Probability of a White Christmas

What Are The Odds For Seeing A White Christmas?

What Will A Dry Start Mean For The 2012 Winter Season?

The number of opportunities for snowfall occurring before Christmas in central and northeast South Dakota are quickly diminishing.  After all, most folks in the Dakotas and Western Minnesota have come to expect snow before Christmas after the last couple of years!  Historical weather records across the region indicate we typically have about a 50/50 chance of seeing a white Christmas. 

 

Though we only have to look back to the winter of 2006-2007 for the last time Christmas Day lacked any snow cover, the more recent string of bad winters each started off with storms during the holiday season. The 2009 North American Christmas Blizzard developed over the Midwest with disastrous consequences for holiday travelers, closing Interstate 29 across the Dakotas and sending snow so far south that even Dallas had its first white Christmas in over 80 years. With a duration of 5 days, snowfall accumulated to a depth of one to two feet with that storm. Even last December, a storm system that brought between 2.5" to 6.0" of snow to eastern South Dakota and West Central Minnesota continued on into a major nor'easter and disrupted travel plans for millions across the Eastern Seaboard.

So far this December, Aberdeen has accumulated a meager 0.5”, Pierre 0.8”, Mobridge 1.2”, Timber Lake 1.4”, while Watertown and Sisseton have yet to measure. 

So what can we typically expect for the holiday climatologically?

Christmas Day in Aberdeen, SD
(Period of Record 1893-2010)

Climate Normals

Records

Maximum Temperature

23 F

Warmest High Temperature

51 F

1999

Coldest High Temperature

   - 10 F

1996

Minimum Temperature

3 F

Warmest Low Temperature

29 F

1959

Coldest Low Temperature

- 25 F

1996

Average Temperature

13 F

 

Warmest Average Temperature

38 F

1893

Coldest Average Temperature

- 18 F

1996

 

 

Wettest

0.36"

1950

 

 

Snowiest

5.1"

1950

 

 

Most Snow on Ground at 7 AM

20"

1996

Christmas Day in Pierre, SD
(Period of Record 1933-2010)

Climate Normals

Records

Maximum Temperature

30 F

Warmest High Temperature

56 F

1999

Coldest High Temperature

    - 6 F

1996

Minimum Temperature

10 F

Warmest Low Temperature

33 F

1999

Coldest Low Temperature

- 16 F

1983

Average Temperature

20 F

 

Warmest Average Temperature

45 F

1999

Coldest Average Temperature

- 8 F

1996

 

 

Wettest

0.48"

2009

 

 

Snowiest

7.8"

2009

 

 

Most Snow on Ground at 7 AM

27"

1951

 

Christmas Day in Mobridge, SD
(Period of Record 1911-2010)

Climate Normals

Records

Maximum Temperature

26 F

Warmest High Temperature

51 F

1963

Coldest High Temperature

- 10 F

1996

Minimum Temperature

7 F

Warmest Low Temperature

27 F

1956

Coldest Low Temperature

- 17 F

1996

Average Temperature

17 F

 

Warmest Average Temperature

37 F

1956

Coldest Average Temperature

- 14 F

1996

 

 

Wettest

0.13"

1978

 

 

Snowiest

2.3"

2009

 

 

Most Snow on Ground at 7 AM

27"

1996

 

Christmas Day in Watertown, SD
(Period of Record 1893-2010)

Climate Normals

Records

Maximum Temperature

23 F

Warmest High Temperature

49 F

1943

Coldest High Temperature

- 9 F

1902

Minimum Temperature

5 F

Warmest Low Temperature

31 F

1994

Coldest Low Temperature

- 24 F

1902

Average Temperature

14 F

 

Warmest Average Temperature

37 F

1994

Coldest Average Temperature

- 17 F

1902

 

 

Wettest

0.24"

2009

 

 

Snowiest

5.8"

2009

 

 

Most Snow on Ground at 7 AM

16"

2010

 

Christmas Day in Sisseton, SD
(Period of Record 1900-2010)

Climate Normals

Records

Maximum Temperature

24 F

Warmest High Temperature

54 F

1994

Coldest High Temperature

- 12 F

1935

Minimum Temperature

6 F

Warmest Low Temperature

40 F

1994

Coldest Low Temperature

- 20 F

1902

Average Temperature

15 F

 

Warmest Average Temperature

47 F

1994

Coldest Average Temperature

- 13 F

1996

   

Wettest

0.55"

2009

   

Snowiest

13.9"

2009

 

 

Most Snow on Ground at 7 AM

22"

2009

 

Christmas Day in Timber Lake, SD
(Period of Record 1911-2010 from Coop)

Climate Normals

Records

Maximum Temperature

28 F

Warmest High Temperature

53 F

1963

Coldest High Temperature

- 10 F

1996

Minimum Temperature

8 F

Warmest Low Temperature

33 F

1994

Coldest Low Temperature

- 22 F

1983

Average Temperature

18 F

 

Warmest Average Temperature

42 F

1963

Coldest Average Temperature

- 15 F

1996

   

Wettest

0.34"

2009

 

 

Snowiest

10.0"

2009

 

 

Most Snow on Ground at 7 AM

30"

1996

  

Christmas Day in Kennebec, SD
(Period of Record 1893-2010 from Coop)

Climate Normals

Records

Maximum Temperature

31 F

Warmest High Temperature

62 F

1928

Coldest High Temperature

- 5 F

1996

Minimum Temperature

10 F

Warmest Low Temperature

34 F

1994

Coldest Low Temperature

- 18 F

1983

Average Temperature

20 F

 

Warmest Average Temperature

44 F

1999

Coldest Average Temperature

- 11 F

1996

 

 

Wettest

0.50"

2009

   

Snowiest

12.0"

2009

 

 

Most Snow on Ground at 7 AM

23"

1996

  

Christmas Day in Wheaton, MN
(Period of Record 1914-2010 from Coop)

Climate Normals

Records

Maximum Temperature

20 F

Warmest High Temperature

49 F

1999

Coldest High Temperature

- 8 F

1996

Minimum Temperature

3 F

Warmest Low Temperature

37 F

1953

Coldest Low Temperature

- 28 F

1914

Average Temperature

12 F

 

Warmest Average Temperature

41 F

1994

Coldest Average Temperature

- 17 F

1914

   

Wettest

0.45"

1942

   

Snowiest

3.9"

2009

 

 

Most Snow on Ground at 7 AM

17"

1927

 



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