White Christmas for the Grand Valley

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A white Christmas in the Grand Valley is a rare occurrence, it's only happened a handful of times in recorded history.

But many residents have different opinions on the "meaning" of a white Christmas. By the first day of winter Monday, the Grand Valley had already seen it's fair share of snow, 9.2 inches to be exact. But does that snow make for a white Christmas?

Some Grand Valley residents say it's not a white Christmas if the snow's already been around. They say a white Christmas means snow falling on Christmas Day.

But the Grand Valley averages only 4.8 inches of snow during the month of December so having snow on the "ground" for Christmas Day is rare.

There have been just "20 days where we've actually had an inch of snow on the ground on Christmas morning," says Chris Cuoco of the National Weather Service.

It's even more rare for flakes to fall "on" Christmas Day. "We've only had 17 days of measurable snow on Christmas day in 114 years," says Cuoco. And out of those 17 times, only on three occasions was there more than a dusting.

But will the white stuff that can make Christmas Day extra special be one of Santa's deliveries this year? There is a storm system moving into the Grand Valley Tuesday night that could dump a couple of inches of snow, but will the storm last until Christmas Day? "I don't think so, by Christmas Day the storm will move to the east of us," says Cuoco.

The most recent white Christmas was just last year when three tenths of an inch fell, raising the total on the ground to five inches. The snowiest Christmas on record was 1983 when three and a half inches fell.

So if snow on the ground counts as a white Christmas for you, "I think we can say we're going to have a white Christmas this year," says Cuoco.

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