Despite a light Christmas Eve snow across the metro area, Kansas Citians might have a white Christmas only in their dreams.
Between 1 and 2 inches of snow fell across the area Sunday morning, according to Jenni Laflin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill. Heavier snow was reported near the Missouri and Iowa border, where 4 to 4 1/2 inches of snow fell.
“If we don’t melt it and it doesn’t blow away, since the snow is pretty light and fluffy, we should have a white Christmas here in Kansas City,” Laflin said Sunday.
And that’s a big if.
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“It’s really light snow, so some of it could blow around a little bit, even if you only get a little bit of a breeze,” she said.
Meteorologists define a white Christmas as having at least 1 inch of snow on the ground.
Despite temperatures being below freezing, the sun was out and winds of about 5 mph was expected for most of the day.
If Kansas City misses out on a white Christmas this year, that won’t be unusual, according to historical weather data.
On average, one out of about every five Christmases in Kansas City has snow on the ground.
This year, the snow tapered off by mid-Sunday morning and none was expected any time soon. The biggest concern in the forecast is cold weather the next several days.
Sunday’s high is expected to be around 29 degrees, about 10 degrees colder than normal. The wind was expected to make temps feel like they were in the teens.
The high Christmas Day should be a few degrees warmer, reaching around 32 degrees.
Tuesday will likely be the coldest day of the week, with the high remaining below 20 degrees. Wind chills are expected to fall near 0 degrees early Tuesday.
Although Wednesday will be warmer, the day will start out with temperatures in the single digits and wind chills below 0 degrees. The remainder of the week is expected to remain chilly, with highs remaining below freezing.
To see just how uncommon white Christmases are in Kansas City, The Star looked at daily summaries data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and found that there have been 25 white Christmases since 1895.
The last white Christmas was in 2013, when there was 3.9 inches of snow on the ground. The snowiest Christmas was in 1918, when 10 inches of snow blanketed the city.
KC’s Top 5 Snowiest Christmases
(Based on snow depth)
Snow Depth (in inches)
It’s even more uncommon for snow to fall on Christmas. The last time it snowed on Christmas Day was in 2009. That year, a multi-day storm dumped 7 inches of snow at KCI. About half of that — 3.3 inches — fell on Christmas Day.
It’s snowed only three other times on Christmases that qualified as a white Christmas — 1895 with 2.5 inches of snow, 1949 with one-tenth inch of snow, and 1962 with 1.3 inches of snow.
There were other years when it snowed on Christmas Day, but those years didn’t have enough snow on the ground to qualify as a white Christmas. Those years were 1899, 1920, 1925, 1935, 1964 and 1987.
KC’s Top 5 Christmas Day snowfalls
(includes Christmases that did not qualify as being white)
The warmest Christmas Day was in 1922, when the high reached 67. The coldest was in 1983, when the high was 4 degrees and the low was minus-16.
KC’s Top 5 warmest Christmases
KC’s Top 5 coldest Christmases
(Based on lowest high temperatures)