Nature

White Christmas: Why is it Rare for the Texas Hill Country to Have One?

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Snow in the Hill Country is rare enough, but snow on Christmas occurs even less frequently. Transplants from northern climates may wonder why the Texas Hill Country does not have a white Christmas each year or even each decade. The answer lies in the climate of this portion of the state.

What Defines a White Christmas?

A rare snow in Austin though it does not make a white Christmas

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The definition of a white Christmas varies based on country. The United States has looser requirements for this event than other places such as the United Kingdom, which requires snow to be in the air on Christmas Day for it to count. In the United States, including Texas, at 7:00 a.m. on Christmas Day, there must be at least one inch of snow on the ground, even if it fell the previous day. By this definition, white Christmases come very rarely to the Texas Hill Country due to its climate.

The Texas Hill Country Climate

Texas Hill Country climate is mild especially during the winter

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Hill Country has mild winters and hot summers with less precipitation than the eastern part of the state. With less precipitation and warmer temperatures, it’s less likely for moisture to be in the air during the few times temperatures fall below freezing. This means any snow during the winter is very unlikely and a noteworthy event.

Frequency of White Christmases in the Hill Country

Don't expect a white Christmas in the Texas Hill Country any time soon

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to the National Weather Service, the Texas Hill Country has snow on the ground on Christmas Day between zero and five percent of all previous holidays. If you live anywhere in the Hill Country, don’t hold your breath for seeing snow anytime soon. The Texas Hill Country does not have the right conditions for snowfall in winter. In fact, if snow does fall, it’s more likely to occur in late January or February and not in December. What about 2017? With the La Nina in effect, the weather for December likely will be drier and warmer than most winters, so a white Christmas does not seem to be a high probability this year.

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