Little chance for 'White Christmas'

Published 7:33 pm Monday, December 26, 2005

By By Patrick McCreless
Santa Claus doesn't have to worry about flying through a snowstorm over Alabama again this year.
According to the National Weather Service, there is less than a 5 percent chance that Alabama will have a white Christmas this year. "Temperatures will be too warm on Sunday," said Ken Lorek, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
There will be rain moving in, Lorek said. However, "moisture will be exiting the state before the cold air arrives," he said.
An area must have snow falling and measurable amounts on the ground on Christmas day for the NWS to consider a "white Christmas." Those requirements have not happened in Alabama in the 100 years that the NWS has been keeping records. But some areas in Alabama have gotten close.
Birmingham came close to having a white Christmas in 1985 when flurries fell on Christmas Eve and early into Christmas morning. However, the snow on the ground was not deep enough to measure. Weather records showed that 5.5 inches of snow fell on the city office in Birmingham on Dec. 22, 1929. On Dec. 24, there was still around 2.5 inches on the ground, but by next morning, temperatures rose and the snow melted.
Montgomery residents almost experienced a white Christmas in 1962 when a trace of snow was detected on Dec. 24. By the next day, however, it had already melted.
But just because Alabama has never had a recorded white Christmas does not mean it will never happen. Temperatures have been cold enough several times for snow several times, Lorek said. It just will not snow on Christmas this year. In fact, Alabama should not expect any snow until January of next year.
"I don't see anything in the next 10 days," Lorek said. Alabama normally sees snowfall in January and February. And it is not unrealistic for Alabama to have a snowstorm in March, Lorek said.
On Christmas day in Alabama, temperatures are expected to be in the 40s and 50s, he said. And on Sunday night, temperatures should drop between the 20s and 30s.

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