Forget Dreaming – Is A White Christmas Even Possible in the Tennessee Valley?

(Source: NOAA)

(Source: NOAA)

Yes, it’s the South, but if you listen to Bing Crosby enough, you can’t help but start dreaming of a White Christmas.

And given the recent arctic blast that has frozen over the Tennessee Valley, it seems like it’s definitely cold enough for a White Christmas this year, right?

Well… If you look at the graph above, historical probabilities indicate that the chance for a White Christmas in northern Alabama/southern Tennessee are slim to none.

Keep in mind, though, the technical definition of a “White Christmas.”

Climatologically speaking, a “White Christmas” is defined as the presence of at least one inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. In the graph above, which is based on U.S. Climate Normals (1981 – 2010) from NOAA’s National Climate Data Center, dark gray areas depict regions where the probability of a White Christmas is less than 10 percent.

Is a White Christmas Even Possible This Far South?

In a nutshell, yes – it is possible to have a White Christmas in the Tennessee Valley. A quick check of the NOAA Online Weather Data portal shows that in Huntsville, an inch of snow was indeed on the ground on Christmas Day 1963. That same year, as much as three inches of snow was on the ground on Christmas Day in Muscle Shoals.

More recently, a snowstorm set up in the Southeast on Christmas Day 2010, dumping as much as 2.5 inches of snow from Muscle Shoals to Huntsville. In Tennessee, 3.7 inches of snow fell in Winchester on that day; as much as 3 inches accumulated on the ground, resulting in a White Christmas for the region.

While it remains very cold at the time of this writing, forecast models do call for the return of warm, humid air to the Valley leading up to the Christmas weekend. With that said, models are also indicating a quick cool down afterwards, leading up to the New Year’s weekend.

(MORE: What A Warm December Suggests About the Winter Ahead)

No matter the weather, I hope you and your family have a safe yet fun holiday season!

Sincerely,

– Christina Edwards

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