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Where in the US is a white Christmas most likely this year?

By Jordan Root, AccuWeather meteorologist
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 21, 2017, 11:07:18 AM EST

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Several storm systems will impact the central and eastern United States during the days leading up to Christmas and will determine who will and will not experience a white Christmas.

In addition to bringing the likelihood of a white Christmas to some areas, travel may be hindered by the storms.

In the U.S., a white Chirstmas is defined as having an inch or more of snow on the ground on the morning of Dec. 25.

“A white Christmas is most likely across much of the northern half of the nation, with the exception of the immediate Pacific coast and the lower part of the mid-Atlantic coast,” AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

Static White Christmas Map 10 am

A storm system will bring a swath of snow from the central Rockies and Plains to the Midwest and northern Great Lakes into Friday.

This same storm will add to the existing snowcover over the northern tier of the Northeast by way of more snow and some ice on Friday and Saturday.

Much colder air will plunge into the central U.S. behind this system at the end of the week and into the weekend.

The fresh cold air will arrive ahead of another storm set to spread more snow over the Rockies and even farther south over the Plains and Midwest prior to Christmas Day.

“Areas across the northern Plains and Colorado Front Range where the ground is bare now, this storm system and colder pattern will reverse that and bring a snowier scene just in time for Christmas,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.

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Not enough cold air and moisture will be around at the same time to bring snow or leave snow on the ground over much of the southern half of the nation.

Exceptions will be over the Sierra Nevada, the San Juan mountains and southern Appalachians. In these areas recent storm or a new storm prior to Christmas morning will do the trick in terms of providing some snowcover.

For part of the coastal mid-Atlantic and New England, just enough cold air may arrive with a storm along the coast at the last minute to bring some snow or a wintry mix from late Sunday night to Christmas morning.

At least some snowflakes will be seen from New York City to Boston and there is a slight chance of snowflakes as far to the southwest at Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., along the Interstate-95 corridor into Christmas day.

Historically, there are several areas in the U.S. that often experience a white Christmas. The northern tier of the country where it is often colder usually has an inch of snow on the ground on Dec. 25.

Historical white Christmas

Areas in and around the Rockies in the western U.S. often have plenty of snow built up by Christmas.

Areas around the Great Lakes also have a moderate to high chance of waking up to snow on Christmas, due to persistence of cold air triggering lake-effect snow.

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