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Dreaming of a white Christmas? Storm could bring snow, cold for some folks

Christmas

Dreaming of a white Christmas? A storm that’s forecast to sweep across the eastern half of the nation this week will usher in bitterly cold air, bringing a chance for a snowy holiday for some folks.

As the storm system shifts east through the end of the week, just in time for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it will intensify with snow, rain or a mix of both for parts of the central and eastern U.S. leading up to the holiday, according to AccuWeather.

That could cause problems for travelers: “A large dip in the jet stream in the East this coming week will lead to mayhem and mischief just in time for the holiday,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

Travel could become slick for a time Wednesday into Thursday in parts of the Plains and upper Midwest because of a fresh coating of snow. On Christmas Eve in the East, rain and mild temperatures will be the main story, just before the arrival of icy cold air for Christmas Day.

“The same storm that will bring the snow-eating rain could end as snow late Christmas Eve into Christmas Day in some parts of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, leaving behind a fresh white blanket,” AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda said.

Elsewhere, the greatest chances for seeing snow on the ground Christmas morning are, as usual, across the far northern tier of the nation (including northern New England and the northern Great Lakes) and in the higher elevations of the Western U.S., according to AccuWeather.

“The higher spots are getting smacked (with snow) in the Pacific Northwest,” AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Pastelok said. “(In) Northern California, they’re getting hit hard and will continue to get hit hard, and they will have a white Christmas.”

And while Florida has zero chances of seeing snow on Christmas, the cold will make it all the way down to the Sunshine State by the end of the week. That has prompted the National Weather Service in Miami to issue an unofficial “falling iguana” alert, because the cold-stunned animals sometimes drop out of trees during a frigid spell.

What is a white Christmas, exactly? The Weather Service defines a white Christmas as having 1 inch of snow on the ground on the morning of Dec. 25.

It need not snow on Dec. 25 to fit the Weather Service’s definition of a white Christmas, but some flurries would certainly help put folks in the holiday spirit.

Looking for a surefire way to get a white Christmas? Head to Fairbanks, Alaska, which has seen snow on the ground every Christmas since weather record-keeping began, according to data from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

On Monday, Fairbanks reported a snow depth of 15 inches. Bundle up, however: High temperatures are forecast to remain well below freezing for at least the next week there.

Historically, much of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, most of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and a large portion of the Western mountain areas have a 90% or better chance of a white Christmas.

Also based on historical averages, some of the biggest cities with the best probability for a white Christmas, according to AccuWeather, include Minneapolis; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Buffalo, New York; and Burlington, Vermont.

Americans’ fascination with a white Christmas dates back at least to 1942, when Bing Crosby first crooned the wistful song in the film “Holiday Inn.” Written by Irving Berlin, the song’s lyrics bring out a romanticized image of Christmases past, “just like the ones I used to know.”

“White Christmas,” another movie featuring Crosby and the song, came out in 1954.

But despite Crosby’s wishes, only 25% to 30% of the 48 contiguous states are typically snow-covered by Christmas, according to AccuWeather. As of Monday, about 26% of the USA (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) had snow on the ground, NOAA said.

This article was originally published by Doyle Rice, usatoday.com. 

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