Christmas Weather Update

Published 4:00 PM EST Tuesday, December 22, 2020

If you’ve been hoping for a White Christmas, this will be good news. If you are traveling on Christmas, not so much. Here’s how our weather is shaping up in the Valley for Christmas 2020…

The warmest temperatures of the day will be in the morning – probably in the low-40s for most locations in our area. Expect rain.

Temperatures will fall quickly during the afternoon and evening by as much as 20°+.

NAM3k MODEL PROJECTION of surface temperatures Christmas Eve. A sharp cold front will bring a temperature drop of +/- 20° during the afternoon and evening.

Rain will change over to snow showers as the colder air takes hold. Approximate timing of the changeover to snow: 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Snowfall may be heavy at times in the evening and overnight. Snow will accumulate on the roads as surfaces cool below freezing. Surfaces that are wet will quickly ice up.

Cold and blustery. Temperatures in the morning won’t be higher than the mid-teens and they won’t warm much more than a few degrees higher in the afternoon to the upper-teens.

With cold arctic air in place and breezy conditions, wind chill values can be 5°/7° range.

EUORPEAN MODEL projection of area wind chill values early Christmas morning.

Any additional snow in our area would be sporadic lake effect snow bands that stretch far enough south to impact the area.

Snowfall will occur mainly in the afternoon of Christmas Eve into early Christmas Day. Everyone in the Valley is likely to have at least an inch or two of snow on the ground Christmas morning.

Determining how much snow we might be looking at is difficult. For one thing, the snow that develops Christmas Eve will not be the wet and heavy variety we’ve received so much of up to this point. This is going to be the light fluffy stuff that we usually see when temperatures are really cold. And, it will be windy, so snow is going to blow around and drift.

Any snow we see on Christmas Day will be from lake effect bands and it’s impossible to know where these will set up and which bands will be strong enough to reach this far south.

We can, however, responsibly look at some probabilities this far out. And, all indications are that we will see impactful snow amounts here in the Valley. The National Weather Service says that odds for around 4-inches of snow in our area is pretty decent – 60%. While 4-inches is in no way guaranteed, it does give us an idea of what we might be looking at.

NOTE that this graphic is for snow Christmas morning. It DOES NOT include any lake effect snow that may occur on Christmas Day.

After a very cold and blustery Christmas, our weather will begin to improve on Saturday. High pressure will build across the region which will bring a mostly sunny day to the Valley. While temperatures will remain colder than average, we will see temperatures warm out of the upper-teens to around 30° or so.

Temperatures locally will continue to moderate on Sunday as high pressure shifts off to the east setting up a southerly flow. Clouds will begin to build back in on Sunday as yet another storm system approaches from the Plains. Chances for snow showers will return to the Valley on Monday with this next system.

I know everyone wants to know how much snow we’re getting but a responsible snow amount forecast will have to wait until tomorrow. Count on a White Christmas this year, though. Tomorrow we can start to hone in on snow amounts, timing, and impacts.

Thanks for reading the Valley’s most in-depth weather forecast. Be safe (and kind) out there.



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