Potential for a white Christmas in Memphis low but not zero

Potential for a white Christmas in Memphis low but not zero

(WMC) - All this snow in the Deep South may have some of you that missed it here in the Mid-South wishing for a white Christmas.

What are the odds of a white Christmas in Memphis? The short answer…painfully low. The stats (courtesy of NWS Memphis) from Christmas past tell the story.

Records that go back to 1889 show that Memphis had a measurable amount of snow on Christmas Day only once in 127 years. That was in 1913 when 3.5 inches of snow fell on Christmas Day. Trace amounts (only a few flakes - not enough to measure), fell on 11 other occasions - 1914, 1918, 1926, 1939, 1948, 1975, 1980, 1992, 2009, 2010 and 2012.

There have been a few times when there was snow on the ground Christmas morning (from previous storms). The greatest was 1963 when 10 inches covered the city Christmas morning; 1962 and 2004 had 2 inches on the ground, 1998 had 1 inch on the ground, and a trace of snow on Christmas morning in 1897, 1966, 1980 and 1990.

The warmest temperature for Christmas Day was 76 degrees in 1889; 1983 had the coldest Christmas at zero (0) degrees.

Our chance on average is basically 2 percent or less. The map above from NOAA pretty much tells the story. Most normal years, you would have to head to the Rockies or the northern Plains to see a white Christmas.

That brings us to the forecast this year. As of December 8, Christmas Day is still way out in voodoo land when it comes to forecasting. BUT, we can at least get an idea of the weather pattern by looking at the long-range forecast data. The GFS model only goes out to the 24th but the pattern looks pretty chilly. Notice the blue lines are close to the Mid-South. It's still too early to tell if any storm systems will develop and right now it doesn't show anything. However, this colder than average pattern at least leaves the door open for the possibility, for now. Check back around the 15-18. We will start to have a better idea by then.

Spencer Denton
WMC Action News 5 Meteorologist
First Alert Storm Tracking Team
Meteorologist Spencer Denton
Twitter: @spencerstorm5

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