Even though many Northlanders love to grumble about the snow and cold temperatures we get during the winter season, most tend to agree on one thing:  a "white" Christmas (with measurable snow on the ground) is preferred over a "brown" Christmas (one with no measurable snow cover on the ground).  This being a winter where we haven't had a lot of measurable snow fall to date - and no real chances of any heavy amounts in the ten-day long-range forecast - many are pondering what Duluth's chances are.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - those chances are pretty good.  A quick search of NOAA's records show Duluth with a projected 91-100% chance of having at least one inch of snow on the ground come December 25.  In fact, our part of the country is in the minority; most of the continental United States has a much lower probably percentage of seeing that amount of snow come Christmas Day.

Data collected by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources actually narrows that percentage chance down even further; according to MNDNR, the Northland stands a 95% or greater chance of having a so-called white Christmas.

So now that we know what the chances are of having at least one inch of measurable snow cover on Christmas Day, what are the chances for more than that?  That same data collected by MNDNR shows the following percentages for one, five, and ten inches of snow cover for the three weather-centers in Duluth (harbor, airport, and downtown):

  • Duluth Harbor:  1" = 88%, 5" = 54%, 10" = 8%
  • Duluth Airport:  1" = 98%, 5" = 67%, 10" = 46%
  • Duluth Downtown:  1" = 97%, 5" = 58%, 10" = 23%

So fear not snow lovers:  Even though the recent long-range forecast doesn't show much hope for measurable snow by December 25, our historical chances remain pretty high.