7 places where a white Christmas might seem impossible, but it isn't

While you might assume seeing snow on Christmas in the likes of Los Angeles or Phoenix or parts of Florida would never happen, their history books have three words for you: "Never say never."

For those that live in the warmer climates of the southern U.S., "Dreaming of a white Christmas" each year is just that -- a dream.   A recent European oddsmaker put the probability of a snowy Christmas in Los Angeles and San Francisco at 1000-1. In a vast majority of years, even that would classify as a "sucker bet."

But while you might assume seeing snow on Christmas in the likes of Los Angeles or Phoenix or parts of Florida would never happen, their history books have three words for you:

"Never say never."

Many cities home to snowbirds and days that can reach the 80s in winter have had days in their history with measurable snow. So even if it hadn't happened on Christmas Day, history shows the stars and weather patterns could align and bring snow on Dec. 25.


Here are seven cities where snow on Christmas Day might seem exceedingly rare, but it's not impossible.

1) Los Angeles

It hasn't ever snowed on Christmas in Los Angeles, but it has snowed in winter.

Downtown Los Angeles picked up 2.0 inches of snow on January 15, 1932, only missing Christmas by three weeks.

There are two other January dates where Downtown Los Angeles picked up a dusting, in 1949 and 1954.

2) San Francisco

Again, no white Christmas in the record books here, but there have been four days in their winter history where San Francisco was covered in snow -- though none in the past several decades.

Most snowfalls were in the 19th century. Feb. 5, 1887, recorded 3.7 inches of snow in the city, while 1.5 inches were observed on Feb. 7, 1884, and an inch fell on March 3, 1896.  

Snow found its way into the Bay Area in 1932 as it had earlier in the year in Los Angeles, but this time it was in December, on the 11th, and measured 0.8 inches.

The photo above from the San Francisco Chronicle shows snow in the suburbs on Feb. 5, 1976, but neither official San Francisco reporting station recorded snowfall on that date.

3) Phoenix

Phoenix has had measurable snow just three times in their recorded history, and two of them came on back-to-back days.

But those days just barely missed Christmas, with 0.2" recorded on Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 in 1990. 0.1 inches was observed on Dec. 11, 1985.

4) Houston

Houston officially has never had a white Christmas, but some areas just outside the city in southeast Texas sure did in 2004

A narrow band of heavy snow moved in the night of Christmas Eve, bringing 9-12 inches around Victoria and Edna with 6 inches in Angleton and 4 inches on the beach in Galveston.

However, Houston just had a dusting and nothing measured at the airport.

Houston has had nine days in its history with at least 1 inch of snow, with the record being 2 inches on Jan. 11, 1973.

5) New Orleans

That winter storm that just missed Houston in 2004 managed to make it over into New Orleans on Christmas Day, with the airport measuring 0.5 inches.

The city's snowiest day was 2.7 inches on Dec. 31, 1963, with 2.0 inches on Feb. 12, 1958.  The town has measured eight days since 1948 with at least 0.1 inches.

6) Tucson

This one might need an asterisk because snow is not entirely unheard of in Tucson, Arizona despite its sunny and hot reputation.

In fact, they have two official white Christmases in the books -- 4.0 inches in 1916 and 2.6 inches in 1987.

And there are 50 days in the town's history since 1894 that have had at least one inch of snow.

7) Florida

Snow in Florida? You bet!

While Jacksonville has never had a white Christmas, it has snowed three times in their history, including 0.8 inches on Dec. 23, 1989 -- so close!  

The only two other times came on Feb. 13: 1.9 inches in 1899 and 1.5 inches in 1958.

Snow even reached as far south as Miami – once.

When those in Miami awoke on Jan. 19, 1977, they had to wonder if they had suddenly been transported to the North as snow was falling outside – the first and only time snow has been recorded in Miami's history and the farthest south snow had been observed in Florida.

But if you're looking for places where snow on Christmas would take a weather miracle, how about San Diego? That city has ever reported snowfall.