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NOAA image of USA probability of a White Christmas.December 18, 2002 — Santa Claus has contacted the keepers of the nation’s climate records to determine which areas of the country are likely to have snow at Christmas time. NOAA reports several Web hits from a user named Santa.

To help Santa with his travel plans, the NOAA National Climatic Data Center—the world’s largest reservoir of archived climate and weather data—created a report that is available online. The report contains maps and tables showing the percent probabilities for a snow depth of at least one inch on Christmas morning, as well as the probabilities for a depth of at least 5 inches and 10 inches. These probabilities are based on long-term climatology and not on current weather patterns.

The actual conditions may vary widely from these probabilities. The snow on the ground or snowfall on Christmas day will depend on the actual weather pattern during that time. These probabilities are useful as a guide only to show where snow on the ground is more likely. To obtain the latest weather forecast for your area, contact the NOAA National Weather Service.

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center has more than 150 years of weather data on hand. These data range from handwritten observations taken by volunteers in the 19th century to more sophisticated radar, radiosonde, rocketsonde and satellite observations by state-of-the-art equipment. The data include satellite weather images back to 1960, with 55 gigabytes of new information added each day—that is equivalent to 18 million pages a day.

The National Climatic Data Center is part of the NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA Satellite and Information Services), the nation’s primary source of space-based meteorological and climate data. NOAA Satellites and Information Services operates the nation's environmental satellites, which are used for weather forecasting, climate monitoring and other environmental applications such as fire detection, ozone monitoring and sea surface temperature measurements.

NOAA Satellite and Information Services also operates three data centers, which house global data bases in climatology, oceanography, solid earth geophysics, marine geology and geophysics, solar-terrestrial physics, and paleoclimatology.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's Probability of a White Christmas

NOAA National Climatic Data Center

NOAA's Storm Watch — Get the latest severe weather information across the USA

Media Contact:
Tom Ross, NOAA National Climatic Data Center, (828) 271-4499