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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Weathercatch: Snow on Christmas? More than not. But rain and warmness, too

Bing Crosby singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” illustrates the magic of having snow on Christmas. Historical odds for Spokane? 60%.  (Linda Weiford/For The Spokesman-Review)
Bing Crosby singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” illustrates the magic of having snow on Christmas. Historical odds for Spokane? 60%. (Linda Weiford/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Nic Loyd </p><p>and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

Snow always makes a nice centerpiece on Christmas. If you’ve lived in the Inland Northwest for a while, you know that having snow on Christmas is fairly common. Yet we’ve also had rainfall, unseasonable warmth and shots of plain cold.

In Spokane, the historical probability of having snow on the ground or actual falling snowflakes accumulating to at least 1 inch on Dec. 25 is 60%, according to National Weather Service data.

Meanwhile, Sandpoint has a 75% chance; Lewiston-Clarkston, 14%; and Seattle and the Tri-Cities, only 5%. Fairbanks, Alaska, and Aspen, Colorado, are among a handful of populated locations with a 100% chance of having a white Christmas.

Knowing we’re considerably less likely to have snow than those two cities, let’s take a look at Spokane’s weather conditions from some Christmases past:

2020: Snow began falling around 5 p.m. in Spokane, leading to 3.5 inches on Christmas night and 0.5 inches the following day. The high temperature was 30 degrees, and the low was 24, which is fairly normal for Dec. 25.

2019: It was not a white Christmas. We received a trace of rain and wet snow that day, with a high of 38 degrees and a low of 30 – about 6 degrees above normal for that date.

2018: Not a white Christmas.

2017: Spokane woke to snow falling and slippery streets. 0.3 inches fell on Christmas Eve, followed by 1.5 inches on Christmas Day.

• Snowiest Christmas: 5.2 inches of snow fell that day in 1998.

Whitest Christmas: 23 inches – almost 2 feet! – was on the ground in 1951.

Coldest Christmas: Two years can beat their chests in this category. In 1924, the high temperature barely made it past 10 degrees. In 1964, the low temperature was 6 degrees below zero.

Rainiest Christmas: 0.75 inches fell in 1907.

Stormiest Christmas: 5.8 inches of snow fell on Christmas Eve in 1996, followed by another 0.8 inches on Christmas day. The snowfall occurred during an 11-day consecutive stretch from Dec. 19-29 when some amount of snow fell in Spokane. By Christmas morning, 19 inches covered the ground, with more on the way.

Warmest Christmas: With temperatures running nearly 20 degrees above normal, some folks may have lit the BBQ on their decks in 1980. The high temperature rose to 53 degrees and the low was 42.

With Christmas 2021 just two days away, snow is covering the ground in Spokane. Right now, it appears temperatures will remain cold enough to keep it there. Happy holidays, everyone.

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