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White Christmas? Odds not in Long Island’s favor

Anthony Aiello of Lindenhurst gets ready for Christmas

Anthony Aiello of Lindenhurst gets ready for Christmas Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in West Babylon. Credit: Steve Pfost

There’s a good reason that Long Island does not make the top 10 — or top 100 — list for most picturesque white Christmas locales.

Blessed with any number of scenic attributes, the Island does not count among them snow on the ground for the day following Santa’s massive delivery effort.

As for this year, one forecaster points to the potential, but that’s about it for now.

Historically, there’s only an 18 percent chance for an inch or more of snow on the ground for Dec. 25 at Long Island MacArthur Airport, according to Jessica Spaccio, climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University. That’s based on data from 1967 to 2016.

And let’s not even get hung up on accumulation. The chance for any snow at all — even what’s barely measurable — to fly on Christmas Day is 2 percent, she says.

You can see how the Island stacks up against other spots in the country on the regional climate center’s post, “Dreaming of a White Christmas?” at

As for this year, conditions as of Friday weren’t showing a great deal of promise for an Instagram full of captivating Christmas snowfall photos, though there is a chance.

Starting the weekend before Christmas, a pattern will be setting up, with “a bubble of warm air” to the south, over Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, said Dave Dombek, AccuWeather senior meteorologist. Some cold, cold air will also be making its way to the northern stretch of the United States, as well as over Ontario and Quebec.

Somewhere in between these two extremes, a boundary zone will be setting up, a volatile area that lends itself to storminess — delivering snow nearer to the colder edge, and rain closer to the warmer edge.

The “$64,000 question,” he said, is just where the boundary falls in relation to Long Island. Bottom line at this point, he said, is, “we have no idea,” meaning the Island could see some all-out snow; “cold, nasty” rain; even dry, cold conditions during that Christmas week.

So, there’s potential for a white Christmas, he said, “but that’s all it is right now.”

Of course, the area has had white Christmases, and the last time Long Islanders could boast of one was in 2013, with 1.7 inches of snow falling the day before, and an inch remaining on Dec. 25, Spaccio said.

The two following years, 2014 and 2015, didn’t stand a chance.

Both Christmas Day and the day before featured temperatures in the 50s and 60s.

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