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Will New York see a white Christmas? It's depends on where you live

Catherine Loper/WRVO

Central New York has seen some winter weather the past few weeks. Will that pattern continue and should New Yorkers be dreaming of seeing a White Christmas this year?

Yonggang Wang, a climatologist at SUNY Oswego, defines a "white Christmas" as having at least one inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. He said, luckily for Bing Crosby, much of New York state is likely to see snow on Christmas this year.

"There'll be some people call it a polar press of cold air, arctic air mass," Wang said. "They come from the north to the south, visiting the central part of the United States."

He said the key ingredients to getting a white Christmas are instability, cold air and moisture.

Some regions of the state are more prone to see snow, with Wang saying Buffalo and Syracuse usually have a 60 to 70 percent chance of seeing snow. Other spots in the state like New York City usually have less of a chance with Wang estimating it to be a 10 to 20 percent chance.

"I think the general rule [is] if you like to see snowflakes on Christmas day, you want to go to some place that either has a higher elevation or a lower latitude."

With climate change leading to warmer temperatures, Wang said some research centers are using climate models to determine what changes in snow patterns could occur in the future. Some parts of the country may see less snow in years to come, but people living near Lake Erie and Ontario could have a different experience due to the lake water staying warmer longer.

"It's possible that they see more snow in a near future," Wang said. "But, eventually if the atmosphere above the lake is too warm, we don't have that suitable condition for lake effect anymore. Eventually, I think the chance to have [a] white Christmas will be smaller and smaller."

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.