Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney, NE Climatology

National Weather Service - Hastings, Nebraska

A Climatological overview of conditions in South Central Nebraska on Christmas Day (1955-2004)

 

Precipitation

Snow on the ground at Grand Island. Christmas day (1955-2004)   Snow on the ground at Hastings, Christmas day (1955-2004)
Site Snow Amount Year   Site Snow Amount Year
1 20.0 1968   1 23.0 1968
2 15.0 1983   2 19.0 1983
3 12.0 1973   3 16.0 1973
4 4.0 1974   4 4.0 1997
5 3.0 1961-2   5 3.0 3 Occasions

Precipitation has been generally meager on Christmas Day itself. In fact, Grand Island recorded appreciable precipitation on Christmas day 5 times within the past 50 years, the most of which being 0.10’’ back in 2000. This compares favorably with Hastings and Kearney, which noted measurable precipitation 4 and 5 times, respectively, over the same period. However, precipitation aside, what everyone seems to dream of, invariably, is a white Christmas. More often than not though, it has not come to pass. At Hastings Municipal Airport, for example, 19 of the 50 years saw measurable snow on the ground for Christmas Day. This equates to 38%, which is roughly the probability of a white Christmas for the area, as seen below (click the image to see a larger view...image may take a few moments to load).

 Temperature

Lows

 

5 Coldest at Grand Island (1955-present)   5 Coldest at Hastings (1955-present)   5 Coldest at Kearney (1955-present)
Rank Low Temp. (°F) Year   Rank Low Temp. (°F) Year   Rank Low Temp. (°F) Year
1-Tie -16.0 1983   1 -13.0 1983   1 -17.0 1983
1-Tie -8.0 1962   2 -2.0 1996   2 -9.0 1996
1-Tie -2.0 1980   3 -1.0 1980   3 -2.0 1985
2 -1.0 1996   4-Tie 1.0 1966   4 -1.0 1998
3 0.0 1974, 1985   4-Tie 1.0 1985   5 2.0 2000

 

As you can see, there is a reason that Santa dresses so warmly on Christmas Eve! Temperatures across the Tri-Cities can get rather cold, with Christmas Morning 1983 proving to be, by far, the coldest of the past 50 years. Although 1985 and 1996 are also ideal analogs of how cold it can get across the plains at this time of year.

Highs

 

 

5 Warmest at Grand Island (1955-present)   5 Warmest at Hastings (1955-present)   5 Warmest at Kearney (1955-present)
Rank

High Temp. (F°)

Year   Rank High Temp. (F°) Year   Rank High Temp. (F°) Year
1 62.0 1963   1 62.0 1999   1 58.0 1967
1-Tie 62.0 1999   2 60.0 1960   2 57.0 1960
2-Tie 56.0 1959   3 58.0 1963   3-Tie 55.0 1963
2-Tie 56.0 1960   4-Tie 55.0 1959   3-Tie 54.0 2004
3 53.0 1957   4-Tie 55.0 1979   4 53.0 1994

 

However, as these figures can attest, yes, Virginia, it CAN get warm in Nebraska in December! 1960, 1963 and 1999 stand out as unusually warm Christmas Days of note. The mercury has climbed over the 60° plateau twice on Christmas Day over the past fifty years at both Grand Island and Hastings. Meanwhile, the highest temperature recorded at Kearney Municipal Airport on Christmas Day was 58° in 1967. Still, these numbers help us to remember that warm air can still make it into the central plains during this time of year!

Christmas Day Mean Highs and Lows (1955-2004)
Site High Temp. (F°) Low Temp (F°)
Grand Island 36.7 14.0
Hastings 37.1 15.4
Kearney 36.4 14.1

Climatological Conclusion

Setting record warmth and cold aside, the averages for Christmas Day are representative of what one can expect towards the end of the year in this part of the world. High temperatures into the middle 30s are the norm across each of the Tri-Cities, with low temperatures settling into the teens. In terms of precipitation, the vast majority of Christmas Day holidays have come and gone with nary a flake or raindrop falling. However, this is not to say that your white Christmas dreams will always go unfulfilled. As evidenced by the image found above, central Nebraska and Northern Kansas have, on average, a 20% chance of being graced with a white Christmas, with the Tri-Cities enjoying around a 1 in 3 chance of having snow on the ground on the big day.

 

 

Data Compiled by Mike Montefusco

Posted by National Weather Service - Hastings, NE

December 20, 2005, By Mike Montefusco

Send any questions or comments to michael.montefusco@noaa.gov


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