Baby, It’s Cold Outside–No Kidding!

snowflakeOn this cold, cold day, I thought it was appropriate to re-visit the Christmas statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Each year, they release Christmas weather statistics for the meteorologically curious.  Outside, this morning, it was a mere 1 degree.  How does that compare to recent Christmases?

In Baltimore, the coldest Christmas on record was within this lifetime–1983 with 3 degrees outside.   The second coldest was 1872 when it was 5 degrees.  In contrast, in 1964, it was a crazy 72 degrees.  Hard to imagine wearing shorts on Christmas when we’re all bundled up inside today.  According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the 1980’s were some of the coldest Christmases on record.

I prefer the Norman Rockwell snowy version of Christmas, even though we’ve seen only a few in the past 50 years, with over 5 inches on snow in 1962 and a little over 4 inches in 1969.

What to do?  Stay inside and keep busy preparing for Christmases yet to come.

  • Start a $5 jar for next year.
  • Try out a Christmas cookie recipe for 2014.
  • Crush your 2013 candy canes and make peppermint hot chocolate or peppermint bark.
  • Put away your Christmas decorations?  (Not yet!  I have to wait a little longer!)
  • Cut up your Christmas cards into gift tags for 2014.

Send your ideas to The Yule Log!

Countdown Podcast #7- 321 Days to Go!

Snowflakes– Click to hear this week’s podcast.

With the recent “snow” fall on Sunday, snowflakes were back on our minds.  Listen in to today’s conversation on snow, snowflakes, Kirigami, Suzy Snowflake and of course Rosemary Clooney!  We also tease about upcoming blogs and next week’s discussion of couples at Christmas.  (here’s the link for that 1950s tv clip we mentioned- Suzy Snowflake)

Capture Winter Now

Well the first snow of 2012 here in Frederick really didn’t amount to much.  Couple inches of slushy snow with some ice on top.  No winter wonderland.  No days of work.  No hunkering down and digging out.  Too bad.  I love snow.  I love winter.  I plan to retire to the north coast of Maine where I can stand on the shore and see the ocean spray freeze.  I know most don’t share this love of snow and winter but everyone loves a beautiful snow-covered Christmas scene.  As Natalie shared yesterday, the likelihood of a white Christmas is pretty slim around these parts.  We have to take advantage of the snow when it comes.  Here’s a holiday hint for the rest of winter.  Keep a camera handy!  When the snow does come for real this winter snap some pictures.  Get those shots of places and things looking all wintry white.  Use these pictures to create holiday gifts.  One idea- get the perfect photo of your childhood home in winter glory. Find a unique antique frame or other display for it.  Give it to your parents with a card or note recalling a fond memory from Christmases growing up.  Another idea- Get shots of the kids out sledding and playing in the snow- makings of a great shot for holiday cards over those posed sweater shots.  One last idea- take pictures of scenic wilderness or wildlife in the snow.  Use them to create a calendar of local scenes.  A great gift for family and friends who have moved away.  Get those cameras ready and think snow!!!

Keep dreaming: Chances slim for White Christmas 2012

Roger and I are  headed to the grocery store because there’s a “chance” that it may snow/sleet this evening, and like most Marylanders, we become a little crazy if the white stuff is in the forecast.

I remember when I was a teen, hearing about a local car dealership that promised to give away a car if it snowed on Christmas day.  These deals still exist, but the odds are probably greater that you will be struck by lightening than win a car.  (Actually, I have no idea about how many people are test driving cars, but the National Weather Service sets the likelihood of being struck by lightening at 1/1,000,000).  This year, Pohanka Hyundai in Fredericksburg, VA offered one lucky winner a car or $15,000 if it snowed on Christmas.

The fine print for the dealership’s ad read “a minimum of 5” of snow must be measured at the Ronald Reagan International Airport between 12 am and 11:59 pm Christmas Day.”  Only two years in Maryland recorded weather history (122 years) has there been snow over five inches, and I’m guessing it’s even more unlikely for Fredericksburg to the south of us.

So if we all dream of White Christmases, how likely is it that we will get one?

The National Climatic Data Center has a nifty map of the entire U.S.  Maryland sits at 11 – 25% for snow on Christmas (even less on the Eastern Shore).  Based on my experience (and my lifetime in Maryland gives me plenty), even 10% is a high number.

A 2005 article in the Baltimore Sun confirms this exactly.  If we count every Christmas since the beginning of Baltimore snowfall record-keeping (1893), we’ve had snow fall on Christmas Day 12 times.  That’s 10 percent.  If we count the Christmases when snow fell or was on the ground, it comes to 29 times, or closer to 25%.

So, the bottom line is that IF it snows (or sleets or whatever) tonight, I’m going to appreciate it instead of curse it.  And I’ve learned that if I want a White Christmas guaranteed, the best move I can make is to rural Michigan, Minnesota or Washington State.