Could North Texas see a white Christmas miracle?! Yes, but...

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Could North Texas see a Christmas miracle?! Will we defy the historical odds and see a white Christmas?! Hold onto your Santa hats, kids. It's possible this year!

Before you start heading for the snow shovels, bread and milk, we need a dose of reality. Let's start with historical odds. You can see that North Texas has less than stellar odds. Less than 10% on any given year.

Remember last Christmas? It was the warmest on record with a high of 80 degrees. This Christmas will be different…. MUCH different.



Confidence in a major pattern shift taking place during the few days before Christmas is high. Most data agree that a healthy shot of Arctic air will dislodge into the lower 48 and bring much of the country colder than normal temperatures. 

At the same time, the jet stream is likely to be parked right over, or near, North Texas keeping us under an active storm track. Enough cold air + moisture + a storm system passing by = a chance to see some wintry weather or a mess of cold rain. Either way, there is a high likelihood we’ll have a wetter than normal period of time from the Dec. 22 to Dec. 28.  

Model data are in surprisingly good agreement on several things for the few days leading up to Christmas. 

  • Big intrusion of cold air
  • Storm track near or over North Texas
  • Precipitation chances around the region

Speaking of model data, it’s important to note. It is not the gospel when it comes to a forecast. It’s simply a guide for meteorologists to use. A few of the most trustworthy models we use, like the GFS and European models, are showing a nice Christmas surprise in North Texas on Christmas Eve. 

While this has our dreams of a White Christmas a little more realistic than normal, let’s take a step back and talk about how reliable maps like the ones above really are.

Our friends at the National Weather Service have made this fantastic, graphic which explains why model data reliability goes WAY down after several days. Here’s the forecast as of December 15, 2017. This will change over the next several days as numerous variables become more clear. 



With a forecast this far out, we have to break down every variable probabilistically. Here’s what we have so far. The confidence in cold air is HIGH. The probability of dry weather is LOWERING. The probability of precipitation types are about EQUAL (rain, sleet, snow, freezing rain). This graph will change every day as the solution to this complex forecast becomes clear. 

Let’s conclude this with some takeaway points.

  • The odds of a White Christmas this year are better than most
  • We are NOT guaranteeing a snow and ice event
  • Much colder air is LIKELY for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
  • The chances of a dry holiday are lowering
  • Keep an eye on this everchanging forecast
  • We have a chance North Texas. Hope and pray! 

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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