I've given a fair amount of "blog time" to the possibility of a White Christmas this year. After watching the computer models over the weekend and this morning, the "confidence factor" in my Christmas Eve/Day forecast is higher than it has been so far as the models are fianlly beginning to sync up.
Unfortunately for winter weather lovers, the news is not good. While previously it appeared that low pressure would move by near the region or possibly to our south, there is now fair consensus that the low that will affect the region during the middle and latter portions of this week will move by to our west, putting us in the "warm sector" of the storm (see graphic above). This will mean unseasonably warm temperatures for Tuesday through Thursday (lower 60s are expected) and a lot of rain, with the real possibility of a couple of inches which raises flooding concerns. The track of the storm also delays the arrival of cold air until late Thursday, which means we stay warm enough for rain throughout the period of potential precipitation. A few flurries can't be ruled out as cold air envelopes the region Christmas Eve night and early Christmas Day, but I think the likelihood is fairly low. Christmas Day and Saturday will be just plain cold.
In addition, the weather system is very strong and poses the risk of a few thunderstorms Wednesday and Thursday, with a slight risk of severe weather now expected for locations west of the metro area. The biggest threat with any thunderstorms, and actually a general threat for the Wednesday/Thursday time frame, will be very gusty winds due to the strength of this system. I expect sustained wind of 20-30 mph both days, with gusts approaching 40 mph at times outside of thunderstorms and maybe higher in storms. Stay with MemphisWeather.net for the latest details on the Christmas week forecast.
Just as we saw extended coverage of the "Nor'Easter of 2009," which blanketed the east with feet of snow and high wind over the weekend, the Midwest and Central Plains will be under the gun this week for significant snowfall accumulations and blizzard conditions that could put a severe damper on Christmas travel plans for that portion of the country. If you are traveling to places in MO, KS, NE, IA or northern IL for Christmas, stay abreast of weather conditions as you make your travel preparations, especially if you are driving.