Increasing odds for a White Christmas in the Valley

First, technical issues over the last couple of days kept me from being able to publish updates. The issue appears to be resolved today and I’ll get with tech support later this afternoon to get the lowdown. For now, I’ll get everyone caught up with the weather.

While today will bring unseasonably mild temperatures to the Valley, scattered rain showers look promising this afternoon. Other than a little rain now and then, folks headed out to finish up holiday shopping and errands will have no weather issues. Heck, you won’t even need a coat!

You will need the rain gear, though. Rain will be more widespread tonight as low pressure tracks into the Upper Ohio Valley. I expect fairly steady rain developing tonight and continuing into Saturday. As the low drags a cold front across east-central Ohio and colder air begins to move in, rain showers will mix with snow and eventually change over to snow showers.

Tomorrow’s snow will be mainly that wet gloppy stuff. The main roads will do fine, but as usual, you’ll have to watch out for slick spots out on the secondary and back roads. We could see some light accumulation on non paved surfaces, but this shouldn’t be much of a travel impact. Most roads will stay wet.

Snow showers will taper off to flurries and eventually end Saturday night.

After most neighborhoods getting to the mid 5s today, temperatures will be closer to normal on Saturday with highs in the low 40s most places.

CHRISTMAS EVE – CHRISTMAS DAY
Weak high pressure will bring a lull in precipitation through Sunday morning but snow prospects will return by afternoon as the next system approaches. Most models now are in good agreement with snow showers being likely Christmas Eve. They disagree on how much.

Light snow showers will continue Sunday night into early Christmas morning. The remainder of Christmas Day should be dry with maybe some occasional peaks of sun in the afternoon. It will be a chilly day, though, with afternoon temperatures only reaching the upper 20s.

WHITE CHRISTMAS PROSPECTS
While it is likely we will have at least SOME snow Christmas Eve, the question of how much is a little iffy yet. Technically, we need at least an inch on the ground Christmas Day for it to be a ‘White’ Christmas but I think most folks would be just as pleased with less.

It’s just a little too soon yet for exact numbers, but I think that the odds for an inch of snow on the ground Christmas morning are certainly in our favor. Let me explain…

First of all, all of our major weather models indicate snow Christmas Eve. The GFS model has even come on board with snow instead of rain as it insisted on earlier this week. As a matter of fact, the GFS has gone all in and now projects the MOST snowfall of all the models.

GFS MODEL SNOW ACCUMULATION through Christmas afternoon.

I think that’s a bit overdone, but we do have to notice that it at least paints snow now instead of rain.

What really boosts my confidence in a White Christmas is the 72-hour WPC odds for snow. This will vary over the coming days, but today the WPC is bullish on an inch of snow for the Valley Christmas morning:

So, what we’re confident on is the prospects for accumulating snowfall Christmas Eve ending early Christmas morning. What we’re not confident on quite yet is the amount of snow we can expect here in the Valley.

I do think I’ll have some numbers to work with by tonight and I’ll do a special Saturday morning update with those.

MUCH COLDER AFTER CHRISTMAS
The next reinforcing cold front drops across Ohio Christmas night. This might spark a few more low impact snow showers into Tuesday but these should quickly exit by late in the afternoon. The big difference will be in temperatures – it will REALLY start to feel like winter here.

And, ensemble models show that THIS cold will have some staying power and continue well into the new year.

Wednesday looks to be the coldest day next week. We may not even to get 20 degrees for the high. With nighttime lows in the single digits a few nights, add wind chills on top of that and we’re talking near zero degrees.

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