Weather Watch: White Christmas?

As I type this blog post, there is not a bit of snow to be seen in East Middlebury.

It is 35 degrees out, and drizzling.  The temperature is slowly rising, and heavier rain is in the forecast for today.  Freezing rain and sleet are also likely east of the Green Mountains, but no snow is forecast with this storm.  Snow cover in Vermont is very low right now, with only the Northeast Kingdom supporting any snow cover. Christmas is only four days away, so a white Christmas seems unlikely - but is there a chance we will get some last-minute snow?

According to this map, most of the Champlain Valley sees snow cover on Christmas about 60 to 70 percent of the time.  Last year was quite snowy by this date, but this year periodic thaws and warmer than average temperatures have led to very different conditions.  We’ve seen snow, and downright cold temperatures last weekend, but the storms keep rolling up from the south, bringing rain, and melting away what snow we do get.  Tomorrow will also be warm as today’s storm moves away, so for this Christmas to be white, we would need snow on the 23rd or the 24th.  This seems unlikely based on the past few weeks, but it may be exactly what we get.

According to the National Weather Service, a colder storm will move into the area this Friday, bringing a solid chance of snow.  Show showers may linger into Saturday.  Temperatures are forecast to be in the 20s and low 30s, so rain is unlikely if this forecast holds.  It looks like this storm could drop a couple of inches, creating a festive scene but causing minimal travel problems.  Of course, the forecast could change, and if the storm is warmer or moves further south we would not see snow, but a quick glance at the latest computer models still show snow as a possibility.

Here’s to the hope for safe travels over the holiday weekend, regardless of the weather.  After this week, we head into the coldest part of winter.   I’m hoping the next months bring lots of snow, but for those who dislike winter, remember that after today we experience more sunlight every day for the next six months!

Charlie Hohn is a recent graduate of the UVM Field Naturalist graduate program. He has been closely watching the weather ever since he was a child in southern California. Charlie will be posting occasional blog posts here about Addison County weather. He also maintains a blog about water at slowwatermovement.blogspot.com.

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