It is going to be a record-warm Christmas

Don Schwenneker Image
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's very rare for us to get a white Christmas around here. As a matter of fact, over 90 percent of the time, it's a green Christmas around the Triangle.

Here's a map from NOAA showing who usually has the best chance for a white Christmas.

BTW, the most snow we've ever had on Christmas happened just a few years ago. The record for snow on Christmas Day is .4" of snow, and it happened in 2010.

This year, we're not only going to NOT see a white Christmas, we could see a record breaking one. We will on Christmas Eve.

Looking back at 129 years of records for Raleigh, the warmest Christmas Eve ever was in 1931 when we hit a high of 75 degrees.

In 109 years of available records for Fayetteville, the record on Christmas Eve is 78 degrees also in 1931. Our forecast is 77 degrees in Raleigh and 79 degrees in Fayetteville, so we should break both.

Christmas Day the records are 75 degrees in 1955 in Raleigh; 79 degrees in 1932 in Fayetteville.

At the moment, the forecast ties the record in Raleigh and comes close in Fayetteville. One or two degrees difference though, and it's the warmest Christmas ever!

Looking ahead, one of the questions I'm getting asked the most right now is "will we ever see snow?"

I think we will, but the chances aren't anything like last year. El Nino is very strong this year. If you need an explanation on what El Nino is, you can click here.

Typically, in a strong El Nino year, we are blocked from seeing any arctic outbreaks. And snowfall totals can be all over the place.

Look at some of the snowfall totals from past strong El Nino years. Some are big, and one year we got zilch.

We're forecast to see average temperatures and above normal precipitation in the next three months, so with the cooler air of January and February, we could get some snow.

And all it takes is one snow event to throw the totals way above average. I think we'll also continue to see these abnormally warm pockets of air working through the region too.

So, basically, if this winter were a roller coaster ride, we'd be headed up the first hill ...

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