BLOG: Let’s Talk About Pre-Christmas Snow Chances

As is the case every year, we have been asked a lot about the chances for a White Christmas over the last couple of weeks. Well, finally we are “in range” of the holiday and can take some educated stabs at the weather around Christmas (and of course the days leading up to it).

First of all, a little history….this graphic shows the percentage of Christmas Days in Youngstown that featured 1″ or more of snow on the ground (top) and the percentage that featured a snowfall of 1″ or more on December 25 (bottom): 10624614_399296300224019_2443415487240887615_n

What about this year? I have been saying for a few days that we have TWO chances to get some snow before or on Christmas Day. Let’s tackle the first chance, which is during the upcoming weekend.

The models have been doing their usual waffling about the strength and track of an area of low pressure that will cross the eastern US Friday through the weekend. The most recent model suite has brought a more consistent message, which is a good thing.   Generally, low pressure should track from the Gulf Coast region up the Appalachians, with a coastal low trying to take over by Sunday: CaptureOften this kind of track can bring moderate snows to the Valley before the coastal low “takes over”. But this is not looking like a very strong system. Looking at the mid-levels of the atmosphere, the 2 pieces of energy do merge by Saturday….but this still does not result in a very deep system. fri500satnight500

With a weaker system, snowfall amounts are going to be pretty modest on the northwest side of the storm. The highest amounts should be in the central Appalachians: gfssnow

How much for the Youngstown area? We are not confident enough yet to have accumulations in our TV forecasts, but for you loyal blog readers I will say that I am leaning toward this being a 1-2″ or 1-3″ type of event. Some reasons why I am thinking that’s the general range:

Here’s the European Ensemble model’s odds of more than 1″: 1inchPretty decent odds of 1″ or more.

Odds of 3″ or more: 3inchA 20-30% chance across the region based on this set of models.

So, I suspect this is not a “lot” of snow….and with marginal temperatures…anything that falls during the day would likely not cause many issues on the roads.

Since we are talking about the chances of a White Christmas, it’s important to note that even if we do pick up a couple of inches of snow over the weekend….most of it would likely melt before Christmas Eve.

BUT! Don’t despair…..I do think some snow will fly around Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. Check out the Canadian model for December 24: candec24In the wake of a cold front, the gray areas around Youngstown are probably some snow showers. Models are showing a big, deep trough settling over the East for Christmas: xmas500That’s a good setup for snow showers! It’s too early for specifics about the possibility of any accumulating snow at Christmas but I do think that we have a pretty decent chance of at least SEEING snow in the air at Christmas.

Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading!