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White Christmas Looking Good For Granite State

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
December 12, 2007

© Rob Sylvan. Taken Dec 3, 2007 in Newmarket, NH

New Hampshire should have a white Christmas, with additional snow predicted for the month of December and low temperatures that should halt most melting, according to Beth Hall, New Hampshire state climatologist at UNH.

Hall’s December 2007 climate forecast for the Granite State calls for a 17 percent probability for snow to fall on Christmas Day in southern New Hampshire, and a 75 percent probability for there to be snow on the ground. In northern New Hampshire, there is a 27 percent probability for snow to fall on that date, and an 85 percent probability that there will be snow on the ground. Usually on Dec. 25, the Granite State averages between 5 and 7 inches of snow on the ground.

“In December, we experience the shortest days of the year. The Northeast Regional Climate Center predicts average daytime temperatures will drop to the 20s and 30s, with the nights even colder. That means any snow that we do get before Christmas Day should last through the holiday,” Hall said.

Models from the Climate Prediction Center indicate New Hampshire is forecast to have temperatures above normal and precipitation similar to the climatological averages from past years. From November to January, Hall said New Hampshire has a strong chance of seeing above normal temperatures, with precipitation close to climatological norms.

“What this implies is that with normal precipitation amount but above-normal temperatures, New Hampshire will probably see less snow than typical. The precipitation that does fall will either be as rain, or perhaps freezing rain. Without the slow melt-rate of snow, this could suggest an increased chance of flooding, especially if the ground freezes enough to discourage soil absorption,” Hall said.

Epping holds the record high temperature for December at 76 degrees set on Dec. 7, 1998. The coldest recorded temperature for December was in Berlin on Dec. 31, 1917, when the mercury dipped to -44 degrees. In northern New Hampshire, Mt. Washington holds the snowfall record for December with 37.5 inches falling on Dec. 15, 1968. The town of Errol comes in second with 28 inches of snow on Dec. 7, 2003. In southern New Hampshire, Newport holds the record with 19 inches of snow on Dec. 7, 2003.

At UNH, Hall teaches courses on meteorology and climatology in addition to specialized courses on how and why severe weather occurs. She holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Nevada.

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