Pre-Christmas Winter Storm Potential:
Before I get fully into this discussion, please understand that this is NOT the potential winter storm that I have been predicting for a while now on Christmas or around then. This is ANOTHER winter storm potential that could take place right before Christmas, if and only if, everything comes together just right. Someone will likely get a winter-type storm, but it’s a matter of where. Let me explain.
There is a piece of energy that is currently moving over California, and it is going to come east tonight and tomorrow. This is going to cause a surface low to develop and then move over the Southern Plains tomorrow and eventually push northeast over the Great Lakes early in the week. This will bring rain to the Southern Plains (maybe even storms) and eventually rainy conditions further north and east. Now let me explain why all of this matters for the pre-Christmas winter storm potential for next weekend.
This low pressure system that develops and moves over the Southern Plains is going to eventually make its way to the Northeast and then strengthen over northeast Canada. Now around mid-week, there is going to be another system move into California and track across the Southern U.S. Because the overall pattern is not necessarily favorable for winter storms developing and tracking across the Gulf Coast states just yet, we’re going to need that surface low pressure system to strength over northeast Canada which would allow for a strong high pressure to develop and strengthen over the Northern Plains and Great Lakes and further southward. If this occurs, then the system pushing into California would be forced further south once it moves eastward, and because of this, a surface low could develop across the Gulf Coast states next weekend around the 21st. Because of the placement of the low and high pressure systems further north allowing cold air to funnel southward, this could get VERY interesting for the Gulf Coast states and up the East Coast. Remember, storm systems take the path of least resistance.
This is one of those situations where everything would just have to play out perfectly. If it doesn’t, then that storm system is going to move further north and would bring wintry weather further north. Because we don’t have the cold pattern set up over the region just yet, the southern regions would have to depend on sufficiently cold air to funnel down south due to the high pressure system to the north.
I hope that I didn’t get too complicated, but what I’m saying is that I’m not ruling out a potential winter storm for parts of the Gulf Coast states this weekend and then eventually areas northward up the East Coast. Parts of Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and likely northward would for sure get snow with a more southern track storm. The track of this system could also favor snow and/or ice even further south across parts of the Gulf Coast states, possibly including parts of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and maybe other states. Again, details are super iffy and subject-to-change. In this setup, everything has to come together just right! I can’t stress that enough so I hope you sense my uncertainty and lower than normal confidence.
Christmas Eve/Day Winter Storm Potential:
This may sound weird to you, but I am more confident about a winter storm developing on or around Christmas Eve or Christmas Day than I am regarding the potential storm that I just discussed above. The reason for this is that our pattern is going to likely flip right around Christmas, and the overall pattern is going to support cold across the central and eastern United States. The necessary blocking is going to start to set up over the regions that I mentioned in the beginning of this article, and that in return is going to favor storminess across the southern states and up the East Coast. Any energy that develops and moves into California will then be in a favorable environment further east to develop and strength. Under such an active pattern, you can have northern pieces of energy phase with southern pieces of energy. In simple terms, when you have two smaller systems combine into one big system, you get a stronger system.
Once again, another storm system is supposed to move into California before Christmas and track eastward. Again, the overall pattern will support this system staying south, and even if it were not to phase exactly right with a northern branch system, areas across the Southern U.S. has the potential to get snow and/or ice around Christmas.
From what I can tell, I see this potentially being a big winter storm for the Gulf Coast states and eventually up the East Coast on Christmas Eve/Day or right around then. Even the Southern Plains need to keep an eye on this system before it moves east, but my primary focus is on the Gulf Coast states and East Coast. The track of this system and the amount of cold air available (which could be plenty sufficient) would support wintry weather pretty far south. No, if you’re in Miami, FL, I’m not saying you’re getting snow, but what I am saying is that some regions that hardly ever have a White Christmas could get one this year.
Please understand that just because you’re in the South doesn’t mean you’re going to get snow or ice on Christmas. The goal of this article is to make you aware that the overall pattern favors a White Christmas for many. Some of the methods that I use to come up with my forecasts (that don’t rely on model guidance) also are strongly hinting at a winter storm around Christmas. Right now, everything seems like it could come together.
The details will become more fine-tuned as we get closer to each potential system. My goal is to always make you aware that there are certain limitations in weather forecasting, but I’m not going to sit here and keep all of this to myself just because we’re still a decent ways out. I hope this article gave you a good understanding of what is going on, and why I am making these predictions. If there is enough interest, I may come out with one of those “what are your chances of seeing a White Christmas” maps sometime this week. Let me know if that’s something that would interest you.
I’ll continue to keep you updated on the latest through this site. I will be putting out daily updates on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to like and follow both of those pages. It’s important that you follow my forecasts closely over the next couple of weeks because changes will have to be made due to the volatility of the current pattern.