Dreaming of a white Christmas on P.E.I.? Think again

Weather experts surveyed by CBC News are expressing doubts the bleak mid-winter will be cheered by a white Christmas on the Island.

5 weather experts make their predictions

The bare dusting of snow Monday morning in Charlottetown would not count as a white Christmas. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

Weather experts surveyed by CBC News are expressing doubts the bleak mid-winter will be cheered by a white Christmas on the Island.

Frigid winds have been howling since late last week, but those hoping for a white Christmas — defined as at least two centimetres of snow Christmas morning — are still waiting for snow.

The weather took a hard turn toward winter last week, from a high of 12 C on Wednesday to a low of -12 C on Thursday, but the two centimetres of snow required for an official white Christmas has still not arrived at the Charlottetown Airport weather station.

This year has conflicting indications, with cold weather in the forecast but the water temperatures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Northumberland Strait well above normal. The forecast hinges on a potential storm and what it will bring.

Weather models predict a system passing over the Island Saturday, and like the odds of a white Christmas in general, it seems to be a toss up whether it will bring snow or rain. Even in eastern P.E.I., where snow squalls covered the ground over the weekend, a good rain could wash it all away.

But despite the unpredictability of this potential storm, CBC P.E.I.'s weather expert panel is going all green.

  • Jim Abraham, CBC: Green.
  • Adam Fenech, UPEI climatologist: Green.
  • Linda Libby, Environment Canada: Green.
  • Kalin Mitchell, CBC: Green.
  • Jay Scotland, CBC: Green.

Libby said she's leaning toward a green Christmas morning, but she's forecasting snow on Christmas day and snow on the ground for Christmas dinner.

History of white Christmas

Looking back over the last 20 Christmases, the odds of a white Christmas at Charlottetown Airport stand at 50 per cent. Last year Islanders enjoyed a perfect Christmas, defined as a white Christmas with snow falling during the day. There have been six of those (marked with an asterisks on this table) in the last two decades.

White Christmases at Charlottetown Airport

Forecasting a white Christmas is fraught on the Island, because at this time of year there's a fine line between a snowstorm and a rainstorm.

But these are forecasts only and we will have to wait, as we will for so many things, until Christmas morning to see if the bleak mid-winter will turn to white, as it so often did, long ago.


Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. Kevin has a specialty in data journalism, and how statistics relate to the changing lives of Islanders. He has a BSc and a BA from Dalhousie University, and studied journalism at Holland College in Charlottetown. You can reach him at