Will South Jersey Get a White Christmas?
If you want a white Christmas in New Jersey this year, keep dreaming. Weather experts say it's not in the cards, just like most years in the Garden State.
Although the forecast has been trending a bit colder heading into the holiday weekend, WPG Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow calls for no white Christmas.
"I wouldn't rule out completely a few snowflakes on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but it's not going to be the perfect setup," Zarrow said. "There's certainly no major storm systems aiming for New Jersey over the Christmas weekend."
Zarrow said Christmas Day will bring "typical weather for late December" in New Jersey - highs in the mid 40s and lows right around the freezing mark. That's much cooler than last year's Christmas temperatures in the 70s.
For a Christmas to be considered "white," there must be an inch or more of snow on the ground, even if that snow is left over from a previous winter event.
The last statewide white Christmas occurred in 2009 when many parts of the state were covered in at least six inches of snow that fell earlier in the week, according to State Climatologist Dr. Dave Robinson at Rutgers University.
"It's much more common to have a brown Christmas than a white one here in New Jersey," Robinson said.
A white Christmas occurs about once every 10 years in the southernmost portion of New Jersey, once every five years in Central and Northeast Jersey, and four out of every 10 years or so in the northwest, he said.
Beyond that, there's about a 5 percent chance of an inch or more of snow falling on any Christmas Day. At least five inches of plowable snow fell on Dec. 25 in Central and North Jersey in 2002.
"It's early in the winter season," Robinson explained. "The ocean offshore is pretty mild still and it's more difficult to snow in December than when you get into January and February, and that in part is because the ocean has cooled off."
Robinson noted his statistics are based on a century worth of observations, but weather does not work on a schedule.
New Jersey experienced five white Christmases in the 1960s. The largest Christmas storm on record for the Garden State occurred in 1966 when much of Central and North Jersey had 10 to 12 inches of snow.