Who Can Expect A White Christmas…Or How About Just Unsettled Weather

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It’s that time of year when everyone’s dreaming of a white Christmas but for those living across the Southern Rockies and Central/Southern Plains it looks like their wish will come true a bit earlier this year. A strong storm system lifting from the Desert Southwest into the Southern Plains today will bring moderate to heavy snow across the region today into tomorrow. A Blizzard Warning (see below) is currently in effect for northeast NM, the TX/OK Panhandle, southeast CO and western KA through Tuesday morning.

 A Blizzard Warning (indicated in orange) is in effect, as well as a Winter Storm Warning (pink). Image: NWS

We’re starting off with some rain this morning, but as cold air filters in behind a strong cold front, the air will be cold enough for a swath of heavy snow to fall from the Southern Rockies eastward through the Central and Southern Plains today into tomorrow. The rain is expected to change over to all snow later this afternoon into the evening hours. Snow accumulations will be significant in some areas with 6 to 16 inches expected with isolated heavier amounts not out of the question. Strong northwesterly winds between 15-30 mph with gusts up to 40-50 mph can be expected behind the front with areas of blowing/drifting snow possible. Winds are expected to increase this afternoon into the evening hours before diminishing by Tuesday afternoon.

Travel will be hazardous across this region due to the combination of heavy snow, blowing and drifting snow, whiteout conditions and icy, snow covered roads. Visibilities could be reduced to less than 1/4 mile by falling and blowing snow. Travelers are urged to take caution and, if at all possible, avoid traveling altogether. Click here for a live look at the snow in New Mexico. BRRR!

 Areas in blue indicate where the heaviest snow is expected. Some areas could pick up as much as 12-18 inches (indicated in blue) with isolated amounts up to 20 inches possible into the higher elevations. Image: ImpactWeather

 Moderate to heavy snow (indicated in pink) can be expected today as a strong storm system moves across the region. Severe storms will also be possible across north-central and central Texas today in advance of a cold front. Image: ImpactWeather

A broken line of thunderstorms is forecast to develop this afternoon along a cold front moving into the north-central and central areas of Texas. Isolated strong/severe storms will be possible with the main threats being strong wind gusts and isolated tornadoes. This line of storms will push eastward tonight into tomorrow morning while weakening in the process.

Improving conditions are expected across the Southern Rockies and Central/Southern Plains by midweek as high pressure builds in. I guess folks living in this part of the country are getting a taste of what’s to come as the official first day of winter isn’t until Thursday, which also happens to be the shortest day of the year.

 Surface map for Christmas Eve. Image: NOAA

As for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the weather looks fairly quiet across the U.S. with high pressure to the east and west. No major hazards are identified right now but we’ll certainly keep you updated if anything changes. The weather looks fairly tranquil for any travel plans you have visiting family and friends later this week.

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