Historical Probability of a White Christmas

The map below is based on the statistical frequency of a white Christmas based on historical weather records.

National map of historical probabilities of a White Christmas

Map shows the historical frequency of a White Christmas.  Map courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

  • The historical frequency of a white Christmas across our region averages about 15 percent.  A White Christmas (as defined by the National Climatic Data Center) is one with an inch or more of snow on the ground at 6 A.M. The official snow depth is taken once each day at 6 A.M. CST.   
  • The last White Christmas throughout our region was in 2010, when 2 to 4 inches fell on Christmas Eve. A very memorable winter storm produced record snowfall on Dec. 22, 2004, halting most travel right before Christmas.
  • Many parts of southern Illinois and southwest Indiana experienced a White Christmas in 2002. A snowstorm affected much of southern Illinois on Christmas Eve of 2002, bringing up to 8 inches.

What about this year? Accurate daily forecasts are only issued out to 7 days into the future. A more generalized outlook is available for 8 to 14 days into the future.

Christmas Normals and Records

  Normal high Normal low Record high Record low
Evansville 42 25

68 in 1982

-11 in 2004

Paducah  44 27

69 in 1982

-8 in 2004

Cape Girardeau 43 25

65 in 1982

-10 in 2004

Carbondale 43 24

67 in 1982

-9 in 2004

 Normals are for 30-year period from 1981-2010 (from NCDC)

Recent Christmas Weather

  Evansville, IN Paducah, KY  
Year High Low Snow depth High Low Snow depth Year
2011 55 28 0 56 28 0 2011
2010 33 29 1 33 29 3 2010
2009 54 31 0 53 29 0 2009
2008 36 20 0 41 24 0 2008
2007 50 25 0 51 23 0 2007
2006 41 38 0 43 37 0 2006
2005 45 34 0 43 37 0 2005
2004 25 -11 11 27 -8 9 2004
2003 40 23 0 42 18 0 2003
2002 29 25 Trace 27 24 Trace 2002
2001 30 20 0 32 19 0 2001
2000 22 0 Trace 24 7 Trace 2000
1999 34 8 Trace 37 12 0 1999
1998 34 12 0 38 11 0 1998
1997 44 33 0 43 37 0 1997
1996 28 16 0 30 17 0 1996
1995 30 21 Trace 31 21 Trace 1995

 

Recent Christmas Weather

  Cape Girardeau, MO Carbondale, IL  
Year High Low Snow depth High Low Snow depth Year
2011 58 26 M 45 25 0 2011
2010 34 29 M 33 28 2 2010
2009 49 28 M 54 26 0 2009
2008 40 24 M 38 20 0 2008
2007 51 24 M 51 25 0 2007
2006 44 36 M 42 34 0 2006
2005 46 36 M 44 36 0 2005
2004 25 -10 M 26 -11 9 2004
2003 41 18 M 44 19 0 2003
2002 26 21 M 27 19 4 2002
2001 32 18 M 32 20 0 2001
2000 21 6 M 18 3 3 2000
1999 36 13 M 36 12 0 1999


Severe Storms and Tornadoes During Past Christmas Seasons:
A major tornado outbreak occurred in our region on December 18, 1957.
Eleven deaths and 200 injuries occurred with a single F-4 tornado that tracked across parts of Jackson, Williamson, and Franklin Counties in southern Illinois. Another F-4 tornado in Jefferson County, Illinois killed 1 and injured 45. An hour or two later, a tornado rated F-3 intensity tracked 20 miles across Hamilton, White, and Edwards Counties. Only a handful of injuries were reported in that tornado. Three deaths were associated with an F-3 tornado in Scott County, Missouri.


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