With 139 Years Of Records, Weather Service Says 17 Percent Chance Of White Christmas In Boise

Dec 21, 2018

Based on historical records, the National Weather Service predicts there's a 17 percent chance Boise gets snow on Christmas.
Credit Joe Kirschling / Flickr

A cold snap brought frigid temperatures and a blanket of white to the Treasure Valley in early December – too early for a Christmas card perfect holiday. With just a few days to go until Christmas, we look at the odds of a winter wonderland on December 25.

The Treasure Valley got a white Christmas last year. An inch of snow fell to make a picture-perfect holiday in 2017. This year, the National Weather Service says there’s a 17 percent chance for snow on Christmas Day.

That probability comes from pouring over 139 years of historical records for Boise. While last year’s dusting provided some nice set dressing, it pales in comparison to what happened 20 years ago.

“The record snowfall would be 6.1 inches in 1998,” says Elizabeth Padian, a meteorologist with the Weather Service. She says Boise set another record even more recently.

“If you remember the winter of 2016 – 2017, that was when we recorded our record snow depth for the 25th of December, and that was nine inches in 2016,” Padian says.

The meteorologist says based on all the historical records – and logically – the chance of snow goes up with your elevation. McCall has a 98 percent chance of having snow on the ground Christmas morning and a 27 percent chance of falling snow that day.

With so many people moving to the Gem State, Padian herself voices something many new arrivals probably think.

“I grew up in Phoenix,” she says, “so a white Christmas is only an Idaho thing for me.”

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