Chance of precipitation may be stronger this December 24-25 in Illinois

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[December 16, 2015]  CHAMPAIGN - Who will have a white Christmas in Illinois this year? Historically, northern Illinoisans are most like to see snow fly on Christmas Day, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

A “white Christmas” is defined as having at least 1 inch of snow on the ground on December 25. It should come as no surprise that the highest odds are in northern Illinois. In general, the odds are about 40-60 percent in the northern third of Illinois, 20-40 percent in central Illinois, and 0-20 percent in southern Illinois.

There can be large differences between nearby sites, however. Snowfall is notoriously difficult to measure with blowing, drifting, and melting. Two nearby sites may have different results due to exposure to the sun and the wind as well as the dedication of the observer to report on Christmas Day.

Last year, just a little bit of snow was on the ground in parts of the northern half of Illinois on December 25, 2014, which was hardly impressive, Angel said.

One of the largest amounts of snow occurred in Chicago in 1951 with 17 inches on Christmas Day. Rockford had 14 inches of snow in 1951 and in 2000.

“The odds of a white Christmas this year may be a little better than you would think,” Angel said. “While December has been incredibly mild so far, 10 degrees above average, but that could change if a strong low-pressure moved through the Midwest around the holidays.”

[Lisa Sheppard, Illinois Water Survey]



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