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White Christmas Unlikely for Most as Ski Resorts Face Rain, Travel Outlook Positive

2 months ago
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For most Americans dreaming of a white Christmas this year, the prospects are looking rather bleak. Although some parts of the Rockies and Midwest could see a fresh dusting of snow by Monday, other regions typically covered in a wintry coating this time of year continue to sport their dreary late-fall appearance.

According to the director of seasonal forecasting at Verisk Atmospheric and Environmental Research, while some may get their wish for a white Christmas granted at the last minute, most of the country will be facing a brown holiday instead.

One area more accustomed to snow-filled Decembers is the Northeast, where a powerful rainstorm recently swept through and dumped heavy rainfall over the region’s ski resorts.

The relentless downpour wreaked havoc on many of the existing snow bases. The general manager of New Hampshire’s Gunstock Mountain Resort assessed the ski area damage firsthand on Monday when it was closed to the public.

Over 3.5 inches of warm rain fell as fierce winds whipped through the mountain. He remarked that rain is like a four-letter word in this business.

Current snow cover across the U.S. nears record lows for this time of year. The atmospheric scientist does not expect conditions to improve much nationally by December 25th.

He noted that a storm brewing in the Rockies looks to head toward Canada, potentially bringing some fresh snow to the western Plains across Kansas, the Dakotas, and maybe as far east as Minnesota. But most areas will still have a brown holiday.

The National Weather Service concurred in its holiday forecast, seeing little hope for a white Christmas for much of the country. However, regarding travel conditions, forecasters optimistically stated that the weather is at least favorable for most people with holiday plans this year.

According to the Weather Service, Alaska has by far the best chance for a white Christmas. Anchorage’s record snow depth on December 25th is 30 inches, set in 1994. This year’s totals could come close to that benchmark.

According to the scientist, climate change plays a role in dwindling Christmas snows. While it remains complicated, winters are clearly getting shorter and warmer overall.

December really no longer qualifies as a winter month with the warming he’s observed. Early-season skiing grows more challenging each year.


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