While Alberta’s mountain communities almost always have a white Christmas, it’s not always guaranteed in other parts of the province, especially on the arid plains east of the mountains.
In fact, according to the 30-year averages from Environment Canada, Calgary has experienced a white Christmas 59 per cent of the time, Edmonton 87 per cent of the time, and for Lethbridge the chance of a white Christmas is 51 per cent.
What constitutes a white Christmas?
By definition, a white Christmas means having an unbroken blanket of at least two centimetres of snow on the ground.
What is the definition of a perfect Christmas?
A perfect Christmas has that unbroken blanket of two cm of snow on the ground and snow in the air on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with at least one cm of new accumulation.
A perfect Christmas is fairly rare in Calgary. It happens only about four per cent of the time. Lethbridge is likely to see a perfect Christmas six per cent of years but the number is quite a bit higher in Edmonton where records indicate a perfect Christmas occurred in 20 per cent of the years between 1986 and 2017.
To see what the chances of a white Christmas are in other cities across Canada, you can check out this website from Environment Canada.
What are the normal high and low temperatures for Christmas Day?
On average, Christmas Day in Calgary brings a high of -2 C and a low of -14 C.
For Edmonton, the numbers are -6 C and -17 C and for Lethbridge: -1 C and -14 C.
It was brutally cold all across Alberta last Christmas
Christmas Day 2017 was extremely cold with Calgary seeing a high of just -17 C after an early morning low of -28 C.
In Edmonton, it was -20 C with a low of -33 C.
Environment Canada records are missing for Christmas Day in Lethbridge but Medicine Hat saw a high of -20 C and a low of -29 C.
What can we expect this year?
Although a low pressure system sweep flurries across southern Alberta on Christmas day, many locations will still experience a green Christmas. The exception will be the mountains and some communities along the foothills, where snow has been plentiful the last couple of weeks.
Edmonton received 23 cm of snow in the first two weeks of December and with snow still on the ground as of Dec. 19, the capital region will be in for a white Christmas this year.
Temperatures are forecast to drop to seasonal averages or colder over most of the province this week.
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