the 30-year average from 1981-2010



Grand Island Max Temperature Min Temperature Precipitation
30-Year Normals (1981-2010) 35 15 0.02
10-Year Averages (2004-2013) 36.2 17.7 0.05

 

Grand Island All-Time Records (Since 1895) 
Warmest Christmas On Record (High Temp) 62° in 1999,1963,1922
Coldest Christmas On Record (High Temp) 7° in 1983
Coldest Low Temperature -16° in 1983,1924
Warmest Low Temperature 34° in 1959
Most Liquid Equivalent Precipitation On Record 0.51" in 2009
Snowiest Christmas Day On Record  7.8" (2009)


Top 5 Warmest Highs Top 5 Coldest Lows Top 5 Wettest Top 5 Snowfall Top 5 
Snow Depth
62° (1999,1963,1922) -16° (1983,1924) 0.51" (2009) 7.8" (2009) 20" (1968)
60° (1912) -8° (1962,1921) 0.20" (1941) 3.0" (1941) 15" (1983)
58° (1950) -4° (1952,1948) 0.10" (2000) 2.0" (1913) 12" (1973, 1945)
56° (1960,1959) -3° (1935) 0.08" (1924) 1.5" (2000) 10" (1952)
55° (1931) -2° (1980) 0.07" (1923,1913) 1.4" (2007) 8" (2009)


The Last Time _____ Happened On Christmas?
Last 60+ degree day: 62° in 1999
Last 50+ degree day: 50° in 2011
Last time the high temp was 20° or colder: 14° in 2012
Last time the high temp was 10° or colder:  7° in 1983
Last time the low temp was 0° or colder:   -1° in 1996
Last time the low temp was 30° or warmer: 31° in 1989
Last time measurable precipitation fell (0.01 inch or more): 0.51" in 2009
Last time measurable snow fell (0.1 inch or more): 7.8" in 2009
Last time the 6 AM snow depth was at least 1 inch:  3" in 2012

  In the past 30 years...

 - Since 1984, high temperatures on Christmas have ranged from 11° (1996) to 62° (1999)
 - Since 1984, low temperatures on Christmas have ranged from -1° (1996) to 31° (1989)
 - Since 1984, the high on Christmas has reached 50° or higher six times (2011,2005,2004,1999,1994,1989)
 - Since 1984, the low temperature on Christmas has dipped to 0° degrees or colder only twice (1996,1985)
 - Since 1984, measurable precipitation (0.01" or higher) has fallen only four times on Christmas (led by 0.51" in 2009)
 - Since 1984, measurable snow (0.1" or higher) has fallen only four times on Christmas (led by 7.8" in 2009)


Grand Island, Nebraska - Past 10 Years Summary
Christmas (2004-2013)

Date Max Temperature Min Temperature Precipitation
(Inches)
Snowfall
(Inches)
Snow
Depth
(6AM)
Weather Conditions
12/25/2004 53 24 0.00 0.0 0  
12/25/2005 50 27 0.00 0.0 0  
12/25/2006 36 22 0.00 0.0 0  
12/25/2007 34 21 0.03 1.4 3  
12/25/2008 41 12 Trace 0.0 3  
12/25/2009 16 4 0.51 7.8 8 major blizzard! 
12/25/2010 24 19 0.00 0.0 0  
12/25/2011 50 25 0.00 0.0 0 sunny, light wind 
12/25/2012 14 2 0.00 0.0 3 partly cloudy, cold
12/25/2013 44 21 0.00 0.0 0 sunny, breezy
12/25/2014 ? ? ? ? ? ?
10-Year Averages 36.2 17.7 0.05   0.9    

 

Past 10-Years Christmas Day Summary: Grand Island, Nebraska (2004-2013)
 
Warmest high temperature: 53° in 2004
Coldest high temperature:   14° in 2012
 
Coldest low temperature:     2° in 2012
Warmest low temperature:  27° in 2005
 
Highest Precipitation:   0.51" in 2009 (associated with a significant blizzard)
Highest Snowfall:          7.8" in 2009 (associated with a significant blizzard)

For more climate related information, check out the following websites:


This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.

Last Updated For 2014 on 12/17/14


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