National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Weather in the Southeast and Heavy Rain in the Northeast

Low pressure and a trailing cold front will cross the Eastern U.S. through this evening. Severe thunderstorms will be most common in the Southeast states where an Enhanced Risk exists over the Carolinas for a threat of damaging winds. Heavy rain will bring an elevated potential for flash flooding from the upper Ohio River Valley into northern Vermont where Flash Flood Watches are in effect. Read More >

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
631 PM EST MON DEC 21 2015

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*        *          WHITE CHRISTMAS STATISTICS  *         *
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HERE ARE THE CHRISTMAS STATISTICS FOR BALTIMORE MD AND WASHINGTON
DC COMPILED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICES BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON
FORECAST OFFICE.

THE BIG QUESTIONS...

WHAT IS THE CHANCE FOR A WHITE CHRISTMAS? ...

WHAT IS TYPICAL CHRISTMAS WEATHER? ...

FIRST FOR WASHINGTON DC...THEN FOR BALTIMORE MD...

                         *** WASHINGTON DC ***

EXAMINATION OF CLIMATE RECORDS GOING BACK TO 1872 FOR CHRISTMASES
IN WASHINGTON DC SHOW A TYPICAL CHRISTMAS DAY IS PARTLY CLOUDY
WITH A FROSTY EARLY MORNING LOW OF 30 AND AN AFTERNOON HIGH OF 44.
BUT THE YEAR-TO-YEAR WEATHER CAN VARY CONSIDERABLY.

COLDEST CHRISTMASES...

THE COLDEST WAS 1983. THE LOW TEMPERATURE WAS 3 DEGREES ABOVE
ZERO. THAT DAY ALSO PRODUCED THE COLDEST HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THE
DAY... A FRIGID 14 DEGREES THAT AFTERNOON...AND THE COLDEST DAILY
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR CHRISTMAS...9 DEGREES. THE FIVE COLDEST
LOW TEMPERATURES ON CHRISTMAS DAY WERE:

          1983 - 3  DEGREES
          1872 - 5  DEGREES
          1989 - 11 DEGREES
          1980 - 12 DEGREES
          1906 - 13 DEGREES

WARMEST CHRISTMASES...

THE WARMEST CHRISTMAS DAY FEATURED A TOASTY HIGH OF 72 DEGREES IN
1964. THE WARMEST CHRISTMAS IN TERMS OF AVERAGE TEMPERATURE WAS
1982...THE AVERAGE THAT DAY WAS 59 DEGREES.

THE 6 WARMEST CHRISTMASES:

          1964 - 72 DEGREES
          1982 - 70 DEGREES
          1965 - 69 DEGREES
          1932 - 68 DEGREES
     1889,1893 - 65 DEGREES

RECENT CHRISTMASES:

LAST YEAR...2014...A COLD FRONT CROSSED THE AREA DURING THE PRE-
DAWN HOURS WITH VERY MILD CONDITIONS AND SHOWERS AHEAD OF THE
FRONT. SKIES CLEARED BY LATE MORNING AND BREEZY NORTHWEST WINDS
DEVELOPED BEHIND THE FRONT WITH WINDS GUSTING AROUND 30 MPH AT
TIMES FROM LATE MORNING THROUGH MID AFTERNOON. WINDS ABATED BY
NIGHTFALL. THE HIGH OF 61 DEG OCCURRED AT 135 AM PRIOR TO FRONTAL
PASSAGE. THE LOW OF 46 DEG OCCURRED JUST PRIOR TO MIDNIGHT. THE
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 54 DEG WAS 17 DEGREES ABOVE THE NORMAL OF
37 DEG AND 0.12 INCHES OF RAIN WAS RECORDED. THERE WAS NO SNOW.

      2014 -->  HI 61  LOW 46   PRE-DAWN COLD FRONT THEN MILD MOSTLY SUNNY
      2013 -->  HI 33  LOW 22   MOSTLY SUNNY AND COOL
      2012 -->  HI 51  LOW 34   MOSTLY CLOUDY AND SEASONABLY MILD
      2011 -->  HI 48  LOW 34   MOSTLY SUNNY AND SEASONABLE
      2010 -->  HI 36  LOW 32   CLOUDY/MORNING FLURRIES
      2009 -->  HI 47  LOW 29   SNOWMELT/CLOUDY/MID AFTERNOON-NIGHT RAIN
      2008 -->  HI 58  LOW 32   PARTLY SUNNY HIGH OCCURRED AT MIDNIGHT
      2007 -->  HI 52  LOW 37   PARTLY SUNNY AND MILD
      2006 -->  HI 50  LOW 37   CLOUDY WITH AFTERNOON AND NIGHT RAIN
      2005 -->  HI 44  LOW 30   CLOUDY WITH AFTERNOON RAIN
      2004 -->  HI 33  LOW 24   SUNNY AND COLD
      2003 -->  HI 42  LOW 31   MOSTLY SUNNY AND BLUSTERY
      2002 -->  HI 39  LOW 33   RAIN WITH SOME SNOW/SLEET
      2001 -->  HI 41  LOW 28   MOSTLY SUNNY AND COOL
      2000 -->  HI 28  LOW 19   SUNNY BREEZY AND COLD

FOR SNOW LOVERS...

FOR 2015...THERE IS NO CHANCE...ZERO...OF HAVING SNOW ON
CHRISTMAS.

SNOWFALL OCCURRING ON CHRISTMAS DAY IS RARE IN WASHINGTON DC.
SINCE 1884 WHEN SNOWFALL RECORDS BEGAN IN WASHINGTON DC...ONLY 9
TIMES HAS THERE BEEN MEASURABLE SNOW THAT ACTUALLY FELL ON
CHRISTMAS DAY. THAT AVERAGES TO ABOUT ONCE EVERY 14-15 YEARS...OR
ABOUT 7 PERCENT.

THE 6 HIGHEST SNOWFALL DAYS OCCURRING IN WASHINGTON DC ON
CHRISTMAS DAY...

    1... 1962 ... 5.4 INCHES
    2... 1909 ... 4.5 INCHES
    3... 1969 ... 4.3 INCHES
    4... 1902 ... 1.0 INCHES
    5... 1935 ... 0.6 INCHES
    6... 1892 ... 0.5 INCHES

WASHINGTON DC LAST HAD MEASURABLE SNOW ON CHRISTMAS 2002...
0.2 INCHES.

IF ONE INTERPRETS A WHITE CHRISTMAS BEING AS EITHER HAVING
MEASURABLE SNOWFALL AND/OR HAVING SNOW ALREADY ON THE GROUND...A
SNOW DEPTH OF AN INCH OR MORE...ON CHRISTMAS...THEN ODDS OF A
WHITE CHRISTMAS ARE BETTER. SINCE 1888...NINETEEN TIMES
MEASURABLE SNOW WAS ON THE GROUND ON CHRISTMAS DAY THAT EITHER
FELL THAT DAY...OR WAS STILL ON THE GROUND FROM AN EARLIER
SNOWFALL. THAT AVERAGES TO A WHITE CHRISTMAS ABOUT ONCE EVERY 6-7
YEARS...OR A 15 PERCENT CHANCE.

IN THE PAST 20 YEARS...THERE HAS BEEN ONLY ONE CHRISTMAS THAT HAD
MEASURABLE SNOWFALL...0.2 INCHES IN 2002.

ONLY THREE YEARS IN THE PAST 50 HAVE HAD AN INCH OR MORE OF SNOW
ON THE GROUND ON CHRISTMAS. THEY WERE...1966 HAD 7 INCHES ON THE
GROUND...1989...WHEN NEARLY 2 INCHES OF SNOW WERE ON THE GROUND
FROM PREVIOUS SNOWFALL THAT MONTH...AND 2009 WHEN 7 INCHES WERE
STILL ON THE GROUND FROM THE MAJOR SNOWSTORM THAT HIT ON DECEMBER
18- 19 THAT WINTER. ALL 7 INCHES OF THAT SNOWPACK ON CHRISTMAS
2009 MELTED BY THE NEXT MORNING.

IN TERMS OF ADVERSE TRAVEL IMPACT...ON CHRISTMAS EVENING 1993...
SNOW FELL FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES PRODUCING LESS THAN ONE HALF INCH
OF SNOW ACROSS THE DC REGION...0.2 INCHES WAS MEASURED AT REAGAN
NATIONAL AIRPORT. THAT QUICK BURST OF SNOW CAUSED SEVERE TRAVEL
PROBLEMS. THE SNOW MELTED ON CONTACT WITH PAVED SURFACES...AS
TEMPERATURES WERE JUST ABOVE FREEZING AT THE TIME THE SNOW FELL.
BUT TEMPERATURES QUICKLY FELL BELOW FREEZING BY MID EVENING JUST
AFTER THE SNOW ENDED. ANY LIQUID WATER REMAINING ON ROADS FROM
MELTED SNOW QUICKLY FROZE INTO A THIN LAYER OF ICE...WHICH CAUSED
TREACHEROUS TRAVEL THAT NIGHT.

PRECIPITATION OF ANY SORT (RAIN INCLUDED) IS MUCH EASIER TO COME
BY OF COURSE. FIFTY-TWO CHRISTMASES HAVE HAD MEASURABLE
PRECIPITATION. THAT TRANSLATES TO ABOUT 36 PERCENT OF THE TIME.

                         *** BALTIMORE MD ***

EXAMINATION OF WEATHER RECORDS GOING BACK TO 1872...SHOWS A
TYPICAL CHRISTMAS DAY IS PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A FROSTY EARLY
MORNING LOW OF 26 AND AN AFTERNOON HIGH OF 43. BUT THE YEAR-TO-
YEAR WEATHER CAN VARY CONSIDERABLY.

COLDEST CHRISTMASES...

THE COLDEST...1983 WHEN THE TEMPERATURE HIT ZERO DEGREES. THAT
DAY ALSO PRODUCED THE COLDEST HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THE DAY...A
FRIGID 12 DEGREES THAT AFTERNOON AND THE COLDEST AVERAGE
TEMPERATURE OF 6 DEGREES. THE FIVE COLDEST LOWS ON CHRISTMAS IN
BALTIMORE WERE:

          1983 - 0  DEGREES
          1980 - 7  DEGREES
          1989 - 7  DEGREES
          1872 - 8  DEGREES
          1960 - 12 DEGREES

WARMEST CHRISTMASES...

THE WARMEST CHRISTMAS IN BALTIMORE...A TOASTY 72 DEGREES IN 1964
WHICH ALSO HAD WARMEST AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 60 DEGREES. THE
FIVE WARMEST CHRISTMASES:

          1964 - 72 DEGREES
          1982 - 70 DEGREES
          1932 - 67 DEGREES
          1893 - 67 DEGREES
          1889 - 67 DEGREES

RECENT CHRISTMASES:

LAST YEAR...2014...A COLD FRONT CROSSED THE AREA DURING THE PRE-
DAWN HOURS WITH VERY MILD CONDITIONS AND SHOWERS AHEAD OF THE
FRONT. SKIES CLEARED BY LATE MORNING AND BREEZY NORTHWEST WINDS
DEVELOPED BEHIND THE FRONT WITH WINDS GUSTING TO 35 MPH AT TIMES
FROM LATE MORNING THROUGH MID AFTERNOON. WINDS ABATED BY
NIGHTFALL. THE HIGH OF 61 DEG OCCURRED AT 1207 AM JUST PRIOR TO
FRONTA5L PASSAGE. THE LOW OF 35 DEG OCCURRED 31 MINS PRIOR TO
MIDNIGHT. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 48 DEG WAS 14 DEGREES ABOVE
THE NORMAL OF 34 DEG AND 0.08 INCHES OF RAIN WAS RECORDED. THERE
WAS NO SNOW.

      2014 -->  HI 61  LOW 35   PRE-DAWN COLD FRONT THEN MILD MOSTLY SUNNY
      2013 -->  HI 32  LOW 18   MOSTLY SUNNY AND COLD
      2012 -->  HI 48  LOW 30   MOSTLY CLOUDY AND SEASONABLY MILD
      2011 -->  HI 48  LOW 24   MOSTLY SUNNY AND SEASONABLE
      2010 -->  HI 34  LOW 29   CLOUDY/LIGHT SNOW IN THE MORNING
      2009 -->  HI 42  LOW 19   SNOWMELT/CLOUDY/LATE AFTERNOON-NIGHT RAIN
      2008 -->  HI 59  LOW 32   PARTLY SUNNY HIGH OCCURRED AT MIDNIGHT
      2007 -->  HI 50  LOW 30   PARTLY SUNNY AND MILD
      2006 -->  HI 50  LOW 30   CLOUDY WITH AFTERNOON AND NIGHT RAIN
      2005 -->  HI 42  LOW 24   CLOUDY WITH AFTERNOON RAIN
      2004 -->  HI 31  LOW 17   SUNNY AND COLD
      2003 -->  HI 41  LOW 28   MOSTLY SUNNY AND BLUSTERY
      2002 -->  HI 38  LOW 32   RAIN WITH SOME SNOW/SLEET
      2001 -->  HI 40  LOW 23   PARTLY SUNNY AND COOL
      2000 -->  HI 27  LOW 17   SUNNY BREEZY AND COLD

FOR SNOW LOVERS...

FOR 2015...THERE IS NO CHANCE...ZERO...OF HAVING SNOW ON
CHRISTMAS.

SNOW FALLING ON CHRISTMAS DAY IS RARE IN BALTIMORE. IT LAST
HAPPENED 13 YEARS AGO IN 2002 WHEN A GENERALLY RAINY CHRISTMAS
MORNING CHANGED TO SNOW DURING THE LATE MORNING TO YIELD AN INCH
OF SNOWFALL. HOWEVER...SINCE 1893 WHEN SNOWFALL RECORDS BEGAN IN
BALTIMORE MD...ONLY TWELVE TIMES HAS THERE BEEN MEASURABLE SNOW
THAT FELL ON CHRISTMAS DAY. THAT AVERAGES TO ABOUT ONCE EVERY 10
YEARS...OR ABOUT 10 PERCENT.

THE 5 HIGHEST SNOWFALLS OCCURRING IN BALTIMORE ON CHRISTMAS DAY...

    1... 1909 ... 9.3 INCHES
    2... 1969 ... 6.1 INCHES
    3... 1902 ... 3.0 INCHES
    4... 1962 ... 2.9 INCHES
    5... 1935 ... 1.2 INCHES

IF ONE INTERPRETS A WHITE CHRISTMAS AS EITHER MEASURABLE SNOWFALL
AND/OR HAVING SNOW ALREADY ON THE GROUND...A SNOW DEPTH OF AN
INCH OR MORE...THE ODDS OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS IMPROVE. SINCE
1893... THERE HAVE BEEN 24 CHRISTMASES THAT MEASURABLE SNOW EITHER
FELL THAT DAY...OR WAS ON THE GROUND ALREADY FROM A PREVIOUS
STORM. THAT AVERAGES TO A WHITE CHRISTMAS ABOUT ONCE EVERY 5
YEARS...OR ABOUT A 20 PERCENT CHANCE.

IN THE PAST 50 YEARS...THERE ARE ONLY FOUR YEARS THAT HAD MORE
THAN AN INCH OF SNOW ON THE GROUND ON CHRISTMAS. THE MOST RECENT
WAS IN 2009 WHEN 6 INCHES WAS STILL ON THE GROUND FROM THE MAJOR
SNOWSTORM THAT HIT THE REGION DECEMBER 18-19TH. ALL 6 INCHES OF
THAT SNOWPACK MELTED BY THE NEXT MORNING.

PRECIPITATION OF ANY SORT...INCLUDING RAIN...IS MUCH EASIER TO
COME BY OF COURSE. FIFTY CHRISTMASES HAVE HAD MEASURABLE
PRECIPITATION. THAT TRANSLATES TO ABOUT 35 PERCENT OF THE TIME.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

$$

SMZ/BAJ/CAS