Two weather models are predicting snow accumulation in the Natural State on Christmas Day. Such an instance is extremely rare. In fact, the last time it snowed more than a trace on Christmas Day was 86 years ago!
"While the laws of probability and statistics are usually against a white Christmas here in Arkansas, sometimes you have to put aside those rules. We're in a weather pattern now that's becoming rather active over North America and one that's transitioning to a colder trend as well," said Meterologist Steve Adamson.
"At this point, the computer models are continuing to suggest that this next weather system arriving on Christmas is looking more likely to turn into a snow event after starting as rain," Adamson said.
According to collected record reports, snow has fallen just 11 times on Christmas Days since 1875. In three other years, no snow fell but there was already snow on the ground. Going by the averages, there is snow in the air or covering the ground on Christmas about once every nine to ten years. It is much more rare to have snow start on Christmas and accumulate (more than a trace on the ground) before the end of the day. That has not happened locally since 1926.
"I have always bought into the idea that Mother Nature trys to 'balance the books' when it comes to weather," Adamson said. "After a summer of extreme heat and drought, what would be more fitting than ending the year with a rare event?
A white Christmas may just be Mother Nature's way of trying to balance things out from all that high summer heat and dryness."
Stay with KARK, Your Weather Authority for all you need to know about this week's snow possibilities.
Also, here's more fun facts from the National Weather Service on past White Christmases:
In 1887...1914...1918...1935...1939...1975 and 2009 snow fell with no accumulation.
In 1976...two inches of snow was on the ground from snowfall on Christmas Eve.
In 1879...rain began around 7 AM Christmas Eve...changing to a mix of sleet and snow during the afternoon. By night...the ground was covered with snow...which continued into Christmas morning.
In 1897...one inch of snow fell on Christmas Day between 450 am and 1245 pm. By 700 pm that night...only a trace of snow remained on the ground.
In 1913...snow started at midnight and continued until 1130 am Christmas Day. A total of one and one half (1.5) inches of snow fell...but during the afternoon the temperature rose to 40 degrees and most of it melted. By that evening only a trace of snow remained.
On Christmas Day in 1926...sleet began falling around 600 am and then changed to snow. The snow continued until 130 pm. Overall...there was 1.7 inches of sleet and 2.5 inches of snow. The snow stayed on the ground through the 28th. Ironically...there was a serious tornado outbreak in Arkansas on Thanksgiving that year.
On Christmas Eve in 1962...it snowed an inch and a half (1.5) during the day but melted quickly during the night...leaving only patches of snow on the ground Christmas morning...which melted that day.
In 1963...four inches of snow was on the ground Christmas Day...left over from a 9.8 inch snowfall on December 22.
In 1975...it snowed on Christmas afternoon. In many of the hills around the city up to two inches of snow accumulated. For those living in the lower elevations of the city...rain and snow was mixed and little of the snow remained on the ground. By the next day...most of the snow had melted. No snow accumulated at Little Rock.
In 1983...a total of 2 inches of snow fell earlier in the week and there was some ice on top of that. Due to melting and refreezing...there was about an inch of ice and snow left on the ground by Christmas Day...but none remained on the ground at Little Rock.
In 1990...2.4 inches of snow and sleet fell on December 22-23 and most of it remained on the ground through Christmas Day in some of the higher elevations of the metro area.
In 2000...there was some snow on the ground in northern and western Arkansas on Christmas Day. At Little Rock...a trace of sleet and freezing rain had accumulated on the ground. That day...one of the largest ice storms in recorded history overspread the state...shutting the state down through the remainder of the year.