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White Christmas forecast: Majority of eastern US to be devoid of snow

By by Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
December 22, 2015, 3:56:35 AM EST

With less than a week to go until Dec. 25, the persistent warm weather pattern in the eastern U.S. threatens to leave more than half of the country devoid of snow this Christmas.

Due to the strong El Niño unfolding, many places that historically have a high probability to receive snow will miss out this year.

This includes the East Coast I-95 cities, where meteorologists say chances are zero.


“Even with the turn to colder weather this weekend along the East Coast, there will not be any snow,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

“This week will turn warmer again with rounds of rainfall. The lowest temperatures along the East coast will only be in the 40s F.”

Thursday is shaping up to be the warmest Christmas Eve on record for most of the Eastern Seaboard.

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Through Dec. 19, the temperature in Washington, D.C., has averaged more than 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. In New York City, it has averaged more than 11 degrees above normal.

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.

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Despite this, a quick shot of cold air this weekend brought some lake-effect snowfall to the Great Lakes region. However, most of the snowfall is likely to melt as milder weather arrives before Christmas Day.

“A significant warmup across these regions after the weekend and the potential for two rainstorms will erase most of the snow that accumulates,” Anderson said.


The exception to this may be a small area in the Tug Hill region of New York state, east of Lake Ontario, which received between 2-3 feet of snow this weekend.

“There should still be some left on the ground by Christmas,” Anderson said.

The best chances overall this year will stretch across the Dakotas and Minnesota. Additionally, the interior West and the Rockies will benefit from a better-than-usual chance.

A white Christmas is defined as an inch of snow or more on the ground on Dec. 25.

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