A white Christmas doesn’t appear to be in the cards this year in Highland County as the previous month’s trend of temperatures averaging 5.5 degrees above normal is predicted to continue for the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
“For Hillsboro for Christmas we are predicting a chance of rain and 62 degrees, which is pretty close to the record high of about 65,” said Brian Prianconiglio, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Wilmington.
“It’s just the way the weather pattern is,” he said. “All the cold air is stuck in Canada, and I hate to keep blaming them, but it is cold up there while in our area we see more of a flow from the southern plains area where it’s usually warmer, and it’s going to be bringing some of the milder — much above normal — temperatures here.”
December, the first month of meteorological winter, has seen a normal amount of rainfall in Highland County, but snowfall has been below normal in the area because of the above-normal temperatures.
“Cincinnati is running 2.8 inches below normal for snow,” said Prianconiglio. “The normal would have been 3.4 inches of snow, and we’ve only had six tenths of an inch so really it has hardly snowed at all. Normally, we would have gotten a few inches by now.
Prianconiglio attributed the above normal temperatures and below normal snowfall to the current La Nina weather event. La Nina refers to the periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central Pacific near the equator. This typically occurs every three to five years, but can occasionally occur over successive years.
“So far that pattern in the La Nina is bringing more air from the west — not directly from a specific ocean, but kind of influenced from the Pacific Ocean more — and that keeps it warmer,” said Prianconiglio. “We haven’t had any arctic breakout yet, so instead of plunging down from Canada from the north it’s been more of a westerly flowing wind.”
The local weather is predicted to be colder by the end of January. “I would say starting out it’s not going to be cold yet, but by the end of next month we will start to see some of those colder outbreaks so it will probably be like a normal cold winter month with above normal precipitation so that could lead to a little bit of snow,” said Prianconiglio.
The long term outlook for this year’s winter calls for temperatures to swing back above normal by the end of the season. “We think we’re going to get hit pretty good here around the end of January and part of February, and then it will probably warm up later in the beginning of spring,” said Prianconiglio.
“It looks like it should be fairly safe travel, so everybody have a safe holiday and safe Christmas weekend,” he added.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.