My Snow Request — Now Is Fine. But, The Week Before Christmas…

What a crazy start to December 2012 in the Quad Cities!

Temperatures are running close to 19° above average with the highs for the first three days of the month peaking at 61°, 59°, and 69° at the airport in Moline, Illinois.  That 69° high yesterday tied a record for the date.  We were just two degrees shy of the warmest temperature on record in the Quad Cities for December at 71°.  That was set on December 4, 1998.

NOAA’s December forecast is for temperatures to be above average.

Dec Temps

Does that mean you won’t be seeing a “White Christmas” in the Quad Cities?  Not necessarily.  What it means is that temperatures are expected to be warmer than usual.  On Christmas Day, the average high and low are 32° and 16°.  Even if temperatures are “above average”, we could still see snow.

White Christmas

Statistically, from this map from the National Climatic Data Center, we have a 26-50% chance of having a “White Christmas”, which is defined as an inch of snow on the ground Christmas Day.  Looking at more specific data, the chances in the Quad Cities are closer to 41%.

So far, in the Quad Cities, we’ve seen only a trace of snow this fall.  A few snow flurries fell back on the evening of November 11th.  But, just to the south of the metro area, I saw some pictures on Facebook with snow on cars around Galesburg, Illinois.


Could this Accuweather winter forecast be right????

Since we haven’t had a measurable snow this season, as of today (12/4), we’ve now gone 275 days since our last sticking snow.  Back on March 4, 2012, 0.9″ of snow accumulated in the Quad Cities.

Looking back at the last four years (2008-2011), the average number of days between measurable snows was 250!  So, we’ve gone longer without measurable snow this year.  Is there any in sight????

An interesting change in the weather pattern this weekend and early next week could bring a sticking snow somewhere in the upper Midwest.  While this is still five days out, if this NOAA model is correct, low pressure moving out of the Southwest could bring us our first accumulating snow of the season.

Monday 1AM

This is the forecast map for 1 a.m. Monday, which shows heavy rain to our south, but cold enough air over eastern Iowa and northern Illinois to bring several inches of snow into Monday.  This has been consistent for the past day or so.  So, with that being said, it bears watching.  However, however, however, (did I stress that enough?), it’s five days out and with the warmth we’re experiencing, everything with this forecast has to be perfect for this to occur.

But, for you snow lovers, you, at least, have a chance.  I’ll know more over the next couple of days since the storm track will be very important if this feature is present on future forecast models.

Additionally, and this stresses me out, the long-term model for December 18th and 19th shows a huge storm over the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Ohio Valley.  If, and again I stress “if”, this forecast two weeks out were to materialize, a “White Christmas” could be a reality.  Why does this stress me out?  That’s when we leave for our Christmas vacation!

December 19  1AM

Breathe Anthony, you more than many people, know how many times this will change before then and you know how low the accuracy rate of long-tern models are to one location.  Look for a trend, not a forecast, from them. 🙂



5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stephanie on December 4, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Soooo, what was December like in 1998 after having 71 degrees on the 4th?!?! Any significant snowstorms?!? When did the first accumulating snow fall?!? What was the temp on Christmas Day?!? Inquiring minds, inquiring minds 😉


  2. Stephanie,

    Good question. Sadly, I don’t have access to specific information that far back. But, from what I found at two difference places, only about 2″ of snow fell at the end of that December. Take that with a grain of salt.

    However, the deeper we go into December without measurable snow, it’ll definitely cut back on winter!



  3. Posted by Larry Newingham on December 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    great info, I hope we miss the snow


  4. Posted by Marge Purnell on December 5, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I hope it’s dry on 12/21 & 12/26. Those are our travel dates to and from the QC.


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