LeAnn is so right! I remember going to sleep on Christmas Eve, dreaming of all the presents that I’d be opening the next morning, while outside it was cold with several inches of snow on the ground. There was the year I built a snow fort and crawled through it with my trusty boxer pup at my heels (I have pictures to prove it!). Detroit streets were narrow enough, but when snow covered those very streets, driving down them became a bit of a game. Who was going to be courteous enough to shift over and risk getting stuck in the snow so that the other car could pass first?
Then there were the holiday seasons that I spent in Colorado . . . the first one (1996) featured sunshine and mid-50s. I was literally wearing shorts outside on Christmas Day! It was odd to experience four Christmas years without an inch of snow on the ground. Needless to say, there was some excitement on my part on December 1, 2002 when I realized my chances of seeing a "white Christmas" were pretty good. I envisioned at least a half foot of snow on the ground and frigid temperatures when that time of the month rolled around. You can understand my shock when December 25 finally came, and the snow depth in Eau Claire was . . . 0! What?? I mean, we are on the same latitude as Minneapolis,and Yellowstone National Park. How can we not have snow on the ground?
A simple blame can be placed on a phenomonon called "El Nino". It seems that during those particular years, lengthy mild and snowless periods are bestowed upon the upper Midwest. It’s no coincidence that three out of the last five years have featured a weather pattern with El Nino characteristics. The following is a charting of the official snow depth for Eau Claire in the years that I’ve lived here:
2002: 0" 2005: 3"
2003: 2" 2006: Trace
2004: 1" 2007: ??
I mean seriously, a meager 2" just doesn’t cut it in my book. I have been looking forward to a December like the one we had in 2000, when the snow depth was 13" and the morning low was -26 on Christmas morning. Okay, maybe I can live without the latter of those, but really, we should be able to maintain an 8" snow depth in December this far north. We are just two weeks away from Christmas and that is what our snow depth is as of today. Unfortunately, for those of us dreaming of a whiter Christmas than the past few have been, an image like this from the Climate Prediction Center doesn’t bode well.
Yes friends, that map shows the dreaded warming trend that will erase a lot of that snow in the days before Christmas. A week of highs in the 30s will definitely take its toll on our lovely 8" of snow cover. True enough, there may still be enough to classify this as a "white Christmas", but sitting inside sipping egg nog on Christmas Eve would be so much better with a beautiful coating of fresh snow on the ground. Keep up the hope . . . we still have two weeks to go!
Chief Meteorologist Doug Michaels
Posted under Hometown Weather
This post was written by dmichaels on December 10, 2007