A Soggy Christmas on the Way

Plenty of folks hope for a "White" Christmas. By definition, that's one inch of snow on the ground. But I also think if the flakes are flying on Christmas, that's just as good too! And we've been advertising wet weather for days, for this upcoming holiday weekend. But the models waffle back and forth between dry conditions to both rain and snow over the weekend. Now, the data from most major models is coming more in line. And the result calls for a rainy Christmas!

Take a look at our Christmas statistics for Milwaukee:

Quite the spread in weather conditions here in our area on this holiday! Since I'm a numbers girl, I also broke down some percentages for you:

From this data you can see that we actually have about a half and half chance that temps will be above freezing. Keep in mind the average high temperature on Christmas is 30°. In terms of snowfall, nearly ten percent have featured one or more inches of snow. A one in four chance will at least give us measurable snow, which again by definition, is a tenth of an inch.

So what's up with the rain in the forecast this year?! Get a load of this set-up:

The is the European operational model for Sunday evening. It's my most trusted model. To simplify, where you see red lines, precip will more than likely fall as rain and blue lines, snow. This set-up includes a south to southeast or onshore wind and surface temps in the 40s. Even aloft, temps stay above freezing to about 700mb. That means, even if snow crystals developed into higher parts of the atmosphere, as it falls into the warmer air, we're seeing that transition to liquid precipitation. As you can see this looks like a solid shield of rain. Early estimates could yield total rainfall from .50-.75". That includes any rain that lingering through Monday. On the tail end of the storm we could see rain chance to snow for a short period of time late Monday.

So to come full circle on the "White Christmas" issue, will we see it this year? As of today's climate report, Milwaukee has an eleven inch snow pack on the ground. And by definition a White Christmas just needs one inch of snow on the ground. High temperatures will be above freezing now through Monday which could lead to a somewhat dwindled snow pack. On the other hand, overnight lows will be mostly in the 20s, which would prevent constant snow melt. While we might not have the snow flakes flying on Christmas this year, even with the milder temps and rain on the way, it still appears our snow pack should survive the soggy conditions.

I'm meteorologist Rebecca Schuld

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