Here we are, in mid-December, and there's very little snow on the ground. As I'm writing this, it is actually raining. That isn't the most festive scene a person from the Twin Ports might expect this time of year. With El Niño firmly gripping our weather this winter, what are the odds we see snow in time for Christmas?

MN DNR

Historically, the Minnesota DNR says the odds of a white Christmas in the Northland is something you can safely bet on. The data they share uses several years of snow depth information on Christmas to project the general likelihood of a snowy holiday. Here's how the probabilities break down for the area:

  • Cloquet
    • Probability of at least 1 inch of snow: 100%
    • Probability of at least 5 inches of snow: 84%
    • Probability of at least 10 inches of snow: 47%
  • Cotton
    • Probability of at least 1 inch of snow: 100%
    • Probability of at least 5 inches of snow: 72%
    • Probability of at least 10 inches of snow: 47%
  • Duluth (Above the Hill)
    • Probability of at least 1 inch of snow: 98%
    • Probability of at least 5 inches of snow: 67%
    • Probability of at least 10 inches of snow: 46%
  • Duluth (Downtown, Below the Hill)
    • Probability of at least 1 inch of snow: 97%
    • Probability of at least 5 inches of snow: 58%
    • Probability of at least 10 inches of snow: 23%
  • Grand Marais
    • Probability of at least 1 inch of snow: 89%
    • Probability of at least 5 inches of snow: 61%
    • Probability of at least 10 inches of snow: 39%
  • Grand Rapids
    • Probability of at least 1 inch of snow: 97%
    • Probability of at least 5 inches of snow: 67%
    • Probability of at least 10 inches of snow: 39%
  • Hibbing
    • Probability of at least 1 inch of snow: 97%
    • Probability of at least 5 inches of snow: 66%
    • Probability of at least 10 inches of snow: 45%
  • Moose Lake
    • Probability of at least 1 inch of snow: 98%
    • Probability of at least 5 inches of snow: 51%
    • Probability of at least 10 inches of snow: 17%
  • Two Harbors
    • Probability of at least 1 inch of snow: 82%
    • Probability of at least 5 inches of snow: 57%
    • Probability of at least 10 inches of snow: 25%

It is worth noting that these records cover a span of years that include both El Niño and non-El Niño years. With this year's El Niño in full force, and continuing to prove one of the strongest on record, one has to look at the forecast to see what's going to happen this year. Unfortunately, extended forecasts aren't extremely reliable, but there is measurable snow projected for the first part of next week. If it gets (and stays) cold after; which it appears it should, we should see a white Christmas once again this year in the Northland.