White Christmas just doesn’t happen here

Published 7:06 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Those dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card they write might be out of luck.

It’s not a big surprise, but historical records show there’s not much of a chance for a true white Christmas, meaning snow falling and covering the ground on Christmas Day.

Birmingham and Montgomery have a 0 percent chance of there being at least an inch of snow on the ground Christmas Day, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration doesn’t go quite that far. That group puts the probability of there being a white Christmas in Alabama at less than five percent.

Some interesting facts from the Birmingham National Weather Service:

In the nearly 100 years that weather records exist, there has never been a white Christmas, in the classic sense, in Birmingham.

The closest thing to a white Christmas in Birmingham took place in December 1985. Flurries started falling on Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning, lightly dusting some areas. The snow was not deep enough to measure.

Eight other trace snowfall events have occurred in Birmingham on either Dec. 24 or Dec. 25. Those years were 1961, 1963, 1966, 1980, 1989, 1993 and 1995.

About 5.5 inches of snow fell in Birmingham on Dec. 22, 1929, weather records show. On Christmas Eve, there was still 2.5 inches on the ground. However, nearly all of that snow melted the next day when temperatures climbed to 51 degrees.

The Montgomery area has had even less wintry weather, according to the NWS.

There has not been a white Christmas in Montgomery since 1919. The closest the state capital ever came was a trace snowfall on Dec. 24, 1962. A near miss happened in 1935 when 1.4 inches fell on Dec. 21-22.