White Christmas in Milwaukee

Are you hoping for a white Christmas?  If so, you'll have to be patient as the ground is still bare and quiet weather conditions are expected through the weekend. As the days for snow tick tock away, let's take a look back at how common a white Christmas is for Milwaukee. To start, the definition of a white Christmas includes a snow depth of an inch, something that at the moment, we don't have.  But over the past 120 years half of our Christmas days have been white, approximately 48 percent of the time.  To be specific, there have been 59 occurrences of an inch or more of snow on the ground Christmas day.  If we don't see a white Christmas this time around, it will be the first time since 2011.

Here's a look at the last 10 recent brown Christmas Eve and Christmas Day stats from the National Weather Service in Milwaukee:


Christmas Eve Christmas Day
2011  2011
2006 2006
2004 1998
1998 1995
1996 1986
1990 1982
1986 1955
1982 1943
1971 1939
1946 1938


While it would seem that if Christmas Eve was brown, Christmas Day would also be brown, that wasn't always the case. For example, although ten years ago we were brown on Christmas Eve, it snowed on Christmas Day, just in time for a white Christmas in 2004!

Milwaukee climate statistics for Christmas Day are quite interesting. Take a look:

Normal High:     30°
Normal Low:     18°
Normal Precip:  0.06\"
Normal Snowfall:    0.4\"
Warmest High:  61°   1982
Coldest Low:  -12°   1983
Coldest High:  -2°   1983
Warmest Low:  45°   1936
Most Precipitation:  .96\"   2009
Most Snowfall:  6\"   1909
Highest Snow Depth: 25\"   2000


The \"Normal\" stats are derived from 1981-2010 data, but the extremes go back to the 1880s and 1890s.

What a difference a year makes when looking back to 1982 and 1983. We go from shorts weather in 1982 hitting 61° on Christmas Day to a shockingly cold following Christmas, where the high temperature only made it to -2°.

At the top of the blog I mentioned quiet weather through the weekend. However, the forecast for the week of Christmas does include several chances for wet weather. The biggest challenge coming up will be determining the precipitation type.  Temperatures will rise to the upper 30s early next week, but lows will be in the 20s. That means if precipitation comes through during the day, rain is more likely, but if it comes overnight, we'll have snow.  Right now, we can't guarantee a white Christmas, but it is still possible. We may be waiting right down to the wire on getting a white Christmas this time around.  It's a forecast we'll be watching very closely in the days ahead. 

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