JAMESTOWN – Could we see a white Christmas this year in Western New York? Based on statistical data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the chance varies per each location.
NOAA defines a white Christmas as having “at least one inch of measurable snow on the ground” on December 25. Scientists within the organization have compiled a map that outlines the probability of a white Christmas across the United States, based on snow depth data over a 29-year period between 1981 and 2010.
A number of factors play into the wide spread of probabilities across Western New York such as elevation and geographic location. The overall chance differs up to nearly 30 percent across the region.
In the northern counties such as Niagara, Erie and, Genesee Counties, the possibility of an inch of snow on Christmas day is nearly a 50/50 shot. The City of Buffalo sits at a 55 percent chance, while Lockport and North Tonawanda has a 54 percent chance. Niagara Falls has the lowest chance at 47 percent.
Once you drop into Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties of the Southern Tier, our odds greatly increase thanks to our higher elevations, and our more often bouts with snowfall. Little Valley’s chance is at 75 percent while Sinclairville and Sherman are right behind at a 74 percent chance. Franklinville homes in at a 70 percent chance.
Areas to the southeast such as Allegany County, are sandwiched between the southern hills and northern lake plains. Rushford garners a 63 percent chance, while places like Wellsville and Whitesville equate out to a 57 and 56 percent chance respectfully.