Highland County has a good chance of having not only a bitterly cold Christmas, but a white Christmas as well, according to the National Weather Service office in Wilmington.
Meteorologist Chris Hogue told The Times-Gazette that in Hillsboro and Highland County, he expected snow on the ground for Christmas morning.
“We’re looking at relatively light amounts on Christmas Eve, so I guess that would count for giving us a white Christmas,” he said. “I expect we’ll have some snow on the ground for Christmas morning, not a lot, but enough to make it feel like Christmastime.”
Hogue said aside from the possibility of snow, the Christmas Day weather event he and his colleagues were watching was the colder temperatures being forecast.
“After a relatively warm Wednesday, temperatures will be falling on Christmas Eve and we can expect a very cold Christmas Day,” he said.
He said the culprit behind the drastic weather change was a band of Canadian high pressure that was coming in behind the low pressure system that brought Wednesday’s spring-like temperatures.
A disturbance that will move along the cold front as it passes by will cause snowfall on the backside of the low pressure area as it moves eastward, he said.
“The main challenge we’re looking at that’s keeping us busy here for the next day or so is where some potentially moderate amounts of snow could fall,” Hogue said. “We’re looking at higher amounts in the region west of the Scioto Valley.”
Counties in eastern Ohio could see snowfall amounts approaching four inches or more, he said, with amounts in the one to two inch range being forecast for Highland County, since it occupies a “transition zone” between cold, dry air moving in from the west that will collide with the moist air of the low pressure system in the east.
“In just a county or two to the east, we may see snow amounts of four or five inches,” Hogue said.
Despite the springlike temperatures the county experienced Wednesday, the weather service said there was no threat of breaking any records, since the record high for Dec. 23 was 66 degrees set in 2015.
Hogue said the record lows for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were in no danger of being broken either.
A three-day stretch of arctic temperatures hit the area in 1983, setting records from Dec. 23 through Christmas Day of that year.
NWS records indicated that the record low temperatures for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that year were in the single digits — Christmas Eve registered a record low of two degrees, while the mercury on Christmas Day rose to only three degrees.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.