In honor of the upcoming holiday, I wanted to do a historical recap of all the white Christmas' that I know of in the PNW (western OR, WA and SW BC). I would love more concrete info from the 19th century years, it appears that there were some great ones back then.
First in the airport records era:
2012: Light amounts of wet snow in parts of western WA, particularly the Olympia area where about 1” fell
2008: Widespread 1-3" fell, heavy snowcover from Salem north. 16" on the ground at YVR, 10" at PDX, and 4" at SEA.
2007: General trace to 1" snowfall fell from Eugene to B.C. 0.9" fell at SEA and 0.4" at YVR.
1998: Slushy leftover snowcover in some areas, particularly in SW BC. 1" depth at MFR and 8" at YVR.
1996: Very light snow fell in northern areas with moderate snowcover for NW WA and SW BC. 6" depth at YVR.
1990: Very widespread, entire region from southern OR to southern BC generally had 1-3" of snowcover. Light snow and freezing rain fell, including 2.3" at BLI.
1988: Light snowfall and snowcover in far southern OR with 0.4" at MFR. In CA, much of the Sacramento Valley scored a white Christmas, with 4" on the ground at Redding.
1983: Light dusting of snow in some areas with solid snowcover in most of western OR and dustings elsewhere, including 2" at SLE and 3" at EUG.
1971: Major Christmas Day snowstorm north of Seattle, with 8.4" at BLI and 6.9" at YVR.
1965: Regionwide snow showers with trace to 2" amounts common. 1.0" at SEA, 0.9" at BLI, and 0.7" at MFR. Seattle still had 4" of leftover snow from a previous storm.
1964: Historic flood event in western OR, with snow and arctic air north of Seattle. 1.2" fell at BLI with a 6" snow depth. YVR still had 12" of snow on the ground with 0.3" falling.
1954: Regionwide morning snow showers, with trace to 2" amounts common. Totals include 1.1" at OLM, 0.5" at SLE, and 0.4" at MFR.
1951: Light leftover snow for Bellingham with heavier snowcover amounts in SW BC.
1948: Widespread light snowcover from Seattle north and Eugene south, with amounts ranging from a trace to 3". In CA, the Sacramento Valley scored Christmas Day snow, with 1" falling at Redding.
Pre airport era, a bit harder to find info but white Christmases were also a bit more common overall:
1944: Very light dusting of snow around western WA, with 0.2" falling in Seattle and up to 1” elsewhere.
1937: Widespread wet snow from Salem north, with 1.3" at Portland, 2-4" around Bellingham, and 8" at Sedro Woolley. Northern WA had heavy snowcover, with 7" at Bellingham.
1934: Christmas Day snowstorm for far northern WA and SW BC for the 2nd straight year. 4" fell at Clearbrook and Blaine, 2.5" at Bellingham.
1933: Christmas Day snowfall north of Seattle, with widespread 1-3".
1927: Lingering snowcover in NW WA and SW BC. Dusting on the ground in Bellingham with 7" at Clearbrook.
1926: Snow showers north of Everett with lingering snowcover in those areas, including 4” in Clearbrook.
1924: Snowcover from roughly Seattle south, heaviest in western OR. 8” depth in Eugene, 4” in Salem, 2” in Portland, and 1” in Seattle.
1921: Widespread snowcover over western OR and western WA, with trace amounts in Seattle and Portland and 1-2” amounts in many other areas south of Mt. Vernon.
1916: Light snowfall and spotty snowcover from Seattle north and Eugene south. 0.1” fell in Seattle with light amounts under 1” on the ground in NW WA and SW OR.
1915: Light snow around the Puget Sound, with 0.4” falling in Seattle.
1911: Light snow from about Seattle northward, with 1” falling in Clearbrook and Blaine. 3” on the ground in Sedro Woolley.
1909: Light snow showers across western OR and western WA. 1.8” fell in Seattle, 2” in Olympia, and 0.2” in Portland.
1904: Light snow fell in Portland/Seattle areas, only sticking in NW WA with 1” in Blaine and 3” in Port Townsend. Light leftover dusting on ground elsewhere.
Pre NWS stations: Far more significant events in the 1800s but alas, far less station info. Have to rely on several stations to get a good idea.
1892: Major snowstorm on the 21st and 22nd with 27” falling in Portland. Large leftover snowcover over most of NW OR and SW WA, on the order of 15”.
1891: 0.7” of snow fell in Portland
1889: Light dusting around western WA and NW OR following several days of snow
1884: Epic snowstorms immediately before Christmas, Portland area already had 10-15” on the ground with 0.9” falling in Portland.
1879: Major snow event on the 21st with a significant arctic airmass following. 9” in Portland.
1872?: Major December snow event. Not sure on exact details.
1871: Major late December snows. Not sure on exact numbers.
1870?: Major December cold wave, again not sure on exact details.
1861: Major pre Christmas snowstorms from Portland northward, several inches on the ground at Fort Vancouver and 6-7” at Fort Steilacoom.
1859: Overrunning snow/ice event immediately before Christmas at Fort Vancouver, leftover snow
1855?: Major late December cold wave, lots of snow
1852: Major snowstorms and arctic airmass immediately leading into our region’s coldest Christmas on record, upwards of 10” on the ground for Fort Vancouver and Fort Steilacoom
1851: Wet snow event on December 24-25 at Fort Vancouver