Environmental, Local

Abnormal Midwestern, Eastern US Warmth to Hold Through Christmas

Unsettled end-of-year weather in midwest and east.

By Alex Sosnowski,
Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com


AccuWeather.com-(ENEWSPF)- AccuWeather reports the overall pattern will favor temperatures averaging above normal in much of the central and eastern United States through at least Christmas, but the warmth will falter at times in some locations.

According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, “There is a universal yearning for cold and snow around Christmastime, especially in the Midwest and Northeast.”

The yearning may be intensified this Christmas. Despite a cold and snowy fall and winter last year in much of the Midwest and Northeast, warmth surged in before the holiday and spoiled the notion of a white Christmas for millions of people.

Highs were in the 40s F in Chicago and Buffalo, New York, the 50s in St. Louis and Burlington, Vermont, and the 60s in Oklahoma City and New York City during Christmas Day 2014.

Christmas Day highs 2015
Christmas Day highs. (AccuWeather.com)

So far this season, mild air has overwhelmed the Central and Eastern states. Temperatures have averaged several degrees above normal since October.

This overall mild pattern is expected to hold through at least the end of December and into the first part of the new year.

However, the weather may have already offered a hint at the few areas where it may be cold enough for one or more episodes of snow moving forward during the holiday season.

There has been just enough chilly air around for snow at times in parts of the central and northern Plains to the Great Lakes and northern New England. This is likely to continue.

According to AccuWeather Chief Long Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, there will be several doses of chilly air that sweep across parts of the Central and Northeastern states from the middle of December to beyond Christmas.

Due to the marginal temperatures expected, timing of the storms will be very important for those hoping for a white Christmas.

“The problem will be for storms to catch up with the brief episodes of chilly air in absence of persistent and extensive cold conditions,” Pastelok said.

“A persistent storm track that has split chilly air to the northwest and mild air to the southeast should continue from the southern Rockies toward the Great Lakes through the end of December,” Pastelok said.

A secondary storm track along the coastal Northeast could come into play for parts of northern New England and upstate New York, provided the secondary storms are strong enough to draw in cold air.

Factoring in that actual temperatures will continue to trend downward, following typical seasonal trends, air cold enough for snow may extend a bit farther to the south and east compared to November and early December this year and last Christmas.

Cities such as Chicago; Minneapolis; Kansas City, Missouri; Albany, New York; and Caribou, Maine; may be cold enough for snow this Christmas, provided a storm is in the vicinity.

Even so, most areas from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley, much of the mid-Atlantic and southeastern New England on south are looking at air too warm too often to support snow through Christmas.

Cities such as St. Louis, Cincinnati and New York City will probably not be cold enough for snow through Christmas.

More persistent winter weather for the Midwest and Northeast is still many weeks away, Pastelok stated.

“We expect some colder air masses and perhaps opportunities for snow to pick up toward the middle of January,” Pastelok said. “February should be busy in terms of cold air, storms and the potential for snow.”