Dreams of a white Christmas may turn into a New Year’s nightmare

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Though we wish it was different, South Jersey residents don’t have much of a chance of enjoying a white Christmas, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Though we wish it was different, South Jersey residents don’t have much of a chance of enjoying a white Christmas, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Ever since songwriter Irving Berlin coined “White Christmas” in 1940, and Bing Cosby christened its melody with his smooth baritone voice, the Dec. 25 holiday and snow seem linked together for young and old.

It’s true especially for residents of South Jersey, who tend to come from points up north: North Jersey, New York, or Philadelphia.

We remember walking to school on snow covered streets in December. We remember sledding or throwing snowballs at our friends and enjoying all things snowy.

So we always knew that Christmas would be celebrated in a wonderful world of a wintery white landscape.

In my native Buffalo, N.Y., the so-called snow capital of the north, we enjoyed a snowy Thanksgiving more often than not. So it seemed the chances of enjoying a white Christmas, just like Santa’s gifts, was in the bag for all of us.

As soon as our presents were opened, if we were lucky, our fathers would take us outside for a quick glimpse of the footprints that Santa and his reindeer left on our snow-covered roofs.

But when the first word of the area you live in is south, as in South Jersey, your chances of enjoying a white Christmas seem to be slim to none.

According to the National Weather Service’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, South Jersey residents have has less than a one-in-four chance of enjoying a white Christmas. Some estimates for areas immediately along the coast put that as low as a one-in-14 chance.

But what about this year?

Unfortunately, the current storm track continues to bring low pressure systems along a northeasterly path that follows Ohio River valley. Because we live on the warmer, easterly side of the systems, we get warmer temperatures and rain.

Though most of Christmas week, temperatures are forecast to be in the snow-busting, mid- to upper-40s range.

So there’s virtually no chance of a white Christmas this year in South Jersey.

But it will be colder for residents in western Pennsylvania and the Great Lakes regional, for example, so they will get snow and lots of it.  A late-week storm system moving up through the Midwest will drop up to 15 inches of snow in areas such as Green Bay.

We’ll be on the warm side of a day-after-Christmas storm so we should only get rain once again.

But the prevailing weather pattern might be changing with the arrival of the New Year, most weather forecasters say. And the change begins, just as Santa gathers up Rudolph and the gang to begin his annual around-the-world journey.

A large invasion of cold Siberian air finally finishes its arctic migration through Alaska and Canada and sets up camp in the central United States.

Starting around Christmas Day, South Jersey temperatures will begin to turn slightly lower each day. Say good-bye to daily highs in the 50s and so long to temperatures in the 40s. By New Year’s Eve, the mercury will struggle to reach the middle- to upper-30s.

And temperatures could remain 5-10 degrees below normal through the first half of January so any storm will be more than capable of dropping snow or freezing rain and a lot of it.

So wishing for a white Christmas might be a good thing. However, always remember to be careful for what you wish for.

“White Christmas” Trivia

Bing Cosby recorded “White Christmas” as part of an album that was a collection of large, 78s slipped into sleeves that resembled a photo collection. The song is the most selling song of all time.

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