25 years since last white Christmas in Tucson - Tucson News Now

25 years since last white Christmas in Tucson

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Although we have seen cold temperatures and rain on Christmas, you have to go back a few decades to find snow in Tucson on Christmas day. Bing Crosby might have been dreaming of a white Christmas when he sang the song in 1949, but he would had to wait a while before he actually saw it in Tucson. The National Weather Service in Tucson has this account of the last white Christmas here in Tucson:

It has been 25 years since the Tucson area has seen a White Christmas. Back in 1987, a weather system that developed in the Gulf of Alaska on December 21st, moved into the Pacific northwest on the 22nd. On the 23rd, this storm started to gain strength over Nevada and Utah as colder air from Canadian was driven south over the western states as strong high pressure built over western Canada. Further strengthening of this storm occurred on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as this storm moved through Arizona. Temperatures on the 24th remained steady in the lower to mid 40s until just before lunch. A cold rain started to fall just before noon, with the temperature falling into the upper 30s. The remainder of the day saw a mixture of rain and snow showers or just snow showers as the thermometer fell to the freezing mark. At the end of the day, the Tucson International airport measured one inch of snow while the University of Arizona recorded 2".

With the thermometer hovering around the freezing mark, snow showers continued during the morning hours of Christmas Day. The high temperature on Christmas Day was 43 degrees with the airport measuring an additional 2.6" of snow while the University of Arizona measured 1.7". The two day snow total was 3.6" at the airport and 3.7" at UofA.

Although the airport recorded a trace of snow on Christmas Day in 1974, the last previously measured snow at the official recording location in Tucson on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day occurred in 1941 (1.2" on the 24th).

Snowfall on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in Tucson.

  • 1911 - Christmas Day (0.5")
  • 1916 - Christmas Day (4.0")
  • 1941 - Christmas Eve (1.2")
  • 1974 - Christmas Day (T)
  • 1987 - Christmas Eve (1.0")
  • 1987 - Christmas Day (2.6")

Other two day Christmas snow amounts across southeast Arizona in 1987 were:

  • Kitt Peak - 5.5"
  • Douglas - 1.8"
  • Willcox - 3"
  • Bowie - 11"
  • Safford - 1.5"
  • Ft. Thomas - 4"
  • Anvil Ranch - 1"
  • Arivaca - 6"
  • Sasabe - 2"
  • Oracle - 7"
  • San Manuel - 3"
  • Hanagan Meadow - 24"
  • Nogales - 7"
  • Bisbee - 3.8"
  • Cascabel - 6.3"
  • Hereford - 8.5"
  • McNeal - 3.5'
  • San Simon - 3.5"


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