I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Weather 101

This time of year everyone is dreaming of a white Christmas. After last week’s snowstorm, you would think we have it in the bag this year. The inbound system has different plans. We will see a rush of warmer air followed by heavy rain overnight. It will definitely be a wet and slushy Christmas. That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. But could this Christmas still be a white one?

By definition a “white Christmas” must have at least one inch of snow on the ground at dawn on Christmas. It doesn’t matter if it’s fresh snow, slushy, or “snirt.” Got at least an inch and it’s a white Christmas. Albany’s last white Christmas was in 2017.

Some may consider Christmas 2002 to have been a white one. Over 19 inches of snow fell during the day. It was very much a white Christmas, but it doesn’t officially count. At 7 AM the snow depth was only a trace.

Historically Albany has about a 40% chance of having a white Christmas. Those stats may be a little higher at your house. The odds are more in the favor of the Adirondacks, the Tug Hill, the North Country, and Northern New England.

Over the past week our snowpack has gradually melted down. Last Thursday most the region picked up between 20 and 30 inches of snow. Albany’s current snow depth, the amount of snow on the ground, is 10 inches.

The meltdown will have happen more rapidly overnight as the balmy air rushes in and heavier rain starts to fall. But we likely won’t lose all of the snow. One computer model shows that at least an inch or two will stick around through Christmas morning. It will be slushy and it won’t be pretty, but technically we could still have a white Christmas.

Merry Christmas! – Jill

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