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With fewer than two weeks to go until Dec. 25, the weather pattern is dashing the hopes of many for a white Christmas this year.
Due to the strong El Niño unfolding, many places that typically have a good chance of seeing snow on Christmas Day will miss out this holiday.
This includes the East Coast I-95 cities, where meteorologists say chances are slim.
“There’s just not going to be enough cold air to support accumulating snow,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
The recent warmth across the Eastern states has shattered temperatures records dating back to the 1800s.
Through the middle of December, Washington, D.C., has averaged more than 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. New York City has averaged more than 11 degrees above normal.
“The combination of a mild weather pattern and warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures strongly argues against accumulating snow in areas from Washington, D.C., to Boston,” Anderson said.
Even if small amounts do fall leading up to the holiday, it won’t stick around. The warm ground would cause melting very quickly.
The strong El Niño has helped to strengthen a west to east jet stream which delivers mild Pacific air across the United States.
The position of the jet stream prevents arctic air from coming southward, keeping it instead locked up in Alaska and Siberia. Experts believe the current El Niño will rank within the top three strongest on record.
Despite this, the odds are in favor of some seeing a snow-covered Christmas Day.
The Great Lakes region may receive lake-effect snowfall over the next week; however, any accumulation is likely to melt as milder weather arrives before Christmas Day.
The greatest area for some snow to stick around for Christmas Day will be across northern Maine.
“In Chicago, snow is possible, but any totals will still be less than normal,” Anderson said. “Minneapolis, on the other hand, is likely to have a white Christmas.”
Forecasters predict at least two to three storms will spread snow across the Upper Midwest leading up to Dec. 25.
From Kansas to the Texas Panhandle, storms leading up to the holiday could establish at least a covering of snow.
“It’s rare, but possible,” Anderson said. “The pattern supports the possibility.”
The best chances this year overall will stretch across the Dakotas and much of Minnesota. Additionally, the interior West and the Rockies will benefit from a better-than-usual chance.
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