Keep on dreaming: What are the chances of seeing a White Christmas for 2021?

Home for the Holidays

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Most people are a bit sentimental when it comes to a White Christmas. Bing Crosby sings that wonderful song “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” which is usually heard quite frequently on area radio stations this time of year. But one of the lines in the song goes, “just like the ones I used to know”.

That is the trouble here in Roanoke. It has been over a decade since we’ve officially had a White Christmas, which is classified as one inch of snow falling or on the ground on Christmas Day.

Chances are we won’t be seeing a White Christmas in Southwest Virginia this year, either.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 6 – 10 Day Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks indicate we could be dealing with slightly warmer-than-average temperatures and drier-than-average weather as we get closer to the Christmas holiday.

Christmas is still several days away, so the forecast may shift in the coming days. However, forecast data suggests that our chances of seeing a White Christmas are very slim. It appears the jet stream will stay far enough to our north and west that we won’t see much cold air or precipitation in Southwest Virginia.

Since 1912, there have only been seven White Christmases when there has been snow falling from the sky. Fourteen Christmases were classified as White Christmases because there was snow on the ground from previous snow events. The last White Christmas in Roanoke was in 2010.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that we don’t often see White Christmases in Southwest Virginia. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) released an interactive map that shows the historical probability for a White Christmas around the United States.

Historically, our chances of a White Christmas in the region are low. Locations along the northern Alleghany Mountains, like Snowshoe, WV, have a higher probability of seeing a White Christmas than Roanoke or Blacksburg.

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