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Christmas in Buffalo: The expectation for snow each year with no guarantee

History shows that there's more than a 50 percent chance Western New York sees a white Christmas each year.
Credit: WGRZ & WSI

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With Christmas Day being just a few days after the beginning of winter, one could assume that's a great chance for a white Christmas in Western New York every year. 

By definition, an official "White Christmas" is marked by snow falling on or before Christmas Day leading to at least an inch of snow being on the ground on December 25. This has been the case 24 times over the past 40 years. So the odds are in Buffalo's favor for a white Christmas, but it's never a guarantee. 

Buffalo's last white Christmas was just back in 2018 when 0.6 inches of snow fell on Christmas, keeping accumulative snow depth for the day exactly at an inch. Here's more weather records for Christmas Day from the National Weather Service Office in Buffalo with temperature data from 1871 and snow depth from 1893 to present. 

The greatest snowfall recorded on Christmas Day was 8.4 inches in 2002. Then the greatest precipitation in general was recorded a year later at 1.14 inches in 2003. Of either rain or snow, snow has more frequently fallen than rain on Christmas Day across Western New York. Of the past 40 years, 26 Christmases have had snow fall on the day, only nine with rain. Combined that makes 35 of the past 40 with some type of precipitation falling on Christmas Day. 

Temperature wise, climatology shows that Buffalo's average high and low temperature for December 25 are 34 and 22 degrees. The warmest Christmas on record occurred in 1982 when it reached 64 degrees at the Buffalo Airport. The coldest temperature ever recorded is -10 degrees back in 1980. What a temperature contrast for Christmases only two years apart! 

This year, Storm Team 2 is closely monitoring the chance for a winter storm to bring rain, snow and gusty winds Christmas Eve. Snow and cold temperature could follow on Christmas Day as well. And while much can still change over the next few day, it's best to prepare for and anticipate travel impacts around the holiday from this potential weather system. 

All the above data is based on observations and records kept at the National Weather Service Office in Buffalo, NY at the Buffalo Airport. 

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