Dreaming of a white Christmas in Philly? It's rare that it becomes a reality

"White Christmases are certainly fairly rare in our area," the NWS Mount Holly tweeted.

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Friday, December 9, 2022
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PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Are you dreaming of a white Christmas in Philadelphia this year?

If so, the National Weather Service has your wake-up call: snow on Christmas is a dream that rarely turns into a reality.

"White Christmases are certainly fairly rare in our area," the NWS Mount Holly tweeted Friday morning.

Along with that snowflake of truth, the National Weather Service posted a graphic, "White Christmas History for Philadelphia, PA," with 70 trees.

The graphic tells the story of white Christmases in Philly from 1952 to 2021.

Some trees are green, several have snowflakes, others are partially covered in snow and a few are completely blanketed.

There were five years (1962, 1969, 1976, 1993, 2002) when the city saw no snow on the ground, but new snowfall.

In another set of five years (1959, 1960, 1961, 1995, 1998), the city saw 1 inch to 3 inches of snow depth.

There have been only three years (1963, 1966, 2009) that Philly had over 3 inches of snow depth.

The other 57 years? Not a trace of snow.

Sorry, Irving Berlin, but that meant in the past 70 years, 81% of Christmases were not white.

The National Weather Service Alaska Region created the graphic.

They also documented white Christmas history in other cities across the country and in our region.

Of 53 documented Christmases between 1952 and 2021 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 47 had no snow on the ground and no new snow. Two (1966, 2009) saw over 3 inches of snow depth.

Allentown, Pa. Christmas snow dreamers were happy 22 times in recent decades. They saw six Christmases (1967, 1975, 1976, 1985, 1993, 2022) with new snowfall, 12 (1959, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1970, 1980, 1981, 1989, 2000, 2008, 2009, 2012) with 1 inch to 3 inches of snow depth, and four with over 3 inches of snow depth (1961, 1963, 1966, 1995).

Over in Wilmington, Delaware, there were 56 out 70 Christmases with no snow on the ground and no new snow.

Five Christmases (1969, 1976, 1992, 1993, 2022) saw new snowfall, six had 1 inch to 3 inches of snow depth (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1995, 1998), and three brought over 3 inches of snow depth (1963, 1966, 2009).

Last December, the Associated Press published a story that read, "Analysis of 40 years of December 25 U.S. snow measurements shows that less of the country now has snow for Christmas than in the 1980s...Scientists say the decline in the number of white Christmases is relatively small and caution about drawing conclusions."

But in the same AP story, it said "New York, Philadelphia and Concord, New Hampshire, recorded small increases in chances of Christmas snow on the ground."

In other words, keep dreaming of white Christmas because it might, just might, come true this year. Or next.

Or the one after that.