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Looking Long-Range: interesting times in the weather ahead for Christmas!

The past eight days averaged about 5.6ºF below average for December: cold but not brutally cold. The next seven look to be slightly above average (a degree or two on the whole), so temperatures are rising without making the weather all that ‘warm’ for this time of year.

Expect a rebound to highs in the 55ºF to 60ºF range for most of next week; there’s an outside chance we may push 70ºF late in the week if we can get some sunshine and a south breeze.

Hold on to your hat, though. The weather pattern developing from next weekend through Christmas Day looks very interesting. We are not ‘forecasting’ snow or ice yet, but we’re on a razor’s edge between an abnormally warm, rainy Christmas and one that could be cold and potentially wintry.

How in the world can it be so close between two different outcomes you ask? Simple.

EPS control – 850mb temps on Christmas Day (note the sharp dividing line)

It’s all in the placement of that ‘blob’ of cold air showing up in our model guidance for Christmas. If it’s a little farther east, we could see some interesting things!

What kind of interesting things?

I brought this up on Tuesday night, but the ‘look’ is still there.

The pattern developing looks similar to one that set up around Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 1998; if you lived north of Cullman at the time, you probably remember the Christmas ice storm.

We’ve got a shot at hitting 70ºF next week if the wind picks up from the southwest, but by Friday, colder air begins to win out again. Based on the past few runs of the GFS, it could win out in a big way and set up a threat of ice and/or some snow from Friday through Christmas Day.

Models like these flip-flip a lot, so I don’t expect that it’ll look exactly like this. It’s less about specifics and more about what the model is telling us about the pattern. In my view, it’s telling us we’ve got a very slim margin between something wet and mild to something cold and wild for Christmas.

-Jason
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