NWS Says US Is Split Between 'Snow Miser, 'Heat Miser'

Some areas will see record-breaking Christmas temperatures
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2021 11:44 AM CST
Weather Service Warns of Snow, Floods in West
In this image taken from video from a Caltrans remote video traffic camera, light traffic makes its way in snowy conditions along Interstate 80 at Kingvale, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2021.   (Caltrans via AP)

(Newser) – Dreams of a white Christmas are likely to come true in much of the West and parts of New England, according to a holiday update from the National Weather Service—but it'll be an exceptionally warm Christmas elsewhere. The NWS says that in "Christmas-speak," weather patterns mean "Snow Miser has control of the West while Heat Miser has full control of the weather in Southtown with no compromise of snow in Southtown this Christmas." Forecasters say that with record-breaking warm temperatures expected from the Ohio Valley to the Southern Plains, "Santa may want to pack a lighter red coat when going house to house," NBC reports.

The weather service warned that by Christmas night, there could be up to 4 feet of snow in parts of the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, and Salmon mountains, making travel "hazardous, even impassable at times." The NWS defines a white Christmas as an inch or more of snow on the ground at 4am Christmas morning. With snow forecast to start Saturday evening, Seattle might not see a true white Christmas, but at least 2 inches are expected to fall over the weekend, reports the Seattle Times. Mayor Jenny Durkan warned Thursday that the city is expecting "the lowest temperatures we’ve experienced in a decade," with a cold snap forecast to last from Christmas to New Year's Day.

Snow and frigid temperatures are also expected in Portland, Oregon, where the city plans to open severe weather shelters on Christmas Day, the AP reports. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Thursday night, warning that the snow and cold could cause power failures and severe disruption of transportation. In California, authorities have warned that a storm system will cause "unsettled weather" and possibly flash floods, the Los Angeles Times reports. Two people died in a car submerged in a flooded underpass near San Francisco Thursday, and an evacuation orders were issued in Orange County Thursday night because of possible mudslides in wildfire-scarred areas. (Read more winter weather stories.)

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