Chances of Snow for Christmas at USA Cities





Among America's large cities, only one has a really good chance of having a white Christmas. For most cities the odds of seeing any snow at Xmas are pretty slim.

The major urban area with the best chance of enjoying a traditional Christmas landscape is Minneapolis — St Paul Minnesota, where there's a 74 percent probability of having at least one inch of snow on the ground. In fact, the city is likely to have three or more inches of snow.

Two other large cities that are also more likely than not to have some snow around on December 25 are Rochester and Buffalo. Rochester even has a nearly fifty-fifty chance of seeing fresh snow falling at Xmas.

The table below gives the probabilties of Christmas snow for 51 US cities.

While less than even, the odds of snow blanketing Milwaukee, Cleveland or Salt Lake City on Dec 25th are still pretty high, at 40 percent or more. For Pittsburgh, Denver and Detroit the chance of snow is nearly one in three. At New York, Louisville and Baltimore, the likelihood of a snowy Xmas runs close to one in ten.

Not surprisingly, for many cities in Texas, California and Florida, there's zero chance of a white Christmas. At a few cities, such as Atlanta, Charlotte and Memphis, snow on Dec 25 isn't entirely impossible, but would make an astonishing event as the odds of it happening amount to about one percent.

Probability (%) of having Snow on the Ground of at least 1 inch deep or Snowfall of at least 0.1 inches on December 25.
City Snow on Ground Snowfall
Atlanta, Georgia 1 2
Austin, Texas 0 0
Baltimore, Maryland 7 6
Birmingham, Alabama 0 0
Boston, Massachusetts 15
Buffalo, New York 53 43
Charlotte, North Carolina 1 1
Chicago, Illinois 35 23
Cincinnati, Ohio 17 17
Cleveland, Ohio 40 32
Columbus, Ohio 23 21
Dallas, Texas 0 1
Denver, Colorado 34 15
Detroit, Michigan 35 28
Hartford, Connecticut 16
Houston, Texas 0 0
Indianapolis, Indiana 26 19
Percent chance of snow at Christmas.
City Snow on Ground Snowfall
Jacksonville, Florida 0 0
Kansas City, Missouri 20 11
Las Vegas, Nevada 0 0
Los Angeles, California 0 0
Louisville, Kentucky 9 10
Memphis, Tennessee 1 2
Miami, Florida 0 0
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 43 25
Minneapolis, Minnesota 74 28
Nashville, Tennessee 1 3
New Orleans, Louisiana 0 0
New York, New York 13 8
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 5 4
Orlando, Florida 0 0
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 9 7
Phoenix, Arizona 0 0
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 31 28
Chances of a white Xmas (percent)
City Snow on Ground Snowfall
Portland, Oregon 4 3
Providence, Rhode Island 17 13
Raleigh, North Carolina 2 2
Richmond, Virginia 6 3
Riverside, California 0 0
Rochester, New York 52 47
Sacramento, California 0
Salt Lake City, Utah 48 25
San Antonio, Texas 0 0
San Diego, California 0 0
San Francisco, California 0 0
San Jose, California 0 0
Seattle, Washington 4 5
St. Louis, Missouri 17 12
Tampa, Florida 0 0
Virginia Beach, Virginia 2
Washington, DC 4 5

About the Data

The snow probabilities were calculated by the US National Centers for Environmental Information based on weather data collected from 1991 to 2020.

These major cities represent the 51 metropolitan areas in the United States with the most people, all those with over one million residents in 2010, according to the US Census Bureau. A complete list of America's largest urban centers is available here.

Reference

Imke Durre and Michael Squires. 2015. White Christmas? An Application of NOAA's 1981-2010 Daily Normals. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Climate Normals.

US City Snowfall
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