A white Christmas in Williamsburg? Dream on

Staff Writer

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, keep dreaming, according to the National Weather Service.

A white Christmas, as defined by the National Weather Service, is at least one inch of snow on the ground at 7 a.m. on Christmas morning.

In any given year, Williamsburg has less than a 10 percent chance of experiencing a snowy Christmas morning, according to climatology data prepared by National Weather Service lead forecaster Larry Brown.

Snow on Christmas morning is a rare thing. Richmond’s last white Christmas happened in 2009, but the snow melted by mid-afternoon, according to the data. Norfolk’s most recent white Christmas was in 1966 when four inches of the powdery white stuff was on the ground at 7 a.m.

So, by National Weather Service definitions, a white Christmas is highly improbable.

What about snowfall on Christmas Day?

That’s just as unlikely, according to the data.

The last Christmas with snowfall in Richmond and Norfolk was 2010.

On Dec. 25 every year, there’s just a slim chance the temperature will stay cold enough to allow snowfall to accumulate. Only seven of the past 115 Christmases had high temperatures at or below freezing.

The coldest Christmas on record was in 1983 when air temperatures plummeted as an arctic front wrapped the country east of the Rocky Mountains in freezing Canadian air, according to the National Weather Service.

More recently, Williamsburg and the rest of Virginia experienced the warmest Christmas on record in 2015. Minimum expected temperatures across the state were 15 to 20 degrees higher than the average daily high temperature, according to the National Weather Service. It was beach weather in Norfolk at 79 degrees Fahrenheit and balmy in Richmond at 75 degrees.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at srobertsjr@vagazette.com and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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