National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

 

Wishing for a "White Christmas"? There are varying definitions pertaining to what exactly is a “White Christmas”. Some use only snowfall data, while others use only snow depth data and yet others which use both data sets to define a “White Christmas”. In the following “Christmas Facts” data, compiled from the , Colorado Springs, \pueblo and Alamosa climate records, we have defined a “White Christmas” as greater than 0.5 inches of snow falling on December 25th with at least 1 inch of snow on the ground. In any case, the chances are not very good if you are wishing for a “White Christmas” across much of Southeast Colorado. 

After a very eventful Christmas Day 2016, weather wise, with early morning snow across the higher terrain, as well as rain showers and a few thunderstorms across the eastern plains, Christmas Day 2017 looks to be much tamer across south central and southeast Colorado.  Current weather models are indicating a relatively cool and mainly dry day on December 24th, with continued dry conditions and temperatures warming back to near to slightly above seasonal levels for Christmas Day.  You can stay tuned to the latest forecasts across south central and southeast Colorado and for the rest of the United States at the following links:

Graphical Weather Forecast for south central and southeast Colorado 

Forecasts for the rest of the United States   


Christmas in Colorado Springs 

Almanac for Colorado Springs, CO
December 25th

Daily Data

Last Year

Normal

Record Highest

Record Lowest

Max Temperature

42

42

67 in 1971

16 in 1987

Min Temperature

24

17

34 in 1929

-15 in 1983

Avg Temperature

33.0

29.4

50.0 in 1955

2.5 in 1983

Precipitation

0.26

0.01

0.26 in 2016

0.00 in 2013

Snowfall

0

0.2

2.3 in 1911

0.0 in 2016

Snow Depth

0

-

7 in 1982

0 in 2016

HDD (base 65)

32

36

62 in 1983

15 in 1971

CDD (base 65)

0

0

0 in 2016

0 in 2016

 

 SNOWFALL
Record Snowfall: 2.3 inches in 1911

Number of times with a trace or more......21
Number of times with an inch or more.....6
Climatological chance of a trace or more...17%
Climatological chance of an inch or more...5%


SNOW ON THE GROUND
Record Snow on Ground: 7.0 inches in 1982.

Number of times with a trace or more.......29
Number of times with an inch or more......19
Climatological chance of a trace or more....43%
Climatological chance of an inch or more...28%

Snowfall records are in inches, from 1894 to the present.
Snow on the ground is at 5 am from 1948 to the present.
Snow depth records missing for 1996.

The last “White Christmas” was in 1987 when there was an inch of snow throughout the day, along with an inch of snow on the ground in the morning. Before that, the next previous “White Christmas” was in 1976 when there was an inch of snow during the day and an inch of snow on the ground in the morning. Christmas Day 1994 brought an unusual surprise to the north end of Colorado Springs, and the area northward to Castle Rock. At 1206 pm, a 4.0 earthquake rocked the region, shaking houses and buildings with no major damage reported.

 Christmas in Pueblo  

Almanac for Pueblo, CO
December 25th

Daily Data

Last Year

Normal

Record Highest

Record Lowest

Max Temperature

47

46

72 in 1971

14 in 1983

Min Temperature

27

13

37 in 1892

-10 in 1983

Avg Temperature

37

29.4

49.0 in 1889

2.0 in 1983

Precipitation

0.45

0.01

0.45 in 2016

0.00 in 2015

Snowfall

0.0

0.2

5.1 in 1987

0.0 in 2016

Snow Depth

0

-

8 in 2011

0 in 2016

HDD (base 65)

28

36

63 in 1983

16 in 1950

CDD (base 65)

0

0

0 in 2016

0 in 2016

 

SNOWFALL
Record Snowfall: 5.1 inches in 1987

Number of times with a trace or more......19
Number of times with an inch or more.....7
Climatological chance of a trace or more...15%
Climatological chance of an inch or more...5%


SNOW ON THE GROUND
Record Snow on Ground: 8.0 inches in 2011.

Number of times with a trace or more.......20
Number of times with an inch or more......13
Climatological chance of a trace or more....31%
Climatological chance of an inch or more...19%

The last “White Christmas” occurred in 2000. The snow began falling shortly before midnight Christmas Eve, with only trace amounts reported through the morning hours. The snow began to pick up during the afternoon hours and ended shortly before midnight, with a total snowfall of 1.8 inches. The next previous "White Christmas” occurred in 1987, when there was 1 inch of snow on the ground at 5 am that morning, and a record total of 5.1 inches falling for the day. The last time before that was in 1976. There was 1 inch of snow on the ground that Christmas morning, with an additional 0.6 inches falling that day. Since 1888, there has been only two separate occasions where snow has fallen on consecutive Christmas: in 1911 and 1912, and again in 1941 and 1942.

While not a white Christmas, an extremely rare event occurred early Christmas morning in 2016, when thunderstorms producing heavy rain and small hail moved through the Pueblo area during the pre-dawn hours. This is the only time such an event has been record since 1939, when thunderstorm and hail stats began.
 

  Christmas in Alamosa  

Almanac for Alamosa, CO
December 25th

Daily Data

Last Year

Normal

Record Highest

Record Lowest

Max Temperature

32

34

60 in 1942

12 in 1991

Min Temperature

6

-2

28 in 1971

-27 in 1974

Avg Temperature

19

16.1

39.5 in 1971

-7.0 in 1974

Precipitation

0.19

0.01

0.23 in 1942

0.00 in 2013

Snowfall

1.5

0.2

3.5 in 1942

0.0 in 2013

Snow Depth

5

-

10 in 1991

0 in 2014

HDD (base 65)

46

49

72 in 1974

25 in 1971

CDD (base 65)

0

0

0 in 2016

0 in 2016

 

 SNOWFALL
Record Snowfall: 3.5 inches in 1942

Number of times with a trace or more.........19
Number of times with an inch or more..........9
Climatological chance of a trace or more.........22%
Climatological chance of an inch or more........11%


SNOW ON THE GROUND
Record Snow on Ground: 10.0 inches in 1991

Number of times with a trace or more............50
Number of times with an inch or more...........39
Climatological chance of a trace or more..........59%
Climatological chance of an inch or more.........46%

Snowfall records are in inches, from 1932 to the present.
Snow on the ground is at 5 am MST
(7 am MST from 1984 - 1991 due to part-time staffing).

The last "White Christmas" was in 2016. 1.5 inches of snow fell between midnight and 3 AM, with the a snow depth of 5 inches. Prior to this event, the next most recent event occurred in 2007. There was six inches of snow on the ground at 5 am that morning. While no snow fell during the day, around sunset it began to fall, with a total of 2 inches falling Christmas evening. The last time before that was in 1997. There was six inches of snow on the ground at 5 am that morning, with a total of 1.1 inches falling for the day. Going back yet another 10 years, we arrive at the next most recent white Christmas, which occurred in 1987. There was 3 inches of snow on the ground that Christmas morning, with a record 2.4 inches falling that day.

 

The following link from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI former NCDC) gives historical probabilities of at least 1 inch of snow on the ground on December 25th across the country.

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/are-you-dreaming-white-christmas