“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.”
~ Irving Berlin (1940 from his song “White Christmas“
What is Christmas weather? Answers will vary according to one’s location in the world. No doubt, especially in the U.S., the image or the actual experience of snow belongs to Christmas. What is the chance that Santa needs to brush snowflakes from his red velvet suit? In the northern states and across the higher elevations, it happens with certainty most years while in La Crescenta there is no mention in recorded history.
It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas even without snow on the ground. Our week started with a short-lived but rain-productive storm; Sunday evening .51 inches fell. Temperatures dropped to the low 40s accompanied by strong winds making for beautiful and brisk days. Traveling down the 2 Freeway, assisted by tail winds, the sun-reflected waters of the Pacific were visible in the far-off distance. In spite of our no-snow Decembers, life is good.
Where in the U.S.A. could you build a snowman (or person) on Christmas Day? First off, there are strict guidelines as to what constitutes a “White Christmas.” The definition (most of unknown origin) varies. In most countries, it simply means the ground is snow-covered on Christmas Day. The qualifications in United States are more specific: the snow depth at 7 a.m. local time on Christmas morning must be at least one inch. Across the pond the British Meteorological Office and British bookmakers have established an official definition for a white Christmas. The snow must actually be falling within the 24-hour period of Dec. 25. Any accumulation, no matter how deep, prior to this day doesn’t count. Well, no snow-definition worries around here!
Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? No need to dream. Many locations (provided by NOAA) offer a 100% guarantee of five inches or more. Don your snow apparel and guide your sleigh either to Stampede Pass, Washington or Bettles, Alaska. The 2015-16 season in the California Sierras began in earnest with several feet of snow blanketing the region promising a snowy holiday.
“Baby, it’s cold outside …” Blustery days and cold nights dominate our current weather. On Saturday another weak front arrives bringing a slight chance for rain. The same story is repeated into Christmas week. It’s uncertain if Santa will need an umbrella to protect his precious cargo. I’m certain he keeps one within arm’s reach.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at email@example.com.