For truckers who are dreaming of a white Christmas — defined by the National Weather Service as having at least 1 inch of snow on the ground the morning of Dec. 25 — the chances are good in some parts of the country this year. Before getting into the forecast, however, let’s look at historical chances across the country.
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Based on average Christmas snow amounts from 1991 to 2020, most white Christmases in recent decades have been in the Mountain West, northern Plains, northern Great Lakes and interior Northeast. Just looking at the current snowpack as of Wednesday, much of which won’t be blown or washed away by wind and rain, these areas will definitely see a white Christmas this year — and more snow is coming.
A barrage of storms will continue to slam the West with periods of heavy mountain snow, drenching valley rain and strong winds through early next week. By Christmas morning, many areas in the Sierra Nevada of eastern California and far western Nevada will be buried in several feet of new snow. While lesser amounts will cover parts of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon, as well as the northern Rockies in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, these areas are also likely to see new rounds of heavy snow.
This includes places such as Reno and Carson City, Nevada; Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Mammoth Lakes, Susanville and Mount Shasta, California; Crater Lake, Oregon; Mount Rainier, Skykomish, Mount Baker, Olympic National Park and Spokane, Washington; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; as well as West Yellowstone, Missoula and Libby, Montana.
Light snow could hit northern portions of the Great Lakes region on Christmas Eve. This would be in locations like International Falls and Duluth, Minnesota; Ironwood and Marquette, Michigan; in addition to Superior and Ashland, Wisconsin. But the latest forecasts have it changing to or mixing with rain for a while, decreasing the chance that at least an inch of snow will be left on the ground Christmas morning.
Some snowpack may get washed away late Christmas Eve into Christmas Day in the Adirondack, Green and White mountains of the interior Northeast. However, enough may survive to make it a white Christmas, and light snow could hit the highest elevations. This would be in areas such as Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh, New York; Montpelier, Burlington and Newport, Vermont; in addition to Berlin, Plymouth and Idlewilde, New Hampshire.
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