Christmas Climatology for the Area

Dreaming of a white Christmas?  Unfortunately they are not very common in this area outside of the mountains.  The map below depicts the frequency where snow cover of at least ½ inch exists on Christmas Day: 


Looking closely, you can see that for the plains of eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle the frequency of a white Christmas is about 30-45% of the time.  Many areas of southeast Wyoming outside of the mountains into the Nebraska Panhandle did have snow on Christmas Day a couple years ago, in 2012, and again in 2011.  The frequency of snow actually falling on Christmas day is less than snow being on the ground though, about 15% of the time.  Snowfalls tend to be light over the plains when they do occur on Christmas Day.

The following table depicts the most recent as well as the heaviest snowfall and snow depths on Christmas day for select sites:

 

Cheyenne

Wheatland

Scottsbluff

Kimball

Last snowfall

1.6 in 2012

3.9 in 2012

0.7 in 2012

2.0 in 2007

Heaviest snowfall

2.8 in 1912

3.9 in 2012

4.1 in 2007

6.0 in 1985

Latest year with 1/2 inch or more on ground

2012

2012

2012

2012

Greatest Depth

9" in 1948

6" in 1987 9" in 1948 13" in 1985

 
In general, Christmas in this area tends to be cool and dry, with some breeziness around the mountains.  Temperatures have been quite varied however, with some Christmas Days being quite mild and others bitterly cold.  The next table summarizes temperature averages and extremes on Christmas Day for select sites across southeast Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle:

 

Cheyenne

Laramie

Rawlins

Wheatland

Chadron

Alliance

Scottsbluff

Kimball

Sidney

Avg Hi Temp.

38

32

31

41

38

38

39

39

41

Avg Low Temp.

17

10

12

17

9

8

12

13

15

Highest Temp.

60

52

48

63

62

62

66

64

66

Lowest Temp.

-14

-30

-27

-27

-20

-14

-14

-19

-10

What are the chances for a white Christmas around this area this year?  It's still quite early to be definitive, but a couple of long range models do depict a favorable pattern for snow on or about Christmas day.  Check back for updates.



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