NEW YORK - The anticipation and longing for a magical Christmas morning, with snowflakes falling softly and covering the ground in a pristine white blanket, seems to be fading away rapidly.
As the days go by, the chances of having a white Christmas are decreasing, and people are starting to lose hope and resign themselves to the reality of a snowless holiday. Long-range computer forecast models show no major snowstorms in the days leading up to Christmas.
The official definition of a white Christmas from the National Weather Service is at least 1 inch of snow on the ground measured at 7 a.m. on Christmas morning. For most Americans, they'll have to watch their favorite holiday movie to see snow this year, the FOX Forecast Center said.
Warmer-than-average temperatures are favored in the next two weeks, so even if we can get a more significant storm to develop, it'll most likely produce rain rather than snow.
A look at the temperature outlook through Dec. 27, 2023. (FOX Weather)
Cold air has been lacking across the U.S. so far in December.
Meteorological winter, which runs from Dec. 1 to Feb. 29, has started off quite mild. According to the FOX Forecast Center, there are no signs of any arctic air masses invading the country until at least January, resulting in a considerable shortage of snow in many major cities across the nation. Currently, only 19% of America is covered in snow.
A look at the coast-to-coast snow potential over the next 10 days. (FOX Weather)
"We're looking at the temperature trend continuing to be right where it is," FOX Weather Meteorologist Bob Van Dillen said. "So not as hot as it was last weekend, last week either, but you're going to see the temperatures that will be above freezing. So all that snow you see right there (above), current snow cover on the ground, it's going to start getting chiseled away."
This is bad news for those who love snow, as any big storms that may occur will likely face milder temperatures, reducing the chances of heavy snowfall. That doesn't mean the snow machine won't crank up somewhere as we round out the year, but chances are leaning toward more rain than snow as we say farewell to 2023.
US White Christmas
Percentage of the U.S. covered with snow on Christmas Day.
(2023 data through Dec. 14. Source: NOAA)
A couple of exceptions include the Sierra Nevada in California and the San Juan Mountains in Colorado and New Mexico, where the forecast is generally favorable for additional fresh snow – good news for any skiers who plan to hit the slopes this holiday season.
A look at the precipitation outlook through Dec. 27, 2023. (FOX Weather)
Major Northeast cities yet to receive 1 inch of snow this year
This news might disappoint those who enjoy snowy winters in the Northeast: It has been almost two years since this part of the country has experienced an inch of snowfall in a single day in its major cities.
As of Thursday, it has been 668 days since the last 1-inch snowfall in a calendar day in New York City. This sets a new record, surpassing the previous one of 383 days, recorded in 1998.
It's been nearly 700 days without 1 inch of snow in a single day in Baltimore. (FOX Weather)
Despite the Northeast's reputation for harsh winters and heavy snowfall, the recent lack of snow has been a noticeable trend, with many residents and visitors alike longing for the white, winter wonderland that they have come to expect from this region.