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Turning Colder, Winter Storm for Christmas.

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New information that has been received so far today continues to suggest the potential for a significant winter weather event impacting the state on Christmas Day. However, there continues to be a considerable amount of inconsistency from run to run and model to model which keeps our confidence in any one particular scenario much lower than we would like. That will likely remain the case until the actual storm system moves inland and we get better data sampling which will not occur until later in the day Sunday or perhaps even Monday. Right now, the upper level storm system causing the concern is located in the general vicinity of the Aleutian Islands, and the satellite data that is used to initialize the guidance is just not as good as our land based observational network.

So, with that caveat in place, the trends continue to suggest the potential for at least some snow across the state beginning during the day on Christmas and ending that night. The guidance has generally favored a more southern track of the main storm center which would place the most likely area for heavier snowfall to be along and south of I-40 on Christmas Day. The relatively mild soil temperatures and the rapid movement of the system should combine to limit how much actually accumulates on the ground, but there could still be some negative travel implications. Keep in mind, this is subject to change as better data becomes available over the next couple of data cycles.

Between now and then, temperatures will be falling after a very mild day today. We will not be seeing those kind of temperatures again anytime soon as cooler air will be filtering in behind a weak cool front which will arrive Sunday morning. The southerly winds ahead of the front will keep us rather mild tonight with morning lows in the 30s to around 40 ahead of the boundary and in the 20s behind it. The air behind this cold front is not initially all that cold, so with mostly sunny skies and a NW wind, we should still make it into the 50s Sunday afternoon which is milder than normal.

Northerly winds on Monday and increasing cloud cover during the day will knock temperatures back into the low-mid 40s for daytime highs and then the storm system moves in for Christmas Day. Although the details on the location and amounts of snow remain to be resolved, there is no doubt that it will be a cold, blustery day. Gusty northerly winds, cloudy skies, and the wintry precipitation will keep daytime temperatures around the freezing mark and it will feel much colder than that.

Wednesday will be a very raw day with morning lows in the teens, daytime highs in the 20s, and brisk northerly winds. At least we should have a lot of sunshine.

Thursday will also be very cold followed by some moderation on Friday as another rapidly moving storm system moves across the state. This system could produce some wintry precipitation as well, but it does not currently look to be a major storm.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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