As people make holiday plans, they want to know if there will be rain, and if they’re traveling, they want to know where it will be white or wet.
As to the first question, whether there will be rain in California, the short answer is that it’s too early to be sure.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center has issued outlooks that suggest that the period from Dec. 22 to Dec. 28 will probably be a bit cooler and wetter than normal in much of California.
But Tom Fisher, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Oxnard office, cautions that computer models are inconsistent and keep changing, making it hard to predict precisely what will happen that far in the future.
Forecasts do show chances for rain in San Francisco, for example, on Tuesday night and Wednesday, and again next weekend, but Los Angeles appears to miss out on those precipitation opportunities, according to the latest predictions from the National Weather Service.
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, NOAA’s Satellite and Information Services produce maps of snow and ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere. On those images, snow is visible in the Sierra Nevada, the Rockies and from the northern Plains into the Northeast. Snowy areas may see some thawing or additional accumulations but, as Fisher points out, probably won’t change too dramatically in the coming days, since no big warm-ups are expected.
Holiday travel plans can be disrupted by weather in other parts of the country as well, but the NOAA outlook calls for normal precipitation in the Northern Tier and on most of the Eastern Seaboard. Parts of the Southeast and the Gulf Coast look like they will be a bit drier than normal.
Much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation, and especially including portions of the central and southern Plains, the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, and the South are likely to have above-normal temperatures, according to NOAA’s outlook. The Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies are expected to see normal temperatures.
Beyond that, forecasters expect that holiday predictions will come into sharper focus in the next few days.