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Above-average warmth in store for central, eastern US into Christmas

By Jake Sojda, AccuWeather meteorologist
December 23, 2016, 10:24:24 AM EST

    After a cold blast earlier this week, above-average warmth will build across much of the nation by Christmas day.

    “After a frigid couple of weeks across the eastern half of the U.S., a shift in the pattern is anticipated this week and into the upcoming holiday weekend,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.

    During the middle days of this week, parts of the central and northern Plains will reach their highest temperatures since early December.

    For example, highs in Minneapolis and Fargo, North Dakota, both rose above the freezing mark on Tuesday for first time since Dec. 6.

    Static: Christmas week pattern

    For much of the East, the milder air made its first appearance on Wednesday.

    Compared to the arctic outbreak last week, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures were 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit higher from the northern Plains to the Northeast on Wednesday.

    Into Thursday, a weak low pressure system known as a clipper will sweep through the northern Great Lakes and southern Canada. This will bring another brief shot of cooler air to the Great Lakes and Northeast for Thursday into Friday morning; however, the truly arctic air will remain locked in northern Canada.

    “A quick-hitting system into Thursday will add a few more inches of snow from the northern Plains to northern New England,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido said.

    Milder air will be quick to return for the weekend.

    On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, temperatures will be above normal for much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Places like New York City and Philadelphia will challenge 50 degrees. In the South, temperatures will be mainly in the 60s and 70s on Christmas Day.

    Temperatures will soar 15-20 degrees above normal in places like St. Louis, Nashville, Cincinnati and Little Rock, Arkansas.

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    “The moderating temperatures in the central and eastern U.S. will continue to erode the existing snow cover,” Vido said.

    A developing storm system in the Plains will bring rain to some areas in the central Plains and upper Mississippi Valley which would further erode any snow pack.

    “A more potent system will organize Christmas Day in the center of the country. On the eastern side of this storm, in places like Des Moines and Chicago, rain is more likely,” Vido said.

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