What Are the Odds For a White Christmas?

What are the chances of a white Christmas across eastern North Dakota and northwest through west central Minnesota in any year?  The graphic below shows that most of our area has a greater than 75 percent chance of a white Christmas with a 90 percent or better chance for most of northwest Minnesota.

White Christmas Odds

The table below shows some interesting information on two locations in our region for the past 67 winters (1942-2009).

       On Christmas Day                                Fargo                         Grand Forks

  • Average snow depth                     4.1 in.                              4.8 in. 
  • Maximum snow depth                  17 in.  1996                    27 in. 1996
  • Percent of Occurrence                  84%                                 90%
  • # Years with <1in snow depth     11  times                        7 times
  • Last  brown Christmas                  2006                               2006

What are the chances for a white Christmas this year? Pretty much guaranteed, although in weather nothing is a 100% sure thing. The current forecast calls for at least the threat for light snow the next few days, with temperatures remaining below freezing into the middle of the month. Based on the long range outlooks and climatology, the odds seriously favor a White Christmas in the Red River Valley and Lakes Region this year.

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