The last couple of days have featured many media outlets discussing the potential for Christmas snowfall. However, only a small percentage of the general public understands the mechanics behind this threat.
To start things off, let us discuss why the media outlets are jumping on this threat so far in advance.
- A White Christmas is an event that many people fantasize about, but seldom see.
- Other than holiday shopping stories, this week is slow for news producers. The producers of local and national news pressure the on-air meteorologists to stick their necks out more than they would normally be comfortable with.
- The weather models (computer simulations of weather forecasts) are in somewhat decent agreement that there will be snow (thus increasing overall confidence in an event happening).
The latest run of the GFS, for example shows the storm almost making the turn up the coast, but then being whisked out to sea (see image below).
This image shows the low pressure center fairly weak, and about to roll mainly east or northeast off the coast.
In comparison, many other computer models are suggesting the storm will intensify sooner and take a more northeasterly or NNE track closer to the coast - such a result would allow for more snow on the I-95 corridor of the east coast.
As should be obvious by now, many factors are involved in this and a white Christmas (or near Christmas) is certainly on the table, but by no means certain.
Stay tuned for continuing updates as the event draws closer. For now, The Capital Region Pulse weather team will say that there is a 40 percent chance of at least 1 inch of snow on Christmas Day. But that can go up or down!