How likely is snow for the festival in my region?

A white Christmas is a romantic notion, but the meteorological definition of this phenomenon is usually sober. When a snow cover of at least one centimeter is recorded at one of the measuring stations of the German Weather Service on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, meteorologists there speak of a white Christmas.

Since the beginning of the measurements in Germany, these conditions have been fulfilled very differently depending on the region: On Heligoland, snow almost never occurs during the festival, on the Zugspitze it has always been.

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Snow at Christmas: how often did it happen in my city?

A place with very good conditions for a white Christmas, for example, is the Feldberg in the Black Forest. As the following graphic shows, there has only been isolated snowfall there since 1960.

Enter a location or a postal code in the search to display the snow frequency at the nearest measuring station.

As the map also shows, last year there was, as expected, most of the snow at high altitude measuring stations such as the Fichtelberg in Saxony, the Zugspitze, the Großer Arber in Bavaria and the Feldberg in Baden-Württemberg.

Most of the other regions in southern Germany had to do without a white Christmas in 2021. On the other hand, there was exceptionally some snow on the Baltic Sea last year. Putbus on Rügen, for example, reported four centimeters. The last time Germany was completely covered in white was Christmas 2010. In previous years, there was rarely so much snow in Germany.

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Drag the slider above the map to view measurements from previous years.

25 December 2020, Hessen, Schmitten: A snowman stands on the Feldberg.  The Feldberg plateau lies under a light blanket of snow when the temperature is below zero.  Many people use the local mountain, which is closed to traffic, for a Christmas trip.  Photo: Andreas Arnold/dpa +++ dpa picture radio +++

White Christmas: Because of climate change, soon only snow from yesterday?

White Christmases have become increasingly rare in recent years. A trend that climate researchers believe will continue. In addition, the winters are generally getting warmer – which has consequences for people and nature.

In the long term, the chance of snow decreases

Despite this outlier, the long-term trend clearly shows less snowfall. In order to clarify the change over time, climate research compares recent years with the long-term mean.

Based on this, the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) compared how common white Christmases were in the years 2010 to 2021 compared to the years 1961 to 1990. This shows that snow has been measured less often on public holidays than in the past at almost all stations in recent years.

The south of Germany is particularly affected, where just a few decades ago there was snow much more frequently at Christmas. Hohenpeissenberg in Upper Bavaria, for example, used to have a 77 percent chance of snow. In the past decade, the rate has fallen to 17 percent.

Since 2010, only 18 of 234 locations have snowed more frequently than before, including Düsseldorf.

Click the Change column header at the top to sort the table the other way around.

The German Weather Service (DWD) confirms in a report that as a result of climate change, snow cover at Christmas is becoming increasingly unlikely. On average, the probability in Germany is therefore only around 13 percent. That means: Statistically speaking, people in Germany can only enjoy snow on the three public holidays every eight years.

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Nevertheless, the fluctuations in the weather every year give hope for an exception. However, the meteorologists will not be able to estimate well enough whether this year is one of them until ten days before Christmas at the earliest.

White Christmas: where can I expect snow?

If you want safety, you have to go to the higher elevations. The measuring stations with a snow probability of around 90 percent are almost all well over 1000 meters.

The connection between altitude and snow probability is obvious. But some regions surprise in one direction or another. The Bavarian Reit im Winkl, for example, has the best prospects of snow for the festival, but is only at a relatively low altitude of 686 meters.

On the other hand, the Lenzkirch-Ruhbühl station is even at 854 meters, but only offers a snow probability of 27 percent.

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