Is There Any Chance for a White Christmas in Croatia This Year?

Katarina Anđelković

christmas in croatia
Romulic and Stojcic

December 20, 2023 – The holidays are approaching, and it would be nice to know if there is any chance for a white Christmas in Croatia this year.

Index checked with the on-duty forecasters of the State Hydrometeorological Institute (DHMZ). They said that although these days in the lowlands in the interior, especially in the morning and evening, the weather and temperature are in accordance with the time of year, slightly warmer weather than usual is expected around Christmas.

Towards the weekend, changeable clouds are expected, with occasional precipitation, mainly on land, especially in the east, primarily on Friday and Saturday. There is a high probability of rain, and on Saturday night the possibility of sleet, maybe even snow, especially in the higher areas, cannot be ruled out.

On Christmas Eve, on Sunday, they predict plenty of sunshine on the Adriatic, while it will be cloudier and warmer inland, but mostly without precipitation. On Christmas, we are most likely to expect partly sunny and above-average warm weather with temperatures mostly between 9 and 15 degrees. With more clouds, some rain may fall mainly on and along the Adriatic. Similar weather conditions are expected on the feast of St. Stephen .

White Christmas is rare in the lowlands of Croatia

They warned that these are the weather forecasts for a week in advance, and that for more detailed information about the weather, it is necessary to follow the weather forecast and warnings of dangerous weather phenomena from day to day. “It should be kept in mind that the shorter the forecast period, the more reliable the forecast,” they pointed out.

DHMZ noted that a white Christmas in the lowlands of Croatia is actually a relatively rare phenomenon. They remind that two years ago on their website they published an analysis of white Christmas mornings in the last 60 years (1961 – 2020) in Croatia at 11 main continental stations: Bjelovar, Gospić, Karlovac, Ogulin, Osijek, Parg, Sisak, Varaždin, Zagreb Grič, Zagreb Maksimir and Zavižan.

White Christmas years are marked in white

The highest number of white Christmases happened at the highest mountain station – Zavižan (56), followed by Parg (35), Gospić (29) and Ogulin (24). All other stations had more than 10 but less than 20 white Christmas acres in 60 years. The last white Christmas morning dawned in Zavižan in 2019, in Gospić and Parg in 2017, and in Ogulin in 2011.

White Christmases on Zavižan

At the other stations, snow was last noted on Christmas morning in 2007. The forecasters also referred to the unusual phenomenon that these days the minimum temperatures in the mountains are about 10 degrees higher than those in the lowlands. So this morning in Zagreb, -2 degrees were measured, while on Sljeme it was +11.4.

They explained that the temperature inversion represents a phenomenon in which the air temperature increases with the increase in altitude. The mentioned phenomenon occurs when cold air is retained in a thin layer near the ground, while significantly warmer air is above it.

Stable and calm anticyclonic weather favors this phenomenon. It can occur as a result of night cooling, penetration of cold air on the ground or at a certain height, and air descent.


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