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Dreaming of a white Christmas?

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Courtesy: National Weather Service Courtesy: National Weather Service
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SPOKANE, Wash. -

"Ooh Doop doop,

doop doo doop,

Oo-oo-ooh,

Doop doop, doop doo doop,

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas!"

Ah, such great lyrics made famous by Bing Crosby, and now that I have you singing along about a white Christmas, the fact is we are only 9 days away. Today, I'm sitting here wondering if Spokane will be seeing a white Christmas or even any snow this winter at all? Snow has been pretty lack-luster thus far and we are approaching a record. Surprisingly its a snow record. If we make it to December 24th without an inch of snow falling in Spokane it will break the date for latest recorded inch. 

While we have gone thus far with little to no snow, the odds are with us of having a white Christmas, in Spokane. In order to get a better idea of our chances let me throw some math and probabilities at you. All the data that I refer to comes directly from the National Weather Service in Spokane over the last 50 years.

Graphic below is the probability that it will snow in your location-

Snow Chances

Courtesy: National Weather Service


In the last 50 years on Christmas Day, Spokane has seen 31 days where snow fell, whether it was measurable or not. This includes what is known as a trace of snow, meaning less than 0.1". So something fell on Christmas day, but it wasn't enough to take a measurement. With that said it gives us a 62% chance of seeing any sort of snow falling Christmas day. Fairly high in my book! If you were wanting more than that... Probability drops, and fast.

If you are hoping for measurable snowfall with more at least 0.1" or more, then there were only 17 days on Christmas in the last 50, giving us only a 34% chance. 

Chance of seeing any Snowfall on ChristmasMore than 0.1" of Snowfall on Christmas    More than 1" of Snowfall on Christmas

62%

34%17%

And if you are like me, hoping for that big winter storm giving us more than an inch of snow falling on Christmas day then there were only 7 days in the last 50 or a 14% chance of more than an inch falling. Not great odds. Enough about the past though. What about 2014? We are just nine days away, a big travel day and people are getting anxious to know what will happen this year. If I were a betting man, I would at least take the chances on the 34% or more than 0.1" falling, especially with early indications.

The GFS Model, or Global Forecast System goes out 384 hours or 16 days, meaning we have seen for a while what Christmas day could be like. 16 days though is so hard to tell and so inconsistent that I figured it would be best to wait a while. Now that we are 9 days away though, we also have other model solutions to go off of including the very reliable and consistent European model. 

The last time that Spokane saw over 1" of snow on Christmas day was back in 2008. Like I said, if I was a betting man, I would at least take the bet that we see over 0.1" of snow. Early indications though say we could see even more.

This next weekend we are undergoing a pattern shift in the weather, the jet stream taking aim once again at the Pacific Northwest bringing back the onslaught of rain and warm temperatures. On Sunday we could see things back into the mid 40's in Spokane. 

Then come Tuesday, (Christmas Eve-Eve) something interesting happens. First off, all that moisture will be sticking around from the "Pineapple Express" into next week but will be slightly farther north toward British Columbia. Along with that, again the pattern shifts, away from the warm temperatures and back to a cool down, and all the moisture left over will fall as snow. An weak area of low pressure will form off the coast of Oregon, and pull down with it cooler temperatures and the moisture from the north. Right now timing and placement are still up in the air, but sometime on Christmas Eve is when this setup happens and it is VERY favorable for snow.


(00Z 25th December = 4pm Christmas Eve)

A lot can chance in the next 9 days, but confidence is high that this setup could and will happen during the 23rd and 24th of December. We will be keeping a close eye on it as it will have huge impacts on travel for many people crossing the mountains and possibly here in Spokane. So for those dreaming of a white Christmas, looking more and more likely! 

"Ooh and a,

I-I-I-I'm Dreaming of White Christmas.

Ooh Doop doop, 

doop doo doop, 

Oo-oo-ooh, 

Doop doop, doop doo doop" 

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