Will it snow on Christmas? States could have white Christmas forecast

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It could be a white Christmas for several northern states in the U.S. this year, with as many as 16 states forecasted to see snow during the holiday. 

Much of the country has already felt the effects of an extraordinary winter snowstorm that begun the week leading up to Christmas, and while the storm is expected to be pass by Christmas Eve, snow and freezing temperatures will still be in the forecast for many through the Christmas weekend.

“Compared to the days leading up to Christmas, Christmas day looks pretty quiet,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines told USA TODAY. “Christmas day itself, things considered, it’s not too bad.”

Kines added this year will be a “big difference” from last year when much of the country didn’t see snow on the holiday. 

Here’s what to know about having a white Christmas this year:

What is a white Christmas?

A white Christmas is simply when it snows – or there is snow on the ground – on Christmas Day. The National Oceanic of Atmospheric Association defines a white Christmas as at least one inch of snow on the ground. 

Where will it be a white Christmas in 2022?

As many as 16 states could have snow falling on Christmas, according to Accuweather forecasts as of Tuesday afternoon. The Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Northeast regions of the U.S. are where snow is expected. Major cities like Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, Anchorage and Helena could see snow.

Here are the states and regions that could see snow on Christmas, according to Accuweather:

  • Southern and eastern Alaska
  • Eastern Washington state
  • Northeastern Oregon
  • Northern and southeastern Idaho
  • Northwest and central Montana
  • Northeast Wyoming 
  • Northern Wisconsin 
  • Michigan
  • Northern and central Illinois
  • Nearly all of Ohio
  • Nearly all of West Virginia
  • North and west Pennsylvania 
  • Nearly all of New York state except southeast New York
  • Northern Vermont
  • Northern and central New Hampshire
  • Northern and eastern Maine 

If your region is not listed here, that doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on a white Christmas. If you have snow left over from the winter storm still on the ground, that counts. 

“It’s gonna be a large portion of the country that has snow on the ground Christmas day. Probably two thirds of the country,” Kines said. 

If it’s not expected to snow in your area, you are likely to have at least cold temperatures, according to The Weather Channel. Only the Los Angeles area is expected to have temperatures above 80 degrees. 

Where does a white Christmas happen the most often?

A white Christmas is a rare occurrence for some people while it’s almost a guarantee for others. Snow on Christmas commonly happens in northern part of the U.S., and the NOAA says that’s where you can expect it the most.

According to data from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information from 1991-2020, 14 states have areas that have at least a 90% historical probability of having at least one inch of snow on the ground, while 25 states have a less than 10% historic probability of having snow.

Some states – like California, Utah and Washington – have areas with a higher than 90% chance and also areas with a less than 10% chance. 

Here are states that have areas with a 90% historic probability of having snow on the ground on Christmas:

  • California
  • Oregon 
  • Washington
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • New York 
  • New Hampshire
  • Maine

If you want to check the probability of your area, you can do so here

US weather radar

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Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

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