"I'm dreaming of a White Christmas ..."
So, you want a White Christmas? Well, if you live in Colorado, there's a decent shot at a White Christmas happening. Climatologically speaking, that is.
A White Christmas varies from person to person. Some think a White Christmas is when snow is falling when you wake up. Some think it's when snow is falling throughout the entire day. Others think that it doesn't have to be snowing, but snow has to be on the ground. Essentially, for what I am going to be talking about, I am going to use the definition from the National Weather Service, which is defined as at least 1" of snow on the ground on Christmas Day.
If you look outside right now in Denver, it's pretty bare. There are a few patches of ice left. (Sigh.) And a few very crunchy snow patches, but overall, it's rather brown and not white. I will talk about our forecast for Christmas in a bit, but first, let's speak climatologically.
The above image is the National view of where you could expect a White Christmas. Essentially, from this map, you can gather that you need to be in the high-elevation mountains, the northern Upper Midwest or in Northern New England. That's where people see more snow and cooler temperatures through the Fall months. Now, some of you may be triggered like I was when you read that sentence because we have had an extremely snowy fall.
Remember the Halloween snowstorm? What about the Thanksgiving snowstorm that dumped 10-40 inches of snow on the Front Range and Foothills? Yeah, those happened. But will a White Christmas Happen In Colorado? The forecast is looking just okay right now.
Here's a look at the chance of Colorado seeing a White Christmas. Basically, all of the High Country will likely have a White Christmas, but that makes sense. When you look onto the Front Range and the Eastern Plains, that's where the chances drop off. From Fort Collins to Colorado Springs and out to Sterling, there's a solid 25-75 percent chance of seeing a White Christmas. From Pueblo to Trinidad and out to Lamar, CO, the chance of a White Christmas go down—really only have a 10-40 percent chance. To get even more details in this view, let's zoom into Denver and Boulder.
The chances of snow vary quite a bit from location to location and even suburb to suburb. Here's what you can expect based on your location:
- Fort Collins – 25-40 Percent
- Greeley – 40-50 Percent
- Boulder – 40-50 Percent
- Denver – 25-40 Percent
- Aurora – 40-50 Percent
- Colorado Springs – 10-25 Percent
The closer to the Foothills you live, the better chances you have of seeing a White Christmas. This is great and all but what's the actual forecast looking like?
Here is the 6-10 day outlook from December 24-28. Looks rather warm for a large chunk of the country. White Christmas chances not looking great for many. pic.twitter.com/Qj0tjYoOTd— Andy Stein (@AndySteinWx) December 19, 2019
The CPC (Climate Prediction Center) issues 6-10 day outlooks daily and the one above is the temperature outlook for December 24-28. Notice how much red is on the map. That means warmer than average temperatures are forecast. For Colorado, we have a 30-50 percent chance of seeing above-average temperatures over the holidays, but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be too warm for snow ...
Here's a look at the EXMWF weather model, or simply, the Euro. This particular model has been handling winter weather the best so far this season, so I am using it here as a reference. Notice where the orange and yellow "blob" is if you will. That's an area of low pressure that is forecast to impact California the day before Christmas. In the wintertime, we look at these storms as our next weather makers. Typically, it takes about a day or so for those systems to make it to Colorado. That means, that we have a storm that may impact us right around Christmas day. There are signs of snow possible for the higher terrain but it is not looking particularly great for the Plains at this moment.
We will see where the forecast brings us but don't get your hopes up for a White Christmas. If you do want a White Christmas, head to the mountains. It's just about guaranteed.