Early indications say white Christmas unlikely this year, but rain a possibility

Credit: Marshal Gorby

Credit: Marshal Gorby

Long-term forecasts from the National Weather Service in Wilmington are predicting it likely will not be a white Christmas, although there may be some rain.

For most of the week leading up to the holiday weekend, the NWS predicted weather will be uneventful, with highs in the upper 30s to mid-40s and lows around freezing or below.

However, the NWS said long-term predictions are hinting at a weather system arriving late in the week, or possibly during the first part of the weekend. Although the NWS said it can’t be sure how strong the system will be or exactly when it will arrive, it feels confident in predicting a chance of rain.

It predicted a high in the mid-40s for Christmas Eve.

If Christmas has no snow this year, that would be in line with a general trend of no-snow Christmases, according to the Associated Press.

Using data from the University of Arizona, the AP reported that, since the 1980s less of the U.S. now has snow for Christmas.

In particular, the AP said the area between the Mason-Dixon line and the a line running just north of Detroit, Chicago and Nebraska saw the biggest change, falling from Christmas snow cover nearly 55% of the time in the 1980s to a little over 41% of the time now. In the same area since the 80s, the average snow depth fell from 3.5 inches to 2.4 inches, the AP reported.

Scientists cautioned that the amount that white Christmases have declined is small and we should avoid drawing conclusions.

University of Arizona atmospheric scientists Xubin Zeng, speaking to the AP, said the change is small enough that it’s difficult to tell whether the trend is meaningful or what the cause is, but did say that the falling number of white Christmases is consistent with global warming.

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