White Christmas likely for Juneau


NOAA North America snow cover 12-15-13

NOAA North America snow cover 12-15-13. Click to enlarge graphic provided by Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

There’s almost a fifty-fifty chance that such a dream will become a reality as Santa Claus makes his rounds in the Capital City early on Wednesday morning.

Jessica Spaccio, climatologist at the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University, said places like the southern United States have a zero chance of snow falling on Christmas day. Mother Nature is always full of surprises, but it’s good bet that there won’t be a white Christmas in Las Vegas, Augusta, Ga., and Columbia, S.C.

It’s a different story for much of Alaska.

For Juneau, we took a look at what the probability would be for a white Christmas. So, that’s an inch or more of snow on the ground in the morning. It looks like you’re looking at a 46 percent chance of white Christmas for this year. That’s strictly a probability. We just looked at the past fifty years, 1963 to 2012, and we looked at the number of years that had snow on Christmas day to give us just a probability.”

US - Probability of Christmas snow

United States probability of Christmas snow. Click to enlarge graphic provided by Northeast Regional Climate Center.

US - Probability of New Year's Eve precip

United States probability of New Year’s Eve precipitation. Click to enlarge graphic provided by Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Spaccio’s probabilities do not include snow already on the ground from this weekend or Christmas Eve.

While Spaccio said that there is 100 percent probability for Christmas snow in Fairbanks and 46 percent for Juneau, there’s an eight percent probability of an inch or more of snow falling in Seattle.

The New Year’s Eve predictions were made to determine which may be the driest and safest place to drive to evening parties. There’s a 58 percent probability of New Year’s Eve snow or rain for Juneau, 52 percent probability in Seattle, and 38 percent in Fairbanks.

Nativity lights

Lighted nativity scene at Resurrection Lutheran Church in downtown Juneau. Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO News

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