A white Christmas refers to a Christmas morning or Christmas Eve with snow falling from the sky. This phenomenon is far more common in some countries than in others and is generally more common in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere. For example, in the United States, snow is seldom experienced at Christmas except in the mid or northern regions and the mountains; but most parts of Canada except for the British Columbia coast and southern interior valleys, southern Alberta, southern Ontario and parts of the Maritimes stand an excellent chance of experiencing a white Christmas. The same goes for the countries in northern Europe, such as ones in Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland.
Due to oceanic climate, the further west a country is in Europe, the lower the probability that it will have a white Christmas. For example, in southern France a white Christmas is very rare, while in Bucharest, Romania, which is at a similar latitude, it is much more likely. Northern Italy and the mountain regions of central-south Italy may also have a white Christmas. In cities such as Turin, Milan or Bologna a Christmas with falling snow or snow on the ground is not a rarity.
In the United Kingdom, white Christmases were more common from the 1550s to the 1850s, during the Little Ice Age. In modern times, for the purposes of betting, a Christmas is considered "white" if a single snow flake is observed falling onto the roof of the London Weather Centre in the 24 hours of 25 December, even without a perceivable quantity of snow.
In Ireland, the prospect of early winter snow is always remote due to the country's mild and wet climate. Bookmakers offer odds every year for a "white Christmas", which is officially snow being recorded at 09:00 local time on Christmas Day, and recorded at either Dublin Airport, Belfast International Airport or Cork Airport (bets are offered for each airport). Snow is most common in the north, and as such Belfast usually has better odds than Dublin, and considerably better odds than Cork, which is at the extreme south of the country. Ireland's last "official" white Christmas was in 2004.
Some of the least-likely white Christmases that have happened include the 2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm, which brought the first white Christmas in fifty years to New Orleans and caused the first recorded white Christmas to Houston, Texas. The 2004 storm also brought the first measurable snow of any kind since 1895 to Brownsville, Texas, and its twin city of Matamoros, Mexico. The Florida winter storm of 1989 also occurred immediately before Christmas causing a white Christmas for cities like Pensacola and Jacksonville. The same storm buried Wilmington, North Carolina and the rest of Southeastern North Carolina under fifteen inches of snow; even small amounts of snowfall are rare in the area.
In the United States the notion of a white Christmas is often associated in the American popular consciousness with a Christmas celebration that includes traditional observances in the company of friends and family. White Christmas is an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting.
White Christmases in Canada
2006 saw some of the warmest weather on record, with such places as Quebec City experiencing their first green Christmas in recorded history.
In 2008, Canada experienced the first nation-wide white Christmas in thirty-seven years, as a series of pre-Christmas storms hit the nation, including the normally rainy BC Pacific coast.
White Christmases in the United States
According to the United States' National Climatic Data Center, basing numbers upon 1988-2005 data and stations with at least twenty-five years of data, the probability of a white Christmas (one inch of snow on the ground) at selected cities is as follows:
|Providence, Rhode Island||37%|
|Charleston, South Carolina||3%|
|Rapid City, South Dakota||47%|
|Salt Lake City, Utah||53%|
|Charleston, West Virginia||30%|
|Huntington, West Virginia||23%|
According to research by CDIAC meteorologist Dale Kaiser, the United States during the second half of the 20th century experienced declining frequencies of White Christmases, especially in the northeastern region.
White Christmases in the United Kingdom
|Lerwick||38% (since 1957)|
|Bradford||14% (since 1971)|
|St Mawgan||10% (since 1957)|
Christmas 2009 was a white Christmas in Britain, with thick lying snow which easterly winds had brought over the previous week. Travel over much of Britain was badly affected by ice and snow on roads, and made more slippery by partial daytime thaw followed by overnight refreezing.
Due to the fact that Christmas occurs during the southern summer, white Christmases are especially rare events in the Southern hemisphere, apart from Antarctica which is generally uninhabited. In 2006, a snowstorm hit the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and Victoria, arriving on Christmas Morning and bringing nearly one foot of snow in higher areas. This was an especially rare event because it occurred during Australia's typically warm summer. A white Christmas in the southern hemisphere (specifically those close to Antarctica) is approximately equivalent to having snow in the northern hemisphere on June 25, and in some ways is even less likely because the Northern Hemisphere has population centers farther fro the equator than does the Southern Hemisphere.
- ↑ "Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?". Met Office. 2008-11-19. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/whitechristmas/index.html. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- ↑ "Chances of white Christmas begin to drift". Breakingnews.iol.ie. 2006-12-17. http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/?c=ireland&jp=cwidsnqleykf. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- ↑ "Chance of a White Christmas - White Christmas - [Meteorological Service of Canada - The Green Lane"]. Msc-smc.ec.gc.ca. http://www.msc-smc.ec.gc.ca/media/xmas/prob_e.html. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- ↑ (CBC) (CTV) Ontario Weather Review - December 2006 Environment Canada
- ↑ Will We Have a White Christmas?, National Climatic Data Center, 20 August 2008.
- ↑ Dye, Lee. Study: White Christmases Have Become Rare. ABC News. December 18, 2003.
- ↑ "National Meteorological Library" (PDF). http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/library/factsheets/factsheet05.pdf. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- ↑ http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200612/s1818163.htm
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at White Christmas (weather). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|