If you’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas, your dreams may come true this year.
A big winter storm is moving through the eastern half of the country, and it’s likely to bring snow to many who won’t see snow at Christmas. With temperatures falling below freezing, any snow that falls from this storm could make for a better Christmas.
The National Weather Service considers a place a white Christmas if there is an inch of snow on the ground or if more than an inch of new snow falls on Christmas Day.
Enter your US location to see what’s next. This tracker will let you know if you or your loved ones have snow on the ground on Christmas Day.
A map of the United States showing the forecast snow depth at Christmas in white on a satellite image map. Snow is forecast across the northern United States and as far south as Utah, Colorado, Missouri and Kentucky.
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This forecast is made from the Snow Data Assimilation System, or SNODAS, a computer forecast model from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center that provides estimates of future snow cover.
As with most weather models, the SNODAS forecast will become more accurate as we get closer to Christmas Day. If your area is near a storm system, you may find that forecasts over the next few days vary depending on where the storm occurs.
While a white Christmas will help keep the treetops sparkling, the storm may bring dangerous travel conditions. Here, meteorologists consider how winter weather affects everyday life.
Sarah Kapnick, chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been an expert in studying snow throughout her career. He said his family has different holidays in a cold place and a warm place.
People who grew up in places like the East, West and Midwest, may have formed an emotional connection to snow, which is associated with the holiday season and family, Dr. Kapnick said.
“Because of climate change, people who want a white Christmas will have snow in the United States in places that are in the forecast, usually at risk,” he said.
Last year, NOAA updated the average chances of a white Christmas across the United States. While the report cautioned against comparing the new estimates with those made a decade earlier, it said “there are more areas where the probability of a clean Christmas has decreased than the expected increases.”
Classic Christmas movies like “Miracle on 34th Street” show snow falling during Christmastime in New York City. But it’s been more than a decade since New York City saw snow on the ground at Christmas, and until 2009, the snow depth was based on the storms in the past, leaving some to say it was a “gray Christmas” because the city’s dirt mixed with the snow.
This isn’t the first time the city has gone without an inch of snow on Christmas Day. The song “White Christmas” was written in one of those long prayers of a Christmas without snow.
Irving Berlin began writing the song “White Christmas” in 1938, according to James Kaplan, author of “Irving Berlin: New York Genius.”
This was “when he was very much in Hollywood,” said Mr. Kaplan said.
At that time, Mr. Berlin was very happy to be in Hollywood, so he started writing this song, according to Kaplan. The Berlin boss can’t help but miss the old days in the Middle East where he grew up.
Data from the National Weather Service shows that at the turn of the 19th century, there were many white Christmases in the city. When he wrote the song in the late 1930s, New York City had not seen a white Christmas since 1930, according to weather service data and the official definition of a white Christmas. .
Dream a #WhiteChristmas?🎄❄
Historically, New York City has measured snow depth, or fresh snow, of more than 1″ on Christmas Day in 25 of the past 152 years, roughly 1 in 6.
Fewer in recent years, however, the last one was in 2009! pic.twitter.com/sriIxZahl7
— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) December 18, 2022
Initially, he lost a verse he had written for the beginning of the song, which Kaplan said, as far as he knew, no one had written. (Of course, others have done it.)
“It felt like this,” he said in the rhythm of the original song. “The sun is shining, the grass is green, orange and palm trees are swaying. There’s no day like it in Beverly Hills, LA, but it’s December 24th, and I want to get up north.”
But Bing Crosby’s song is not like that, instead the first verse is cut and begins with the famous song, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.”
“Bing Crosby recorded the song with the start of World War II. That’s a huge acceleration in the popularity and effectiveness of that song,” said Mr. Kaplan said. “Because Bing Crosby’s recording of the song was heard by soldiers and sailors overseas at the beginning of the war.”
The Americans entered the war after Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Bing Crosby’s recording came out the following year.
According to weather service data for Central Park, there will be no snow on Christmas Day in New York after Mr. Berlin sang until 1945, a few months after the end of the war.
Like when this song was written, New Yorkers were still going through a white Christmas drought. The last time New York City measured snow depth or fresh snow of more than an inch on Christmas Day was in 2009.
Historically, New York City has had a white Christmas 25 of the past 152 years, or about once every six years, according to the National Weather Service.
This year, New York City may be missing out on a holiday wonderland.
This article has been updated to note that others have written a version of “White Christmas” with a verse omitted from the Bing Crosby version.