Media Relations

UNH Climatologist: White Christmas Unlikely for Southern New Hampshire
December 20, 2010
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DURHAM, N.H. – Although residents of Southern New Hampshire may be dreaming of a white Christmas, it’s not likely their dreams will come true this year, according to Mary Stampone, assistant professor of geography and New Hampshire state climatologist.

If the current weather models hold, this will be the first time since Christmas 2006 that much of the state will wake up Christmas morning without measureable snow on the ground, Stampone said.

According to Stampone, for the period 1980 to 2009, the state had measurable snow on the ground -- snow depth of at least 1 inch -- a least 40 percent of the time, with higher percentages north. During the past 30 years, measurable snow on the ground was reported 40 to 50 percent of the time for Seacoast stations and 60 to 75 percent of the time for inland stations to the north and west and at lower elevations of the White Mountains. The Great North Woods and high elevations reported a measurable snow depth on Dec. 25 up to 93 percent of the time.

But the latest forecast from the National Weather Service office in Gray, Maine, indicates the week will begin with a series of systems forecasted to move along the coast Monday through Wednesday, Stampone said.

“Although there is the potential for flurries to a dusting, the chance for a significant snowfall event for New England through Wednesday is low. Dry and seasonably cold temperatures will follow Thursday through Christmas Day. A coastal storm may bring some snow to New England on Sunday, but the chance of significant accumulations appears to be low for now,” she said.

The New Hampshire State Climate Office (NHSCO) resides within the Department of Geography at the University of New Hampshire. The mission of the NHSCO is to the serve the citizens of New Hampshire by providing access to climatological data and information, conducting climate-related research that is relevant to the needs of the state and its residents, and serving as a focal point for climate education and outreach. The NHSCO is officially recognized by the American Association of State Climatologists and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For more information, visit http://www.unh.edu/stateclimatologist/.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

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Media Contact: Lori Wright | 603-862-0574 | UNH Media Relations

Researcher Contact: Mary Stampone | 603-862-3136 | UNH Department of Geography
NH State Climate Office