Rare chill for this December as renewed warmth arrives for Christmas; Who has the best chance of a White Christmas?


The month of December has been a mild one and today was a rare day of seasonably chilly air. Temperatures failed to reach 40-degrees for only the third time all month.


The streak is snapped! Thirteen consecutive days of above normal temperatures ended Wednesday when the high for the day only reached 34°. December 2021 is among the warmest ten on record and the chill today may have been a bit of a shock, it was the coolest afternoon here in just over two weeks and only the third day this December to fail to reach 40°. Nineteen of the twenty-two days this month, nearly 90% have averaged above normal, seven days have topped 60°


The cool off is brief and already the chill will ease as wind turn south and a warm front heads our way. The string of sunny days – and they were spectacular will be ending. This was the sunniest stretch of weather since early November but the warming air will increase clouds here starting as early as tonight.

The polar branch of the jet stream is still staying north and while briefly dipping Wednesday it will retreat allowing the mild, oceanic air to spread east again over the coming days. Temperatures will climb back into the 40s Thursday but the real warmth comes Friday and Saturday for the holiday. Temperatures could be as much as 20-degrees above normal Friday, marking the warmest Christmas Eve in thirty-nine years. Christmas Day’s high will occur in the early morning hours when rain will be falling. Temperatures are expected to slide downward when showers scatter Saturday afternoon and into the evening. Christmas Day temperatures have flip-flopped each of the past two years, from 62° in 2019 to only 15° in 2020. Only four Christmas’ have reached 60-degrees, the warmest 64° in 1893.


A white Christmas here is traditionally hard to come by and there will be no snow this year. Historically speaking central Indiana runs just shy of a 30% chance of a White Christmas – defined as 1″ of snow at 7am Christmas Day. The most recent White Christmas here was 2017 (1″) and the greatest depth was in 2004 with a 9″ snow depth.

Nation-wide the snow cover is less than 30% as of Wednesday evening, but the northern states are living up to their reputation of being white for the holiday. States with a 30% probability of snow on the ground state-wide Christmas morning include Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Vermont. The greatest is Vermont at 52% with Minnesota at 34%.

The chance of a white Christmas in the state of Indiana ranges from as high 40% north to as low as less than 10% south, Indianapolis sits at 26%.

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