Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Surprise For The Mid-Atlantic?


11:00 AM EST 12/24 (The Winter Stormcast Team) - On this eve of Christmas, we have no major changes to our forecast for the period  Monday afternoon into Christmas morning. The effects of a second storm, which may occur in these same areas, may be influenced by how much snowcover this first system produces in the next 24-36 hours. 

FREEZING RAIN & WINTER WEATHER advisories have begun appearing in WV, PA, NY and New England. Monitor this map from NWS Eastern Regional HQ for any changes. 

  • PRECIPITATION: While only light amounts of precipitation are expected in these areas, it could produce several inches of snow from the central Appalachians to central and southern New York. 
  • IMPACTS: The I-95 corridor may see flurries or light snow Christmas Eve night, turning to rain by morning, areas farther inland may take longer to change over to rain, allowing for some to awaken Christmas morning with a little extra surprise out the window.
  • SURPRISES? Due to high pressure north of the storm's track, the influence of cold air damming is expected to occur with this system. This means that colder air may be trapped east of the Appalachian mountains, resisting the push of warmer air from this system. Were this to occur, some areas could see longer periods of snow or frozen precipitation, and less rain.
NEXT UPDATE: Continue monitoring this site, your local NWS office, and the Winter Stormcast | Mid-Atlantic page in Facebook for any changes the next 12-hours.

Click below to read our special holiday feature: 
"How in the Dickens did Charles save Christmas?"

"How in the Dickens did Charles save Christmas?"

December 23, 2012 | As Winter Begins, Our Team Bids You Warm Holiday Wishes. 

While the gift of pre-Christmas snow was in the delivered the West, Mid-west and interior Northeast this weekend, areas of the Eastern U.S., still in an on-going snow drought contend with wind and clouds to kick off the holiday weekend. But wherever you are, whether under decorated palm trees deep in the heart of Texas, or have festively-lit reindeer in the Mid-Atlantic, we hope the light that comes from this season will help lift your spirits a little. 

In the spirit of recognizing the diversity of our readership, we also have a special weather & climate overview to honor December 26th's Kwanzaa for publication this weekend. Our first holiday-themed "history of science" story is an overview of the weather and climate behind this day of celebration in the Christian world. 


Mount Lebanon
The historical and religious reason for marking December 25 Christ's birth, was preceded by an influence of climate and geography. Even though some historians note that Jesus may have been born in November or March, not December, it is likely that nearby snow was present for the first Christmas.   "Lebanon" , which is the nearest mountain range to Bethlehemin the original Hebrew is associated with "white." At the time, the Lebanon range was generally snow-covered year round.  

Christmas was not recognized as a formal religious holiday until the 4th century. The Catholic Church reorganized late December holidays, and imported traditions from the pagan "Feast of Saturnalia" which occurred on the 25th. It is believed this compromise is the origin of present day food-related revelry during our winter holidays. However, more than a thousand years later,  Puritan settlers in the New World viewed December 25 with scorn. Records from the late 1600's show that celebrating Christmas was actually illegal in Boston, due to ancient Christmas festivals having less-than-reputable (i.e. pagan) reputation. The writings of one man in the 1800's helped change that.


A "Frost Fair" on the River 
Thames in London, 1683.
In the gritty streets of London in 1843, the date was not marked with evergreen wreaths and merriment for all. However, there was snow. A three-hundred year period from the 16th to 19th centuries was later known as  "Little Ice Age" due to reduced solar output. The height this chill, from 1645 to 1710, is now known by climatologists as the Maunder MinimumOver 26 winters, the River Thames in London froze so thick that grand  "Frost Fairs" were held on the ice! This excellent report by AccuWeather's Jesse Ferrell details many of the climate connections to our visions of White Christmases, due in part to the wide ranging impact of the Little Ice Age. 

During Charles' early childhood in the 1810's, his Father invested considerable time into a grand celebration of Christmas. It was a major family effort, with pig, goose and capon, the best there could be; with mince pie and plum porridge, good ale and strong beer. Topping it off, courtesy of the Little Ice Age, snow was observed six years in a row in London, right on Christmas Day!  Years later, as an author, with firmly ingrained memories of all this, Charles traversed the streets of London up to 20 miles a day...taking notes for his novel, A Christmas Carol. 

In 2006, this present-day librarian-blogger  summed up how the time-honored characters of Mr. Dickens, enshrined in a red- and gold-bound book, may have "saved" Christmas. What started as an effort by Dickens to restart his literary career, cemented a holiday-themed revolution which influenced our present day visions of cinnamon sticks and sleigh rides down snow-glistened streets. Charles may have been the original "Powderhound," for the story refers to frequent winter weather clogging the streets of London, a climate truth in the height of the Little Ice Age. Now that era lives on in our wrapping paper, Currier & Ives engravings and in the music that enriches our lives for just a few short weeks.  

As we celebrate one of the most significant events in history, the recognition of December 25 being Christ's birth, we know people of many creeds and colors have shared the child-like thrill when for the first time, "it's snowing!" We hope that someday, wherever you are, you'll be able to enjoy White in the winter night, courtesy of Mr. Dickens, a little red book, and a little help from the climate records! 

Our best wishes to you and your family, from all of us at Foot's Forecast. 


ravensbbr said...

Suck. At least ground temps might preclude some freezing rain sticking...I think.



NeedaSnowday said...

AFCN CHAMPIONS 2nd consecutive year!

Yea Ravens....

Next up: snow?!?

ravensbbr said...

We all know models can be finicky, but right now, if I'm reading them right, it looks possible for next week. Andy called this one earlier, let's hope the models stay consistent and give us powhounds some fun. :-)

And a home playoff game with snow would rock!

NeedaSnowday said...

Snow covered grass here..... YAHOO!!

Awesome - Christmas Eve Snow!

ravensbbr said...

Rich, when you get a chance, can you please re-enable the blogging feature that let us post pics, graphs, etc? Thanks!

In the interim, picture a front lawn covered with snow here in NE CC. :-)