Dreaming of a White Christmas is an annual ritual, and with Christmas 2014 just ten days away, weather forecasters are predicting that a number of U.S. states will be getting snow in time for the holidays. Three winter storms from California to New York City are in the cards for Americans this holiday season, AccuWeather Global Weather Center predicted on Monday.
"The storms will develop in the Southern states and then track northeastward," AccuWeather.com Long-Range Expert Paul Pastelok said in a statement. "How far north the storms track into the cold air will determine the extent of snow."
The aptly named Matthew Holliday, of FirstHandWeather.com, predicted Sunday that snow could be coming in time for Christmas to much of the U.S. He handicapped the prospect of various areas of the country for a potential white christmas, and predictably gave the Western Rockies region and Great Lakes regions the highest probabilities for snowfall. The northern plains have a better than 50 percent chance of seeing snow, Holliday predicted, and most of the East Coast from Boston to Virginia and even a large swath of the South has a 15 to 30 percent chance, according to his calculations.
"Because I am expecting a winter storm right around Christmas and a potential pre-Christmas storm next weekend, you will notice that I have most of the U.S. with a chance at having a white Christmas," Holliday wrote. "What may even be more surprising is that I have a 15 to 30 percent chance of a white Christmas across a large region of the southern U.S., which is unheard of for this time of year."
One storm is forecast to roll across California midway through this week, dousing the lower-lying areas in torrential rain while blanketing the mountains in snow, all just a week after the state was hit with a massive storm that left much of the Bay Area flooded.
The storm is expected to go across the southern reaches of the Rockie Mountains then hit Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi with thunderstorms starting Friday, AccuWeather.com predicted.
The northern reaches of the Midwest from Ohio to Iowa could see snow and ice as this weekend gets underway, advancing to the Appalachians in the the south by Saturday night and crossing into the mid-Atlantic coastline Sunday. The mid-Atlantic travel corridor from Washington D.C. to New York and maybe even Boston as well as Midwest cities from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh could be impacted by the snowfall, snarling traffic this weekend on some of the biggest pre-Christmas shopping days of the year.
Lastly, AccuWeather.com projects that a storm could develop in the South Central U.S. two days before Christmas, then head northeast -- potentially in time for Christmas. But this forecast has the greatest potential to be incorrect, as the holiday is still a long ways out.
Last week, AccuWeather.com released a list of the five U.S. cities most likely to experience white Christmases this year. Though these were far-out predictions, they excited many residents who are hoping that snowmen, snowball fights and sledding are in store for their family holidays.
"You need snow - on or near Christmas Day is ideal," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jim Andrews explained in a statement. "Of course, if it happens well before Christmas, it needs to stay cold (near to below freezing) through Christmas to keep snow on the ground."
The semi-official definition of a "White Christmas" is one in which there is at least an inch of snow on the ground. With these factors in mind, the forecasting site looked at historical data from 1981 to 2010 and determined that the following are the five American cities with populations above 250,000 people most likely to be singing "Let It Snow" come Dec. 25:
1. Minneapolis -- The major U.S. city with the highest likelihood of a White Christmas is Minneapolis, with a 77 percent chance of powder on the ground this year. That number takes into account the fact that Minnesota city averages 11.5 inches of snow each December.
2. Denver -- Colorado is a major ski destination for a reason, and that's because it has some of the most reliable snowfall figures in the country. The Rockies help the Mile-High City come in at number-two on AccuWeather's list of cities most likely to have a White Christmas this year, with a 50 percent probability of such a holiday treat.
3-5. Buffalo, Detroit and Milwaukee -- These three northern cities tie for third-most-likely to have a snowy Christmas 2014. The lake effect is to blame for much of this probability, particularly in Buffalo, which has the highest average snowfall for December of the five cities on this list at 27.4 inches.
"Lake-effect snow contributes to the city's near 50 percent probability of seeing a white Christmas," Andrews explained.
Many Americans hope for white Christmases. Armando Robus of Springfield, Massachusetts, told WWLP that he is hoping for snow this holiday season. “It brings up the holidays. A nice, white Christmas on Christmas day is always the best, it brings out the festivities, it brings out the time and the season," he said. "It’s Christmas time. Without snow there’s no Christmas really, I think.”