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Image of a snowflake.

How often does Flagstaff have snow for the holidays?

Most people think of white snowy scenes with snow gently falling from the sky when picturing the typical weather during Christmas. But how often does this occur in reality? Over the thirty year period from 1970 to 1999, Flagstaff has recorded snowfall on the ground at Christmas 53% of the time (16/30 years). It has actually snowed on 40% of the Christmas days (12/30 years). However, seven of those days recorded only a trace of snow, or flurries. How does this compare with other locations in the United States?

The table below shows the historical probability of snow on the ground on Christmas Day at many cities in the United States as compiled over the same thirty year period using data from the National Climatic Data Center.

LocationHistorical Probability of snow
on the ground for Christmas Day
Albuquerque, NM3%
Prescott, AZ10%
New York City, NY10%
Washington, DC13%
Winslow, AZ20%
Reno, NV20%
Boise, ID30%
Chicago, IL40%
Denver, CO50%
Salt Lake City, UT53%
Flagstaff, AZ53%
Great Falls, MT57%
Madison, WI67%
Minneapolis, MN73%
Blue Canyon, CA74%
Lander, WY77%
Portland, ME83%
Bismarck, ND87%
Wausau, WI93%
Montpelier, VT93%
Barrow, AK100%
Marquette, MI100%
Image of a snowflake.

Is it snowier on any other holidays at Flagstaff?

When tabulated over the last fifty years the historical probability of snowfall being on the ground at Christmas is around 48% for Flagstaff. The probability of it actually snowing on Christmas Day is around 28%. What about at other times of the year?

HolidayHistorical Probability of
snow on the ground
Historical Probability of
snowfall occurring
Most amount of snow
on the ground
Christmas Day48%28%44 inches1967
New Years Day54%24%28 inches1968
Valentine's Day52%30%18 inches1978
St. Patrick's Day38%22%29 inches1973
April Fool's Day40%34%31 inches1973
Heavy Snow Scene from Flagstaff.

Based on this data, it appears that New Year's Day is the best holiday for having snow on the ground, while April Fool's Day is the preferred holiday for it to actually snow on. So if you wake up on April Fool's Day with a picture like this outside your window, it may not be a joke.

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