Doug's Diggings: No problem having a white Christmas this yearWhen I was a kid, the winter we are experiencing this year would have been ideal. I remember some years just hoping against hope that we would get a “big snowstorm.” I remember some years when it was going to be challenge to even have a white Christmas. That’s not a problem this year!
By: Doug Stohlberg, Hudson Star-Observer
When I was a kid, the winter we are experiencing this year would have been ideal. I remember some years just hoping against hope that we would get a “big snowstorm.” I remember some years when it was going to be challenge to even have a white Christmas. That’s not a problem this year!
We had plenty of snow some years when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s. But I can vividly recall an evening when our family was wrapping some Christmas presents and it was raining outside. Not just raining — it was a downpour! The temperature was about 38 or 40 degrees. I knew that if the temperature would drop just a few degrees we could be in the midst of a huge snowstorm. Instead, all the precipitation flowed down into the drains in the street.
I bring this up because the sort of winter we’ve had so far this year would have had me grinning from ear-to-ear 50 years ago. Somehow, the prospect of big snowstorms doesn’t seem quite as exciting when a person gets older.
I will say, however, when we had the big 20-inch snowfall a couple of weeks ago my wife and I enjoyed a fun day. Between the time spent shoveling and blowing snow, we managed to wrap some gifts and made Christmas cookies. Yes, I even got into the cookie-making spirit. If it hadn’t snowed, I probably would have found myself doing more routine Saturday chores.
Big snowstorms do have a way of changing a person’s routine and when they happen on a weekend, it can be kind of fun — even at my age!
A white Christmas is loosely defined as having at least 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. In 109 years of snow depth measurements in Twin Cities, a white Christmas happens about 72 percent of the time. From 1899 to 2008 there have been 31 years with either a “zero” or a “trace” of snow.
The last time the Twin Cities has seen a brown Christmas was 2006. To date, the deepest snow cover on Dec. 25 was in 1983 with 20 inches. That number could be challenged this year!
By the way, the coldest Christmas on record was in 1996 when the high temperature was 9 below zero. The warmest was 51 degrees in 1922.
According to records, one of the more bizarre Christmas Eve and Christmas Day weather events came in 1982. Heavy rains with thunder and lightning hit the area after dusk on Dec. 24 and continued into the early morning hours on Dec. 25. The rain changed over to a slushy 1.4 inches of snow later in the morning — the Christmas, however, was listed as “brown” because snow depth is measured at 6 a.m. and the change-over occurred later in the morning.
There has not been a significant snowfall on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day for many years, although a fluffy 3.4 inches of snow did fall on Christmas Day, 2007. Before that, however, you have to go back to 1950 when 5.9 inches of snow fell in the Twin Cities. The biggest ever came in 1945 when 11.3 inches fell in downtown Minneapolis on Dec. 24 and 25.
The bottom line is this — we will have a white Christmas in 2010. Based on the records kept, this year might have a record amount of snow on the ground.
Regardless of the weather, however, Christmas is a special time. In some ways, Christmas is sort of like the big snowstorm — your routines change and activities make great memories for all. I still have memories of Christmas celebrations when I was a child and they are all good — smiles, laughing, giving of gifts, attending a candlelight church service… Whatever goes on in your home this Christmas will live in someone’s memory for many years to come.