What are the odds of a White Christmas in Syracuse?

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) —  We are getting deeper into December which means the question turns to whether Syracuse and Central New York will see a White Christmas this year.

A White Christmas is labeled as 1” or more of snow depth on the ground on Christmas Day.

Historical chance of a white Christmas:

Historical odds of having a White Christmas with 1” of snow or more on the ground in Syracuse is about 53%, so about a 50/50 proposition.

The chances of it snowing on Christmas Day are greater than that. Snow in the air on the holiday happens 64% of the time which is close to 2 out of 3 years. We manage to get at least an inch of snow to fall on 25% of Christmas days.

Weather records have been kept in Syracuse since 1902.

What are some past Christmas weather extremes?

It was a very snowy Christmas in 1978 with 15.6” of heavy snow and if you tack on the 1.9” that fell Christmas Eve it was roughly a foot-and-a-half snowstorm for Syracuse. Only one other Christmas, 2002, had at least 10” of snow on Christmas.

The warmest Christmas Day was 66 in 1932.  There have been three others at 60 degrees or better and as recently as Christmas 2014 we came close, reaching 59 degrees!

The coldest Christmas morning came in 1980 with a bone-chilling -22 degrees. Second place is not even close, only -3 degrees in 1983.

Any early thoughts on a White Christmas this year?

Unfortunately, we are still more than two weeks away from the big day so it is much too early to forecast whether it will be a White Christmas in Syracuse.

Certainly, heading beyond this upcoming Monday (when there likely is some accumulating snow) our mid-December snow chances in Central New York look to be on the low side.

As we head toward the end of the upcoming week, we should have some clues as to the ‘broad strokes’ of the pattern that would be in place leading up to December 25. Whether it would be warm or colder than normal would come into better focus and the week after that more of the details would begin to emerge.


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