‘Significant’ winter storm hits Plains, much of country gets wet Christmas

‘Significant’ winter storm hits Plains, much of country gets wet Christmas

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A “significant” winter storm will hit the Plains this Christmas to blanket multiple states with a few inches of snow while much of the country has a rainy, wet holiday. 

The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center said in a post on Monday that the storm will “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” over parts of the Central Plains with blizzard conditions making travel hazardous. 

The center said a large storm system will bring multiple impacts to the central and eastern parts of the country for the holiday. 

Heavy snow and ice will come down in the Central Plains and Upper Midwest, with snow increasing in coverage and intensity throughout Christmas in northern Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. The snowfall is expected to reach at least four inches, and a strong chance for more than a foot of snow exists for central Nebraska to south-central South Dakota. 

The center also predicts strong winds with gusts up to 55 miles per hour bringing blizzard conditions, creating hazardous or “even impossible” travel conditions. Ice is expected to accumulate more than a tenth of an inch from the Red River Valley to northern Minnesota, and ice could accumulate to more than a quarter of an inch in southeast North Dakota. 

The conditions will likely cause slippery sidewalks and isolated power outages. The storm is expected to weaken by Tuesday but still produce heavy and blowing snow. 

In the eastern part of the country, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico moving north ahead of a passing cold front will create numerous showers and a few thunderstorms, bringing moderate to heavy rainfall from the Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley and the Southeast. 

Several inches of very heavy rain are expected near parts of the Southern Appalachians, and some instances of flash flooding are possible. 

The center noted that more unusually mild temperatures are expected on Christmas after multiple record minimum and maximum warm temperatures were reached on Christmas Eve. Highs in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes will reach the 50s, 15 to 25 degrees above normal. 

Average temperatures for New England will reach the 40s, while the 50s and 60s will be reached further south, with both places potentially reaching 10 to 15 degrees above normal. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that the warm Pacific weather pattern known as El Niño would cause warmer-than-usual temperatures and precipitation over Christmas.

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