Those determined to have a White Christmas should grab crampons and a bottle of scotch and prepare for a tough slog. Many places in the lower 48 with a lock on holiday snow are located in rugged, altitudinous climes—the bony ridge of the Sierra Nevada, for instance, and the wind-burned peaks of the Rockies.
That much is clear in this delightful NOAA map plotting probabilities across the U.S. for a White Christmas, defined here as a December 25 with more than an inch of snow on the ground. Based on three decades of climate normals from the National Climatic Data Center, the graphic shows a stark geographic divide when it comes to unwrapping presents in snow-globe conditions: A region of zero to 10 percent probability curves from Washington State through coastal California and then explodes in the deep South and Southeast. Parts of the Midwest also are likely to be snowless, with places like Kansas, Missouri, and lower Illinois having only an 11 to 25 percent chance of a White Christmas.