Lehigh Valley

Late snow could lead to white Christmas

Snow chances increase to the north

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - TODAY:  Intervals of clouds and sunshine.  High: 44 

CHRISTMAS EVE:  Snow develops. 1-3” of snow for most; a mix or rain with a coating to an inch of snow south.  Low: 31

CHRISTMAS DAY:  Windy and colder with clouds giving way to some sun. A flurry or two.  Wind gusts to 40 mph expected.  High: 37   Low: 19




It’s hard to believe that there’s a chance of a white Christmas this year, especially considering the way the holiday weekend began. It was a warm but a wet Saturday with occasional rain through much of the day, and highs ranging from the mid 40s in the Poconos to low 60s in the Delaware Valley. Yet by tonight, the ground could indeed turn white for some of us, delivering a last second white Christmas for parts of the area. As is normally the case, snow chances tonight will increase the farther north you travel, and that’s where the slickest travel is likely to be as well.

Those traveling or perhaps finishing some last minute shopping today will be treated to a brighter and drier day compared to our soggy Saturday. Expect a mix of clouds and sunshine for our Christmas Eve Day as a weak area of high pressure builds in. While it will certainly be cooler than Saturday, the genuinely cold air won’t arrive until Christmas Day. So expect high temperatures to be in the low to mid 40s on Sunday, which will be far milder than anything we have to look forward to for the rest of 2017 as arctic air awaits.

Before the cold returns, we’ll have our Christmas Eve disturbance to deal with. It won’t be a major or disruptive storm, at least not for us as it will still be in its infancy and organizing stages as it passes overhead later tonight. By the time it reaches the northern half of New England and then eastern Canada, it will have matured into a higher impact winter storm. We’ll feel some of that impact on Christmas Day in the form of some gusty winds that will help to deliver the cold air for Christmas week.

Expect a mix of rain and snow to develop from south to north on Christmas Eve, with snow the preferred precipitation type along and north of Interstate 78, and rain more likely south and east towards the Interstate 95 corridor.  1 to 3 inches of snow is expected from the Lehigh Valley and Berks County points north through the Poconos and northwestern New Jersey, with the 1” amounts more likely farther south, and the 3” amounts more likely towards the higher elevations farther north. Farther south towards the Delaware Valley, it will be more rain, so any snow accumulation should be less than inch, and more likely closer to a coating. Little to no accumulation is expected south and east into the southern half of New Jersey. 

The steadiest rain and snow will fall either side of midnight, and should end from southwest to northeast before sunrise Christmas morning. Travel will be slickest late Sunday night where things stay mostly snow, especially along and north of I-78 points north towards I-80.  Winter weather advisories are in effect for the Lehigh Valley, Berks County, the Poconos, and northwestern New Jersey to highlight the best chance for winter weather, and they run from 7 p.m. tonight through 7 a.m. Monday morning.

There could be a few flurries Christmas morning, otherwise it’s a flake-free day as morning clouds give way to increasing sunshine on Christmas Day, which also looks rather windy and cold. Temperatures will be in the mid 30s, but with a blustery west to northwest wind that may gust as high as 45 miles-per-hour, wind chills will remain below freezing throughout the day. Wind advisories are up for the entire area to highlight those strong wind gusts, most likely to occur the first half of Christmas Day through early afternoon. Temperatures drop into the teens Christmas night, as they likely will do each and every night for the rest of the week as arctic air settles in.

The cold will be king after Christmas, possibly right through the New Year.  Highs could remain below freezing starting Wednesday and lasting through New Year’s weekend, with lows close to 10 to 15 degrees at night with some single digit lows possible on occasion. While most of the week looks dry, there is the potential for a more sizable storm somewhere off the East Coast by Friday or Saturday. The details are still sketchy, but with cold air in place, there would be an opportunity for some snow depending on the ultimate track and evolution of this system.  Stay tuned!

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