Christmas week may begin with snow

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 18, 2004

WAKEFIELD, Va. – Everyone dreams of a white Christmas.

While that wish doesn’t often turn into a reality for northeastern North Carolina residents, there is a chance that the week before Christmas may start off with fluffy white flakes falling from the heavens.

The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Wakefield, Va. is saying that a chance of flurries or light snow showers are a possibility Sunday night into early Monday morning. As of late Friday afternoon, weather forecasters were predicting little or no accumulation.

However, that prediction hinges on just how far off the North Carolina coastline a developing storm system will form. It also depends on how quickly the storm intensifies as well as the timing of an arriving cold front.

NWS officials said on Friday that a blast of cold arctic air is expected to push into central and eastern North Carolina before sunset on Sunday. Meanwhile, a strong upper level low pressure system will plunge southward Sunday night. The moisture with that system coupled with the cold air expected to already be in place will result in flurries or possibly snow showers.

While the thought of snow near Christmas brings visions of a winter wonderland, NWS officials say the chances are slim for significant snowfall. That scenario would unfold if the upper level disturbance develops, as expected, as a surface low pressure off the Carolina coast later on Sunday night and lift northward. That new system is projected to intensify north of Cape Hatteras, but is expected to be too far offshore to account for any significant snow amounts over the inland areas. However, if the low forms closer to the coast and further south, that set-up would increase the chances and the amount of inland snowfall.

After a cold and blustery day on Monday, where the high is projected to only reach the mid 30’s, the forecast over the ensuing 48 hours calls for partly sunny skies on Tuesday and Wednesday with highs in the mid to upper 40’s.