While the holiday is still ten days away, the snow falling across much of the state today will be followed by very cold weather, so whatever falls now will likely stick around at least until December 25th. Meteorologist Jim Lee, at the National Weather Service, says the expected snow accumulation amounts vary across the state.
“The highest amounts will be up in northern Iowa, where we’re looking at probably in the range of about three or four inches, give or take a little bit,” Lee says. “Down towards central Iowa, we are expecting, depending on where you are, probably in the one-to-three inch range, with the higher amounts, of course, being a little bit further north.” Almost all of Iowa will see at least some snow today, though the southern few tiers of counties may only get flying flurries.
“We’ll probably have some lingering snow into tomorrow and tomorrow night in northern Iowa, but any additional amounts look pretty light,” Lee says. “As far as temperatures, unfortunately, it’s not going to get warm again for quite some time. The daily high temperatures for the next several days range in the teens north to mostly 20s south, and then once we get into next week, it could get even colder.”
When put on the spot, Lee was hesitant to make a prediction about what percentages of the state may, indeed, have a white Christmas. “Ha! Now that’s a question I can’t quite answer today, certainly in terms of percentages, but it does look like whatever snow we get out of this system is going to have a hard time melting,” Lee says. “Certainly, anywhere that gets a couple inches or more today stands a pretty decent chance of having it hold out for next week, especially up in the north.”
According to the Iowa Storm Chasing Network, Iowans who live along and north of Highway 20 have a 61-to-75% chance of having snow on the ground on December 25th, based on climatology, while areas between Highway 20 and Highway 30 have a white Christmas probability between 51-to-60%. ISCN says, based on historical data, from Highway 30 to Highway 34, there’s a 41-to-50% chance, while from Highway 34 to the Missouri border, there is only a 26-to-40% probability of a white Christmas.