National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Denver Christmas History and Climatology

...White Christmas Probabilities...

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?  Here is the historical data for Denver since observations began more than a century ago.

If having a white Christmas means having one inch or more of snow on the ground on Christmas Day, then the chances are about 38 percent (44 days in 117 years since snow depth measurements began in 1900).

On the other hand, if a white Christmas means having measurable snowfall (0.1 inch or more) on Christmas Day, then the odds drop to about 15 percent (20 days in 135 years since snowfall measurement began in 1882).

Taking a closer look at recent statistics for the last 30 years, Denver has received measurable snowfall on 6 Christmas Days, or 20 percent.  Meanwhile, if we look at Christmas Days with 1 inch or more of snow on the ground, then 15 of the last 30 years have been a white Christmas, or 50 percent.

The most snow ever recorded on the ground in Denver on Christmas Day was 24 inches which was measured after the Christmas Eve blizzard of 1982.  Other significant Christmas snow depths include the following: 

5 Greatest Snow Depths on Christmas since 1900

1982:  24"
1913:  19"
2006:  15"
1973:  12"
1918:  11"

The heaviest snowfall on Christmas Day was 7.8 inches which occurred in 2007.  Other significant Christmas snowfalls include the following: 

5 Greatest Snowfalls on Christmas since 1882

2007:  7.8"
1894:  6.4"
2014:  3.4"
2015:  2.3"
1912:  1.7"

  

A description of Christmas Weather going back to 2000 is listed below.

 

...Christmas Day 2016...

A strong storm system moved quickly across northern Colorado Christmas Day which brought strong winds to the foothills and western suburbs of the Denver metro area.   Winds of 80 to 100 mph occurred in the foothills with gusts from 60 to 80 mph across the western suburbs of the Denver metro area.   Denver International Airport briefly had snow along with a thunderstorm around midday however only a trace of snow fell.  Across the northeast plains a few inches of snow accumulated in some areas.

...Christmas Day 2015...

Light Snow developed over portions of the area by midday and lingered through the afternoon.  A period of heavier snow occurred in the early evening hours with accumulations ranging from 2 to 4 inches across the Denver metro area.  Officially 2.3" of snow fell at Denver International Airport.  This was the second Christmas in a row that measurable snow occurred which is extremely rare.   Furthermore this was the first time on record that snowfall exceeded 1" or more on consecutive Christmas Days.

...Christmas Day 2014...

Christmas Day started out dry and mild. However, snow began to fall late in the afternoon and continued through the night.  3.4" of snow was officially reported at Denver International Airport by Midnight with a total of 4.4" by the following morning.  Across the Denver Metro area, amounts ranged from 3 to 6 inches with 8 to 10  inches in the far western suburbs and around Boulder.

...Christmas Day 2013...

Near normal temperatures were experienced. Dry conditions prevailed with no snow on the ground.
    

...Christmas Day 2012...

Snow began on the evening of December 24th and then gradually ended by sunrise on Christmas morning.  2.6" of new snow was recorded at Denver International Airport with a Christmas morning snow depth of 2".  Snow accumulations were generally in the 2 to 4 inch range around Denver with up to 6 inches in Boulder.  Christmas 2012 made 6 of the last 7 years in which at least 1 inch of snow has been on the ground for Christmas Day. The last time this happened was from 1987 through 1993.  Meanwhile the high temperature in Denver was 16 degrees which was the 3rd coldest on record for Christmas Day. 


...Christmas Day 2011...

A snowstorm affected the Front Range from the evening on December 21st which ended by midday on December 22nd.   The official snowfall for Denver was 7.3" however snowfall amounts over much of the Denver Metro area ranged from 8 to 12 inches, with locally up to 15 inches near the foothills.  In the foothills to the west and southwest of Denver snowfall accumulations of 18" to 36" occurred with the storm.  The official Snow Depth was 3 inches on Christmas Day with a High of 35 degrees and a Low of 19 degrees.   In 5 out of the last 6 years there has been at least  one inch of snow on the ground for Christmas Day.   The last time this happened was from 1988 through 1993.     

...Christmas Day 2010...

Christmas Day 2010 was mild and dry with a high of 52 degrees and a low of 17.

...Christmas Day 2009...

Christmas Day 2009 was the 4th white Christmas in a row, with snow falling off and on from December 22nd through December 26th.  A total of 7.8 inches of snow was recorded during that time frame, with the 23rd recording the most snowfall with 4.9 inches.  Only a trace of new snowfall was recorded on Christmas Day.  Snow depth peaked at 5 inches on Christmas Eve, settling down to 3 inches on Christmas Day.  Temperatures were quite cold with a high of only 24 degrees and a low temperature of 1 below zero!

...Christmas Day 2008...

Christmas 2008 featured dry weather and near normal temperatures, with a high of 48 and a low of 12.  Even though there was no snowfall on the date, there was still one inch of snow on the ground Christmas morning, officially making it a white Christmas.

...Christmas Day 2007...

A record 7.8 inches of snowfall occurred on Christmas Day 2007 as a winter storm hit northeast Colorado.  This broke the old record of Christmas Day snowfall which was 6.4 inches set all the way back in 1894.  Another storm struck just 2 days later on the 27th with an additional 5.4 inches of snowfall.

...Christmas Day 2006...

Christmas 2006 will be remembered as another truly white Christmas.  The Denver area had just dug out of the December 20-21 blizzard which buried the city under nearly 2 feet of snowfall.  There was still 15 inches of snow on the ground Christmas morning, and a light dusting of new snow (officially 0.2 inches) fell on Christmas Eve.  Temperatures were near normal with a high of 43 and a low of 11 degrees.

...Christmas Day 2005...

Record warmth occurred on Christmas Day 2005 with a high temperature reaching 69 degrees under sunny skies.  The low temperature was only 35.

...Christmas Day 2004...

After a brief cold snap and a few flurries from the 21st through the 23rd, temperatures warmed to above normal levels by Christmas with a high of 53 and a low of 28 degrees.  Only a trace of snow was recorded on the ground Christmas morning.

...Christmas Day 2003...

It was a dry and mild day with a high of 51 degrees and a low of 26.

...Christmas Day 2002...

2002 was the driest year in Denver weather history, and December's weather didn't do anything to help.  Only a trace of snow was recorded during the entire month, with no snow falling Christmas Day.  Temperatures were cool with a high and low of 36 and 11 degrees, respectively.

...Christmas Day 2001...

This was another cool Christmas with a high of 38 degrees and a low of 20.  No snow fell, but a trace of snow was left on the ground after a light 0.6 inch snowfall on the 22nd.

...Christmas Day 2000...

Late on Christmas Eve, light snow began to fall across the Denver metro area.  The light snow continued until late evening on Christmas Day, totalling 0.9 inch.  The official temperature for Christmas Day only reached 24 degrees after a morning low of 16.

 

Denver's Yearly Christmas Weather Statistics and Climatology since 1872


           Average High: 43.3....Warmest...69 (2005)......Coldest....10 (1884..1876)
Average Low:  17.7....Warmest...45 (1899)......
Coldest.. -15 (1876)
 Greatest Snowfall...7.8" (2007)...Greatest Snow Depth...24" (1982)

The following is a list of  years going back to 1872 that includes Snow Depth, Snowfall, and Highs and Lows for each Christmas Day. 
(Daily Snow Depth is not available prior to 1900 while Daily Snowfall 
is not available before 1882)
(Snow Depth since 1952 has been taken between 5 am and 6 am)...(Prior to 1952 Snow Depth was taken in the evening)

 

Year

Snow Depth

Snowfall

High

Low

2016 T T 46 20
2015 1 2.3 26 15
2014 0 3.4 46 19

2013

0

0

42

15

2012 2 0.7 16 0

2011

3

0

35

19

2010 0 0 52 17
2009 3 Trace  24 -1
2008 1 0 48 12
2007 8 7.8 32 13
2006 15 0.2 43 11
2005 0 0 69 35
2004 Trace  0 53 28
2003 0 0 51 26
2002 0 0 36 11
2001 Trace  0 38 20
2000 1 0.9 24 16
1999 0 0 55 29
1998 3 0 48 28
1997 2 0.5 25 13
1996 Trace  0 54 5
1995 0 0 50 19
1994 0 0 60 27
1993 2 0 53 25
1992 2 0 42 20
1991 0 0 48 18
1990 1 0 18 2
1989 2 0 53 15
1988 1 0 30 17
1987 4 0 19 -2
1986 0 0 39 18
1985 0 0 53 24
1984 0 0 45 20
1983 5 0.4 13 -10
1982 24 0.2 31 1
1981 5 0 41 13
1980 0 0 62 26
1979 4 0 50 16
1978 Trace  0 34 16
1977 0 0 41 8
1976 1 0 43 5
1975 0 0 47 27
1974 1 0 38 9
1973 12 0.1 42 11
1972 Trace  0 43 27
1971 0 0 66 26
1970 0 0 46 4
1969 1 0 42 10
1968 2 0 50 18
1967 0 Trace  40 24
1966 0 0 26 7
1965 1 0 58 22
1964 1 1.2 53 11
1963 Trace  0 62 27
1962 1 Trace  13 -8
1961 0 0 65 32
1960 Trace  0 50 28
1959 0 0 62 30
1958 0 0 51 22
1957 0 0 50 27
1956 Trace  0 47 16
1955 0 0 66 23
1954 0 0 52 25
1953 Trace 0 53 19
1952 Trace  0 34 4
1951 Trace  0 39 15
1950 0 0 63 33
1949 0 0 38 13
1948 3 0 20 -1
1947 0 0 58 29
1946 0 0 65 32
1945 0 0 45 26
1944 0 0 20 10
1943 0 0 44 28
1942 0 0 43 29
1941 6 1.5 24 9
1940 0 0 43 30
1939 2 1.4 19 15
1938 0 0 55 24
1937 0 0 53 23
1936 0 0 54 30
1935 0 0 30 15
1934 0 0 49 18
1933 0 0 55 25
1932 0 0 34 22
1931 0 0 55 32
1930 1 0 43 16
1929 0 0 65 40
1928 0 0 58 28
1927 0 0 41 16
1926 5 0 34 10
1925 0 0 53 28
1924 6 0 39 9
1923 0 0 43 23
1922 0 0 51 32
1921 3 0 41 15
1920 2 0.2 34 14
1919 0 0 58 34
1918 11 0 32 4
1917 0 0 47 25
1916 2 0.6 23 1
1915 0 0 57 16
1914 2 0 39 14
1913 19 0 32 3
1912 2 1.7 31 7
1911 2 0.2 20 1
1910 0 0 34 19
1909 3 0 43 10
1908 2 0 52 20
1907 0 0 45 21
1906 0 0 58 26
1905 0 0 56 14
1904 0 0 50 7
1903 0 0 49 18
1902 0 0 52 23
1901 0 0 40 20
1900 0 0 45 26
1899 NA 0 59 45
1898 NA 0 46 17
1897 NA 0 45 20
1896 NA 0 54 23
1895 NA 0 30 7
1894 NA 6.4 18 8
1893 NA 0 47 14
1892 NA 0 50 36
1891 NA 0.5 22 -4
1890 NA 0 48 22
1889 NA 0 58 40
1888 NA 0.4 38 19
1887 NA 0 43 21
1886 NA 0 54 29
1885 NA 0 57 24
1884 NA 0 10 -2
1883 NA 0 37 34
1882 NA 0 35

12

1881 NA NA 49

30

1880 NA NA 53 22
1879 NA NA 32 -11
1878 NA NA 16 -3
1877 NA NA 33 20
1876 NA NA 10 -15
1875 NA NA 50 18
1874 NA NA 41 10
1873 NA NA 53 25
1872 NA NA 55 40

 

 

Nationwide probabilities of a White Christmas