Should you expect a white Christmas in Metro Detroit this year? A look at our chances

National Weather Service predictions based on 30-year history

White Christmas map based on 1981-2010 data (National Weather Service)

DETROIT – Waking up on Christmas morning to the sight of fresh snow is something we Metro Detroiters do not see all too often. Here’s what experts are saying about our chances of snow on Christmas this year.

The National Weather Service says a white Christmas is defined as having at least one inch of snow on the ground on Christmas morning.

The overall probability of a white Christmas in Southeast Michigan is 34.7%, according to NWS.

Experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration took data from the past three decades to predict chances for snow on Christmas across the United States this year.

The data was pulled from the 1991-2020 U.S. Climate Normals, sort of like a census for U.S. climate conditions. They used historical averages from NWS stations across the country to come up with white Christmas probabilities.

Here is a list of SE Michigan cities and their chances of a white Christmas this year:

CityProbability of at least one inch of snow
Ann Arbor47%
Battle Creek49%
Detroit Metro Airport35%
Grosse Point Farms33%
Mount Clemens30%
Port Huron36%
White Lake51%
Metro Detroit white Christmas map based on 1981-2010 data (National Weather Service)

Michigan’s Christmas weather history

Michigan is known for sometimes crazy weather, but have you ever wondered about the crazy weather we have experienced on Christmas in the last 147 years?

NWS has provided some Christmas Day averages and extremes from data collected between 1874 and 2021.

Let’s start with the averages.

The average high temperature we Michiganders experience on Christmas Day is a cool 33 degrees Fahrenheit. Our average low temperature is 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

As for snowfall and precipitation, we average .08 inches of precipitation on Christmas Day and .5 inches of snow. The average snow depth on Christmas is around 2 inches.

Now on to some extremes.

The highest temperature recorded for Dec. 25 between 1874 and 2021 was in 1982 when the high temperature was 64 degrees Fahrenheit, and the low was 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest Christmas temperature recorded was in 1983, the year after the record high! The high temperature for that 1983 Christmas was 4 degrees Fahrenheit, and the low was -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

In 1945, we saw record precipitation of 1.16 inches and in 1915 we saw the highest snowfall of 7.9 inches.

The highest snow depth recorded for Christmas Day was in 1951 with 13 inches of snow.

Are you hoping for a white Christmas?

About the Author:

Morgan is a Digital Editor and has been with WDIV since May of 2022. She graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in political science and communication studies.