The odds of a white Christmas are not looking good.
In the immediate future are dry conditions and warming temperatures.
“Right now, it looks dry for the next seven to 10 days. We’re just not in a good pattern for precipitation here,” said Jonathan Finch, a forecaster at the Dodge City National Weather Service office.
Temperatures will be cold again today, with a high around 37 but warm up to near 70 on Sunday. High temperatures should be in the 50s for much of the next week.
Finch said Christmas is too far out to really forecast the weather, but long-range forecasts from the NWS indicate dryer and warmer than normal will likely be the trend. But of course, that might depend on where you are.
“Normal doesn’t really mean as much this time of year as it does in the summer,” Finch said.
“We’ll have 50s for a week,” he said as an example, “then an Arctic front comes through and it will be in the 20s. It will average out into the 40s, but you weren’t in the 40s any day.
“Normal is kind of deceiving.”
That’s especially true of precipitation, where 50 miles can make a big difference in how much wet stuff of any kind falls.
“Here in western Kansas, precipitation is often not as widespread as it is back east, so a lot of time we’ll see a storm coming several days away, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where it’s going to because it’s so narrow,” Finch said.
“You could have one storm that misses you by a county or two and not get much for the year. But if it hits you, you might get a foot at a time.”
The historical probability is not very high for a white Christmas, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. U.S. Climate Normals data from 1981 to 2010 show Hays has a 22-percent chance of having at least 1 inch of snow on the ground on Dec. 25.
The most snow Hays had on Christmas was 11.8 inches in 1945, according to NWS records, Finch said.
Records from stations of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network indicate Ellis County has not had significant precipitation since Oct. 7, but 19 of the county’s 32 stations have recorded more than the area’s yearly average rainfall of 23.45 inches, with the highest at 31.28 inches.
The last significant snowfall recorded by CoCoRahs in Ellis County was approximately an inch on Jan. 5.