Are Snowy Winter Holidays a Thing of the Past?
Instead of a white holiday season, we just might have to wish for a green one from now on. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in light of updated data on "average" weather over the past three decades (1991-2020) -- the chance of snow in much of the US during the holidays is slim.
Why This Matters
This December is already shaping up to be the warmest on record, as a heat wave is currently sweeping through much of the contiguous US. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures have and will continue to reach heights of 20°F - 40°F above average for this time of the year. Additionally, cities like St. Louis, New York, Washington DC and Boston can expect a zero chance of snow in time for Christmas day.
The Western US. is also seeing much warmer temperatures -- Colorado, for example, remains locked in an ongoing snow drought after the warmest November in history. At the same time, the Arctic has been warming nearly three times faster than the rest of the world, according to a recent study.
A Long-Term Trend?
Rebecca Lindsey, a spokesperson for NOAA, emphasized to CNN that "From one 30-year normals period to the next, two decades of the data are the same; only one decade out of three is new." Adding that "at some locations, changes could be the result of natural decadal variability."
It is critical to note, however, that many areas of the US display a notable correlation between average temperature changes and chance of snow. The Northern Plains was the only region where chances of snow increased, and was also the only region where average December temperatures have decreased.
WW0: Protecting Our Winters - Eart Day Live, April 22, 2021