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White Christmas Probabilities

Tis the season for talk about white Christmas potential to start making its way across the interwebs and onto your favorite TV meteorologist's late news weather show.

So what qualifies as an official white Christmas?
The National Climatic Data Center says one or more inches of snow on the ground at daybreak on Christmas morning constitutes a white Christmas.

Locals in some areas disagree and will count as a white Christmas, any amount of snow on either Christmas eve or Christmas day. Local traditions are not factored into the map on the right.
Alright kids, this is the part where you should probably stop reading because I'm about to rain on your white Christmas - quite literally.

To the left are maps created by WDT's Ed Berry. Ed is a superstar seasonal and sub-seasonal forecaster and between he and his colleague, Dr. David Gold, they nail scary good forecasts regularly. These particular maps are distributed to natural gas interests and traders.

As you can easily see, we're expecting a warmer than normal mid December and buzz around the office is that things shouldn't fluctuate too much between the 18th and the 25th. Does this mean no white Christmas? Absolutely not! Northern, mountain, and Great Lake states will experience the same opportunity for snow as they normally do but states on the fringe of the historical snowfall map above will struggle to accomplish the white Christmas moniker.

Climatologically speaking, here are the top 5 non-mountain locations for a white Christmas in the lower 48:
Duluth, Minnesota: 97%
Wausau, Wisconsin: 93%
Marquette, Michigan: 90%
Fargo, North Dakota: 83%
Portland, Maine: 83%

Useless fact completely unrelated to weather:
The Irving Berlin song, "White Christmas", sung by Bing Crosby from the film Holiday Inn, is the highest-selling single of all time.

Meeting Notes

Forecast 10-25-06: Lightning