COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) -- A White Christmas is defined as having at least one inch of snow on the ground on the morning of December 25th. Snow is usually uncommon for the Brazos Valley, but what about on Christmas morning?
Waking up to a White Christmas is a holiday dream of many, and while we have to wait until just before December 25th to really predict the specific weather on Christmas morning, we can look at how likely, based on historical records, a White Christmas is.
On the map below, you can see NOAA’s calculation of the historical odds of at least one inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day across the continental U.S., using their 1981 to 2010 U.S. climate normals.
For the Brazos Valley, climate data is not on our side to wake up to a snow on the ground Christmas morning. That trend will continue this year -- while sharply colder, the forecast calls for sunny skies and highs in the upper 40s / low 50s.
Bryan / College Station weather records go back as far as 1882. In the 134 years of records, snow has never been recorded at the official weather station on December 25th. But what about prior to that?
To be fair, there are a few years missing early on in our 134 year stretch. The history of College Station weather records goes as so:
"Observations began on the campus of Texas A&M College in May 1882. The station was relocated to the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station main farm located seven miles southwest of the College Station Post Office in January 1954. This station closed April 30, 1958. Other rainfall and temperature observations were taken in Bryan at 2310 23rd Street from September 1, 1913 through March 31, 1947."
According to the National Weather Service, "Weather records show that snow has never fallen at the official observation sites in Houston or College Station on December 25th. Snow has fallen the week before and the week after the holiday but never on the 25th."
But what about prior to 1882?
Below is an illustration -- sent to KBTX by a Weather Watcher -- depicting a White Christmas on the Texas A&M campus (then the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas) in 1876, the very first Christmas the college was open.
To back up the chance that there actually was a White Christmas in 1876, an article ran in the Austin American-Statesman on December 28th, 1876 stating "The ice and frozen ground, the sharp winds of Sunday and Monday and the 'snow, the beautiful snow of Tuesday...'"(Credit: Matt Lanza)
Christmas Day fell on a Monday in 1876.
Still not convinced? The name Carson may sound familiar to you in the City of Bryan. As one of the first families to settle in this area -- at Old Union Hill, around where J. Cody's BBQ Restaurant now stands -- Christmas 1876 was well documented. An excerpt from "the Texas Sesquicentennial Edition" notes sleet and blizzard conditions Christmas Eve in Brazos County, followed by a celebration on a White Christmas Day in 1876. Documents show that the "countryside was blanketed with six inches of snow on the 20th followed by near zero weather..."
So was there snow on the ground Christmas Day 1876? There is no "official" concrete proof. But one could say from looking at an illustration of campus, writings from a historic family's past, and an article written 106 miles west, 3 days later -- it sure looks like it was a White Christmas after all!