One of the most elusive of Christmas presents for North Texans is snow but forecasters say there’s a chance this holiday season — and a chance is better than nothing.
“What we can say is we can’t rule it out at this point,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Ted Ryan. “We still think there’s a greater likelihood of a cold and dry Christmas but the models are saying there’s a 15 to 20 percent of a winter storm and that's pretty high number for 10 days out.”
For any given year, the odds are about 3 to 4 percent for snow on Christmas. The last White Christmas in the DFW area came in 2012.
Because the forecast models keep changing every time they’re run, there’s no clear consensus this far out, said Ryan, who works in the NWS Fort Worth office.
What needs to happen for snow?
An upper level storm system needs to park over Las Vegas and pump moisture into Texas. If the storm system moves through quickly or drifts back over the Pacific Ocean, then North Texas won’t see any snow — or sleet or freezing rain, either.
What forecasters do know is a strong cold front will move into the DFW area, most likely on Thursday with low temperatures dropping below freezing.
For now, Ryan said “don’t freak out” but do pay attention to the weather forecast.
“I would say anybody with travel plans, whether by plan or car, probably should keep an eye on the forecast and check back early next week,” Ryan said. “If it does turn out to be a winter storm, people may need to look at changing their plans and leaving a day early.”
There have been 24 Christmas winter weather events in North Texas since 1841, according to the National Weather Service.
Snow around Christmas since 2000
- Dec. 25, 2012. Four to 6 inches fell across parts of Collin, Denton and Parker counties.
- Dec. 24, 2009 Rare blizzard conditions hit areas northwest of Fort Worth with 9 inches of snow reported from Jacksboro to Bowie. At Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, 3 inches of snow were recorded.
- Dec. 22, 2004 Up to 2 inches of snow fell across North Texas with 4 inches reported near Stephenville and east of Sherman-Denison.
- Dec. 24, 2002 Flurries fell across North Texas on Christmas Eve with most of the DFW area reporting light snow.