If you have been dreaming of a white Christmas in the Denver area, you will probably need to continue dreaming until next year.
A few weeks ago, long range forecast signals were already strongly suggesting a mild and dry weather pattern leading up to Christmas along the Front Range. It looks like those long range signals were on the right track.
The jet stream will be riding well to the north of Colorado later this week. This means that Denver will be under a ridge of high pressure, keeping the storm track to the north.
Snow does not actually need to fall on Christmas Day for it to go down in the weather records as a white Christmas. To recall the official definition, the National Weather Service will declare a white Christmas if at least an inch of snow is covering the ground Christmas morning.
Unfortunately, being underneath the big high pressure ridge will also translate to above normal temperatures later this week too. This will allow for more of the lingering snow on the ground in the Denver area to sadly melt away.
Recent years have been more favorable for a white Christmas in Denver. Eight of the last 15 Christmases have met the one inch snow depth criteria, or about 53% of the time. This has been much more frequent than the historical chances, which stand around 38% based on the entire period of record.
Christmas Day 2020 will not contribute to the more favorable odds in recent years. In fact, it is looking increasingly likely that Denver will record its second consecutive Christmas where highs surpass 50 degrees. The high soared to 54 degrees last year, and the forecast for this year suggests that Mother Nature will be delivering a very similar afternoon.
That would be quite the late December gift for warm weather lovers, while the Denver snow fanatics will likely be left saying “Bah, humbug!”
A quick road trip into the higher terrain is the only way to witness a white Christmas this year. Fresh snow into early Wednesday morning will ensure that many mountain towns meet the criteria.
Unfortunately for the urban corridor, the only supporting lingering evidence of snow will be dirty piles in parking lots or at the end of the driveway.
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