By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) –  Are you “dreaming of a white Christmas… just like the ones you used to know?”

Funny, it does seem that Christmases were a lot snowier in the old days. But is that just selective memory of when we were kids? Turns out, maybe not!

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Since we began keeping records in the late 1800’s, Boston has averaged a fairly steady 20-percent, or 1 out of 5 years with a White Christmas.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

However, if you look at more recent years, since 2000, Boston has had only 2 years with a White Christmas, 2008 and 2009 (down to 13-percent).

(WBZ-TV graphic)

What exactly do we mean by “White Christmas?”

The National Weather Service defines it as one inch or more snow on the ground Christmas morning. So, it could actually snow on Christmas Day (like it did just last year, 2.9 inches) but if there wasn’t an inch or more on the ground when the daily snow depth report was taken at 7 a.m, it doesn’t count.

The percentages are, of course, higher the farther you travel north and west of Boston.

Here are a few other climatological averages from around the area:

  • Ashburnham: 65%
  • Lowell: 44%
  • Worcester: 33%
  • Plymouth: 22%
  • Hyannis: 12%

So what’s the deal this year?

Well, as we sit about a week away, the majority of the ground in southern New England is bare and brown. And with the forecast of a windswept, mild rain storm on Friday, that isn’t going to change for the better this week. In fact, by this weekend, I wouldn’t expect there to be any snow cover anywhere in southern New England – all the white stuff will likely even be scoured out at the highest elevations of the Berkshires.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

So, it seems it may take a Christmas miracle to whiten the ground for Santa this year.

But, miracles DO happen and there is a chance!

Some of the longer range weather models are hinting at a small, weak piece of energy diving out of Canada on Christmas Eve Monday. It’s a feature that may or may not be there (it is still a LONG ways away) and it would be very quick and small BUT, it is enough to say that chances of a White Christmas are NOT zero at this point!

The probability chart below shows the chances of an inch or more of snow next Monday to be somewhere between 0 and 10-percent. So you’re telling me there’s a chance!

(Image credit:

The early outlook for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day has temperatures in the 30’s for highs (chilly) with just that slight chance of snow on Monday, likely sunny/dry on Tuesday.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

We will keep you posted!

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