What are the odds of a White Christmas this year?


If you're dreaming of a White Christmas here in Minnesota, you might just see it come true.

Right now, the landscape in much of the state is brown; above average temperatures have melted what little snow cover we had.

But the forecast calls for maybe an inch or so of snow to fall on Christmas Day across a big swath of the state.

In the graphic above, you can see the band of precipitation expected to sweep through the Dakotas and central Minnesota. The best chance for snow is from east of Wheaton to near Duluth, according to MPR meteorologist Craig Edwards.

We won't see much sun until the weekend, but temperatures will stay in the 30s – above average for this time of the year.

The National Weather Service actually has a definition for "White Christmas." It means having 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. The snow depth at most sites is measured once a day, usually in the morning, according to the Minnesota Climatology Working Group.

The odds of having a white Christmas in Minnesota vary pretty widely, depending on where you live in the state.

It's almost guaranteed in the northernmost parts of Minnesota – Boundary Waters Canoe Area and a large part of the Arrowhead.

As you go farther south and west the chances go down. A "brown" Christmas is most likely in far southwest Minnesota, where the odds of having snow on Christmas Day are only around 60 percent.

Over the past 115 years, the climatology working group says the Twin Cities has had a white Christmas about 72 percent of the time. From 1899 to 2013 there were 32 years with either a "zero" or a "trace" of snow. The last time the Twin Cities had a brown Christmas was 2011.

Just for fun, how about a white Christmas in Hawaii?

Our calm weather means decent travel conditions if you're not driving too far from home.

It's another story on the East Coast, where a big storm is bringing heavy rains, and Chicago is expected to see enough snow to snarl air travel, according to the Associated Press.

And here's a reminder from law enforcement officials to be careful out on the road.

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