Special Report

American Cities Most Likely to Have a White Christmas

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas this year, you might want to head to upstate New York. 

There’s a 48.4% probability that snowflakes will fall on Dec. 25 in Rochester and a 44.9% probability in Buffalo — placing those two cities at the top of the list for a possible snowy holiday.

That’s according to data collected by Rent.com, a digital real estate marketing site targeting first-time renters (at least some of whom might want to know how much of the white stuff their chosen city is likely to get around year’s end).

You don’t have to travel to the northwestern reaches of the Empire State to see Christmas snow, however. Reviewing Rent.com’s data, 24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of the 50 major American cities with the best chance of a Yuletide snowfall. (And here’s a list of the snowiest county in every state.)

These are the American cities most likely to have a white Christmas

While Rochester and Buffalo might lead the list in terms of probability, they’re hardly the cities that will see the most snow if it does arrive. Their average historic snowfall on snowy Christmas days is a mere 2.2 and 2.9 inches, respectively, in those cities. Some 13 other cities on our list get an average of more than 5 inches — and Denver’s average is a knockout 25.7 inches. 

There must be something about the Rockies, because the all-time record for snowfall in one 24-hour period — though not on Christmas Day — was 6 feet, 4 inches, which blanketed Boulder County, Colorado, during a blizzard in 1921. (These are the places with the biggest snowfall in history in every state.)

Rent.com based their computations on an integrated database of land surface weather stations maintained by the National Centers for Environmental Information’s Global Historical Climatology Network. The data covered a 184-year period, from 1836 to 2020, considering city-level information aggregated for stations within specific areas for the 100 largest U.S. cities by population. (Data wasn’t available for every year and location.)

The probability of snow on Christmas was calculated by dividing the total number of entries for Dec. 25 across all years for a given city by the number of entries where station readings revealed any snowfall. Average snowfall on Christmas was computed by dividing station snowfall readings by the number of entries for the aggregation that were greater than zero.

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