Potential for a White Christmas in SNE

For the past couple of weeks I have been hearing quite a bit from folks who desperately want a white Christmas in Southern New England this year. It seems like it’s a louder chorus than most years, and it’s probably due to a couple of things. First, social media makes it a lot easier for folks to reach out to me about their desire for a white Christmas – as if I can influence the forecast! Also, this December has been unseasonably mild, and, basically, snow-free. That combination has some people finding their usual pre-holiday festivities to seem out of place without any cold or snowy weather.

Historical odds of a white Christmas - NOAA
Historical Probability of a White Christmas


History favors no snow in Providence

Historically, most of the time, Providence does not have a white Christmas, so it should not be something that we have come to rely on. The odds of at least 1″ of snow on the ground on Christmas in Providence are 37%. As you would expect the odds increase farther inland in places like Worcester (60%) and Hartford (57%). Boston has even lower odds than Providence, with 1″ of snow on the ground only 23% of the time on Christmas. The odds are based on statistics compiled from 1961-1990. In the past few years, however, there have been several big snow events around Christmas in Southern New England. Last year, there was officially a trace of snow on Christmas day at TF Green Airport. In 2010, the big storm came a day late, with 7.9″ of snow falling at TF Green on December 26. In 2009 a 16″ snowstorm on December 19-20 led to a white Christmas. In 2008, 14.2″ of snow fell between December 19-21, but a warm-up into the 50s by Christmas melted most of it. Going back to 2007, there was not much snow within a week of Christmas, but 14″ feel earlier in December.

What about this year?

This year, not only has it been almost snow-free, it has also been remarkably mild. Only three days all month have been colder than normal at TF Green, and the temperature is averaging about 6° warmer than normal for the month to date. So, you’re probably thinking the odds of a white Christmas are even lower this year. In fact, with just a few days to go, I think the odds of a white Christmas in Providence are still around the historical value of 37%. A fast-moving storm is forecast to move through Mid-Atlantic into the Atlantic Ocean Monday night into Tuesday. The exact track of the storm is still in question, and because it likely won’t be an intense system, the track is critical. If it’s too far south, SNE will be lucky to see a few flurries. Of course, without a lot of cold air around, if it’s too far north, then the precipitation type would become an issue. The bottom-line is don’t give up hope on a white Christmas in Southern New England, but don’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t happen, because right now the odds still favor there not being an inch of snow on the ground on Christmas day.


Fred Campagna

President and Chief Meteorologist - Right Weather LLC AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist #756 AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist #126

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