Weather

Heading into Christmas weekend, expect some scenic snow

It'll begin to look a little like Christmas.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Snow clings to a winterberry bush in the early morning in a Pembroke yard. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff


The weather over the next five days will remain active, and although the activity won’t be major, it could provide some scenic snow heading into Christmas.

Low pressure will move east of New England on Wednesday allowing a frontal system, clearing the air and returning us to sunshine and chilly temperatures. Readings will fall back down into the 20s overnight under mainly clear skies, and Thursday morning readings will also be in the 20s.

Low temperatures Thursday morning will be in the 20s for southern New England. – NOAA

A weak area of low pressure will pass through to New England late Thursday night and Friday. As the system moves through, some light snow will traverse the region from the northwest toward the southeast in the early morning hours of Friday. Because temperatures will be cold enough, the precipitation will be in the form of snow, and there could be a coating to an inch.

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Snow potential for Friday, Christmas Eve. – Dave Epstein

An approaching system won’t be big enough to create much travel trouble, but it will definitely add to the scenic beauty of Christmas Eve.

An area of light snow will move through southern New England in the early morning of Christmas Eve. – Weatherbell

There’s going to be another weather system potentially arriving sometime on Christmas Day. The details of this are fuzzy, as it doesn’t appear to be well organized. While there could be some rain or snow, it’s equally possible the system never gets its act together.

It will be seasonally cold and dry the rest of the holiday weekend with more storminess possible post-Christmas and before New Year’s, the details of which also still remain to be seen.

An official “white Christmas” according to the National Weather Service must have an inch of snow on the ground when the observation is taken at 7 a.m. It’s unlikely that most of southern New England will reach that criteria, and if you want a truly white Christmas, you’re going to have to head north. You can see on the map below that shows the present state of snow cover and the fact that it’s confined to mostly the northern most states as well as the intermountain west.

Snow cover on the first day of winter was not particularly extensive across the US. – Weatherbell

If you’re wondering how this compares to average, this year we are definitely below average, especially around the Great Lakes. Of course, this could change in the next couple of days.

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If you’re thinking that it’s been mild this month, you are correct. The past 20 days have been above average for most of the country. The lack of Arctic air has kept temperatures quite tolerable in this first month of winter.

Finally, here in Boston, with nine days to go, this December is currently running the second warmest, but likely will fall out of second place as the remaining data points become averaged in the next week. Nevertheless, the month is going to be a warm one, and right now 2021 is poised to be the warmest year on record for the city.

December 2021 and the year overall are both averaging significantly above the 30-year norm. – NOAA

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