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As I do each year, I'll compare this Christmas to holidays past, both on a local and national basis, since I began blogging 12 years ago in 2005. Here's how our Dec. 25th forecast evolved in the week leading up to Christmas.
U.S. Christmas Eve / Christmas Weather - 2017 Edition:
It's hard to tell from the map above, but the big story this Christmas (without question) was record-breaking lake-effect snow that piled up over 5 feet in tiny areas in Pennsylvania and New York December 25-26 -- for which a detailed map is shown below, and I did a separate blog detailing that event.
More of the Northeast U.S. than usual got a White Christmas this year, including my home in State College (more on that below). Here's the week-long evolution of our forecast for that:
This was because a storm spread snow over the Ohio Valley and parts of Pennsylvania on Christmas Eve, and a larger storm pushed snow into New England on Christmas day.
The Pacific Northwest also saw ice and snow on Christmas eve, including Seattle.
In fact, it was snowing from coast to coast on Christmas Eve:
On Christmas morning, it was very cold in the northern half of the U.S., with temperatures as low as -28 F with wind chills to -48 F in North Dakota & Minnesota!
As Christmas Day moved on, the cold quickly spread to the Northeast, with high winds making the feeling worse.
It was snowing in many cities Christmas morning, including briefly in New York City between 5 AM & 7 AM.
Here are what the AccuWeather Map Wall & WeatherWatchers Webcam Walls looked like on Christmas morning:
Christmas 2017 Weather Internationally:
International stories making news on Christmas Day included deadly Typhoon Tembin in the Philippines and a heat wave in Australia:
International Christmas Day 2017 Stories
Tembin kills more than 200 in the Philippines; Vietnam faces flooding into Tuesday
Weekly wrap-up: Landslides kill dozens in Philippines amid tropical storms; Extreme heat bakes Sydney
First tropical cyclone of the season may threaten Western Australia in final days of 2017
Previous U.S. Christmas Weather:
A new article we published last year features details of the following Christmas Storms since 2000:
1. Texarkana gripped by widespread ice storm - 2000
2. Back-to-back holiday storms for the Northeast - 2002
3. South Texas faced a White Christmas - 2004
4. Snowstorm buried Colorado on Christmas Day - 2007
5. Snow snarls travel in East over Christmas/Boxing Day - 2010
Local: A White Christmas in Central Pennsylvania!
For the first time since 2002, we had a White Christmas (officially defined as more than an inch of snow falling on Christmas Day, but I say "if the ground's white") in State College, where I have lived since 1997. Unfortunately, I was out of town for it, in York, Pennsylvania, where we only got a trace of snow, but for the record this is what it looked like on Christmas morning at my house:
The full rundown of Christmas stats for State College 2005-2017 is shown below. Unlike the previous three years, which were above normal, 2017 was cold -- and ended up being the coldest during this period, at least for the official reporting station at Penn State. It was also the snowiest -- if you look midnight to midnight (the Penn State observations go from 7 AM to 7 PM). The half-inch of snow beats the 0.4" from 2013, which actually fell on Christmas Eve anyway. This year also featured the second-highest wind gust on Christmas Day.
And, for the record, here are my Instagram photos from Christmases past:
Notes From Previous Christmases:
In 2010, my Mom down in North Carolina got her second White Christmas in a row (something I've never seen here in Pennsylvania during my 15-year residence!) That storm moved on to the Northeast as the Boxing Day Blizzard, but somehow managed to mostly avoid me in State College. 2009 was fairly uneventful, and I wrote in my blog at Christmas 2008 about My Past White Christmases (1981, 1989, 1993 in NC & 2002 in PA):
"Looking back at my blog entries... in 2007, we had rain, and plenty of it -- with considerable local flooding on December 23rd. In 2006, it actually snowed on Christmas, when I was in Milesburg, PA at my parents-in-law's house, but didn't accumulate. We had just missed it - I took a photo where the ground was white 2 days before Christmas but a heat wave with rain afterwards melted it all before Christmas. And way back in 2005, my first year of blogging for AccuWeather.com, we had a little freezing rain Christmas morning."
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