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  • Todd Yakoubian

White Christmas

It's impossible to know at this point, but we can look at history as a guide. I think we all dream of a white Christmas as long as we don't have a repeat of 2012 and the roads don't become icy.

Snow on Christmas is not as rare as you might think. Since 1874, we average snow once every 8 years. That's either measurable, trace, or snow on the ground from a previous snow.


Since snowfall records were started in Little Rock in 1874, there have been relatively few times when snow was seen on Christmas Day.

Looking at the entire period of record from 1874 to the present time, measurable snow fell on Christmas Day in four years, with trace amounts in eight years. In three other years, no snow fell, but there was measurable snow already on the ground.

Only three times, in 1876, 1963, and 2004 was the ground covered with snow the entire day. Overall, there has been snow cover for at least part of Christmas Day 12 times. This includes both measurable snow and trace amounts.

Going just by the averages, snow on Christmas in Little Rock is seen about once every eight years. This includes measurable snow falling or snow already on the ground from previous storms, as well as trace amounts.

Measurable snow falling on Christmas, or measurable snow left over from previous storms is seen about once every 25 years.

Just by the averages, measurable snow falling on Christmas is seen about once every 50 years.

In 1887, 1914, 1918, 1935, 1939, 1975, and 2009, snow fell with no accumulation.

In 1876, two inches of snow was on the ground from a snowfall on Christmas Eve.

In 1879, rain began around 7 AM Christmas Eve, changing to a mix of sleet and snow during the afternoon. By night, the ground was lightly covered with snow. The snow had stopped before midnight, but the ground remained covered Christmas morning.

In 1897, one inch of snow fell on Christmas Day between 450 AM and 1245 PM. By 7 PM that night, only a trace of snow remained on the ground.

In 1913, snow started at midnight and continued until 1130 AM Christmas Day. A total of 1.5 inches of snow fell, but during the afternoon, the temperature rose to 40 degrees, and most of it melted. By that evening, only a trace of snow remained on the ground.

On Christmas Day in 1926, sleet began falling around 6 AM, and then changed over to snow. The snow continued until 130 PM. 1.7 inches of sleet accumulated, with 2.5 inches of snow on top of that. The snow stayed on the ground through the 28th. Ironically, there was a serious tornado outbreak in Arkansas on Thanksgiving that year.

On Christmas Eve in 1962, it snowed 1.5 inches during the day, but melted quickly during the night, leaving only patches of snow on the ground Christmas morning, which melted that day.

In 1963, four inches of snow was on the ground Christmas Day, left over from a 9.8 inch snowfall on December 22nd.

In 1975, it snowed on Christmas afternoon. In many of the hills around the city, up to two inches of snow accumulated. For those living in the lower elevations of the city, rain and snow was mixed, and little of the snow remained on the ground. By the next day, most of the snow had melted. No snow accumulated at Little Rock.

In 1983, a total of two inches of snow fell in the metropolitan area earlier in the week, and there was some ice on top of that. Due to melting and refreezing, there was about an inch of ice and snow left on the ground in the metro area by Christmas Day, but none remained on the ground at Little Rock.

In 1990, 2.4 inches of snow and sleet fell on December 22-23 and most of it remained on the ground through Christmas Day in some of the higher elevations of the metropolitan area. However, none remained on the ground at Little Rock.

In 2000, there was some snow on the ground in northern and western Arkansas on Christmas Day. At Little Rock, a trace of sleet and freezing rain had accumulated. That day, one of the largest ice storms in recorded history overspread the state, shutting the state down through the remainder of the year.

In 2004, snow fell in much of northern and central Arkansas on December 22nd. In Little Rock, roughly three inches of snow was measured, with one inch still on the ground on Christmas Day.

In 2009, light snow began a little before midnight on Christmas Eve. It ended around 3 AM Christmas morning, with patches of snow on the ground through early morning.

In 2012, sleet began around mid-morning. It mixed with rain and freezing rain during much of the day, with ice accumulations of a tenth to a quarter of an inch on trees and power lines. By late afternoon, the precipitation transitioned to sleet again, then snow. Winds were gusty, with heavy snow in the evening. At times, blowing snow significantly reduced visibility and created near-blizzard conditions. By midnight, nine inches of snow had accumulated. By the time the storm ended on the early morning of the 26th, 10.3 inches of snow was on the ground at Little Rock.


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