White Christmas in the Grand Valley

 

In a location that averages only 19.1 inches of snow annually, it’s not surprising that a White Christmas is rare in the Grand Valley. Only 17 Christmases have seen measurable (greater than a trace) new snowfall since 1893 (or, about 13% of the time). Only three of these days recorded more than an inch. Another definition of a White Christmas can mean the presence of snow cover on the ground (with or without snowfall that day). Only 20% of Christmas Days in Grand Junction’s recorded history have seen measurable snow on the ground.

Only 25 days had an inch or more of snow on the ground on Christmas morning.

In recent history, measuring 4 inches,  2013 and 2012 ranked in the top 6 years for having the most snow on the ground come Christmas Day.

2008 ranked in the top three and 2009 was in the top eleven whitest on record. That marked the 4th year in a row that we experienced a white Christmas in recent history.  The last time that happened was way back in 1961, 1962 and 1963 when 3 in a row occurred. 


The first reported White Christmas since weather records began 114 years ago occurred in 1904, when 2.9 inches of snow fell in Grand Junction.

The most recent White Christmas was in 2013 with 4 inches of snow on the ground. The year before, 2012, also had 4 inches on the ground. In 2008, 0.3 inches fell leaving a total of 5 inches on the ground when combined with earlier storms. A slightly whiter event occurred in 2000, when 0.7" of new snow was dropped in the pre-dawn hours. However, the most memorable Christmas storm in the valley happened back in 1983. Snow began falling around midday on December 23rd of that year, and continued (with minor breaks) through the 27th. Christmas Day 1983 saw 3.5 inches of new snow, with 7 inches on the ground. (The total snowfall for that month totaled 19.0 inches, setting the December record for Grand Junction).

 

The following is a list of the Top 10 greatest snowfall and snow depths recorded in Grand Junction on Christmas Day:

             

Highest Snowfall

 

Greatest Snow Depth

             
1. 3.5" 1983   1. 7" 1983
2. 2.9" 1904   2. 6" 1967
3. 2.2" 1940   3. 5" 2008
4. 0.7" 2000   4. 4" 2013/2012/1962/1932/1924
5. 0.6" 1913   5. 3" 2009/2007/1978/1963
6. 0.5" 1988   6. 3" 1961/1919/1913
7. 0.4" 1943   7. 2" 1998/1990/1987
8. 0.3" 2008, 1939   8. 2" 1972/1968/1954
9. 0.2" 2007, 1937   9. 1" 2006/2000/1991
10. 0.2" 1922   10. 1" 1982/1979/1957/1940


That coldest Christmas on record for Grand Junction (since 1893) occurred in 1924, when residents awoke to a morning low of -17 degrees. The period from December 24th to December 27th that year saw morning lows ranging from -15 degrees to -21 degrees during each of the four days. Daytime highs rose no higher than 12 degrees. (1924 was the 7th coldest Grand Junction December on record).

The last below zero temperature in Grand Junction recorded on Christmas Morning was in 1998 when the thermometer bottomed out at -1˚ F.

The warmest Christmas Day in Grand Junction weather records saw a high temperature of 60
˚ in 1971.

Image of snow in Grand Junction, CO


 



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