WeatherWatcher: Dreaming of a White Christmas, arctic air takes over next week

Friday, December 24, 2021


Ice encased Japanese Maple February 2021
Photo by Carl Dinse

Many are watching the forecast and hoping for a White Christmas this year. As defined by the National Weather Service, a White Christmas is qualified by having at least 1 inch of snow on the ground by 7am Christmas morning. 

Our chances are significant this year compared to most years. 2017, 2008, and 1990 are the last three White Christmases the Shoreline area has had. 1996 was a close miss, with heavy snow arriving December 26th.

Christmas Eve we are looking at rain or snow showers, or a mix of both. Accumulations are not expected, but a slushy trace is possible in places. Temperatures are gradually cooling down, but the really cold air comes in Christmas night.

Snow timing is difficult. Models are now showing most of the accumulating snow to be late afternoon to evening Christmas day, leaving things bare and wet in the morning hours. If the early snowfall sticks, we may luck out by 7am, but it's going to be close.

Now is a good time to cover outdoor pipes or hose bibs and disconnect any garden hoses. 

Even if you have frost proof faucets you should get them covered as we are expecting what may be the coldest air we've had in decades. Temperatures could dip into the single digits overnight for the first few days next week. Some models even call for a low of -1°F, yes, that is below zero. 

Snow accumulations. There will be anywhere between 1-4 inches by Saturday night. Another 2-3 inches could accumulate into Sunday but the consensus is around 2-5 inches by the end of the weekend. Another batch of snow is looking likely towards next Wednesday or Thursday but we are looking too far out for any details yet on that.

We are locked into a solid La Niña pattern right now. Long range models are showing a cold trend for us well into the first and possibly second week of January. No typically mild Seattle weather for us for a while.

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