What are the odds of a white Thanksgiving?

I’m dreaming of a white… Thanksgiving?

That doesn’t quite have the same connotation as a white Christmas, but believe it or not, some parts of the US actually have remarkable chances of seeing snow on Thanksgiving every year.

Dr Brian Brettschneideran Alaska-based climatologist compiled it map belowwhich illustrates the historical likelihood of a white Thanksgiving.

To qualify for a white Thanksgiving, there must be at least 1 inch of snow on the ground on Thanksgiving morning or the falling snow must accumulate to at least 0.1 inch that day. These are the same criteria the National Weather Service uses to define a white Christmas.

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The map is based on historical weather data averaged over many years. Brettschneider noted that snowfall observations had to be at least 40 years old for a location to be included in his analysis.

In the Lower 48, the northern and central Rockies have the highest odds of encountering snow on Thanksgiving, with chances ranging from 50% to 70% in the highest peaks west of Denver to 70% to 90% in Yellowstone National Park in the Northwest ranges Wyoming and southwestern Montana. Yellowstone’s highest elevations have a 90 to 100 percent chance of a white Thanksgiving.

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Much of the northern plains of the US, from northern Washington to northern New England, has a 30 to 50 percent chance of snow on Turkey Day. Parts of northeastern North Dakota, northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s upper peninsula have a 50% to 70% chance. According to Brettschneider, the odds in western Michigan UP are even higher at 70% to 90%.

Turkey in the snow

A wild turkey is photographed walking in the snow in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.

Parts of northern Maine, northern New Hampshire, northern Vermont, and the highest elevations of the Adirondacks in upstate New York have a 50 to 70 percent chance of a white Thanksgiving. However, most parts of the Northeast and Midwest have only a 10% to 30% chance of snowing on Turkey Day each year. Further south in the mid-Atlantic, in the Ohio Valley, mid-Mississippi Valley and Central Plains, the chances of a snowy turkey day are less than 10%.

Most of the South has never experienced a white Thanksgiving, although the probability is between 1% and 5%, as far south as the Texas Panhandle and southern half of New Mexico.

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If you really want to wear snow boots while eating your turkey, head north to Alaska or northern Canada, where many areas have a 90 to 100 percent chance of a white Thanksgiving.

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