Baby, it’s cold outside now — but is Calgary in for a White Christmas?

Calgarians dreaming of a white Christmas will have to wait another week or so before the official forecast is available from Environment Canada, but for those who can’t wait, history says the chances are a little better than 50-50.

About 55 per cent to be exact.

Granted, whether or not there will be at least two centimetres of snow on the ground — Environment Canada’s minimum standard for calling it a white Christmas — isn’t just a matter of chance, but in recent years, the frequency of a white Christmas in Calgary has been going down.

Forecasting seven days in advance means an official prediction won’t be available until Dec. 19, but according to numbers compiled this week by Environment Canada, the city was blanketed with snow on Christmas day 70 per cent of the time between 1964 and 1984, which fell to 55 per cent between 1994 and 2015, a drop of 15 per cent.

A chart showing the frequency of white Christmases in Calgary since 1955. (CBC Graphics)

And while there was snow on the ground Friday, the forecast calls for a warming trend over the next seven days, with a high of 2 C on Monday, 3 C on Tuesday and 6 C on Thursday and Friday.

Should the city have snow on Christmas day, it would mark the fourth year running, as we had nine centimetres in 2015, 16 centimetres in 2016 and 12 centimetres in 2017.

The snowiest Christmas since 1955 — the earliest year records are available — was in 1996, when there was 19 centimetres on the ground. And the heaviest snowfall on Christmas was in 1971, when 7.1 centimetres fell throughout the day.

There have also been four “perfect Christmases” between 1955 and 2007, which means there was at least two centimetres on the ground and a measurable snowfall on Christmas day.



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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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