Want to see a White Christmas this year? Pack your bags

If you haven’t looked at the forecast yet, then let me be the one to tell you that there will NOT be a White Christmas in D.C. this year. But if you have the money and flexibility, you have the option for a snowy holiday.

The last time D.C. saw what is technically a White Christmas was in 2009. The official meteorological definition, according to Storm Team 4’s Mike Stinneford, is an inch of snow on the ground around the time the sun would come up on Christmas morning. That year a few inches of the white stuff remained on the ground a full week after we got socked by a snow storm.

But the last time we had measurable snow fall ON Christmas Day — was back in 1969. Lucy isn’t just pulling the White Christmas football away from Charlie Brown, she’s not even going outside to play.

That’s not to say a White Christmas is becoming statistically impossible in the D.C. area. At least not yet.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less likely at that particular time of year,” said Imke Durre with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We’re talking about trends in one particular day, or time of year,” said Durre. Which makes it hard to “say with sufficient certainty exactly what regional or large scale patterns are with that.”

However, she said we are starting to see the line between places that get snow and places that get rain in the winter, drift north.

She suggests your odds of a White Christmas (remember, technically winter just began this weekend with the winter solstice) will improve if you go looking for places that see more snow during the fall months, “which would potentially mean the higher chance of a White Christmas even if the total snow fall is going down” on days like this, said Durre.

Your best bet?

“Go to very high elevations of the west,” said Durre. “Crater Lake (in Oregon) was the place where we had 100% probability of a White Christmas. Other places would be the far northern edge, especially the interior of the U.S., such as northern Minnesota.”

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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