White Christmas? Long-range forecasts and history have hints on what to expect

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(WVNS) — With the advent calendars nearing the halfway mark to Christmas, are you wondering if the snow will greet you and your family for the holiday this year? Well, we’re still a bit too far away to give a definitive answer to the question but Mother Nature is providing some clues that could help us determine if we’ll see a White Christmas this year.

Most of 2021 has been warmer than average each month so far and December is no different so far. In fact, we’ve seen the 60s several days of December so far. Surprising being our average December temperature is in the mid-40s across the region. As of December the 11th, we’re running 9.2 degrees warmer than average for December (but we still have a few weeks left in the month).

This warmer than average trend for 2021 spells trouble for those hoping for a White Christmas. In years like 2021 where most of the year had been warmer than average, the snow did not greet us on December 25th. 2014 in Beckley comes to mind as it too saw warmer than average months. Christmas Day 2014 was a very warm 60 degrees with scattered showers. No White Christmas that year.

Despite climate prediction maps showing the warmer than average trend continuing late into December, there are indications of a cool down. Over the next 6-10 days and even 8-14 days out (now until December 25th), climate prediction shows the two Virginia’s having a 50 to 90% chance of being well above average. Meaning above 45 degrees each day from now until Christmas. Much too warm for snow.

But, don’t lose hope just yet. This is simply guidance showing we’ll be in a warmer pattern which we see on our 10-day forecast. Beginning Monday, December 13th, we’re in the 50s and look to remain so for a week. What is also on that same 10-day forecast is the chance of snow. You guessed it, Christmas week.

Even with warmer air filtering in and out of our region, once the sun goes down, so do our temperatures. While it doesn’t look likely we’ll see the one inch of snow required for a traditional White Christmas, or even a snowy day at all, flakes are sure to fly the week of Christmas this year.

Long-range forecasts do show at least 2 storms with the potential right track to bring snow into our region. For our region, the perfect snowmaker would develop in or near the Gulf of Mexico and slide northeast just towards our south. This would put us on the colder side giving us snow.

However, if a system like that does develop and slides too far to the north of our region, we are on the warmer side of the system and all we’ll see is rain.

So while long-range forecasts are showing 2 chances the week of Christmas to see snow, it will highly depend on where those systems go, how warm our ground gets in these warmer than average days ahead, and how much moisture the system brings up with it. If they all favor snow, timing then becomes key.

Right now, Christmas Day is looking to remain dry and slightly above average in the mid to upper 40s. As does the day after Christmas. But, like everything about Mother Nature, she could simply change her mind at any time. That’s why your StormTracker 59 Team will be ever watching the skies as the Christmas holiday approaches! Be sure to download our StormTracker 59 app to stay in the know and follow us on Facebook!

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