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12/7/2017 National Weather Service: don’t count on a White Christmas
Though 18 days off, whether Christmas Day will be white or not still rumbles around in residents’ and holiday visitors’ minds and conversations. Last year’s Christmas Eve snowstorm and ensuing whiteout ground blizzard on Christmas Day are quite memorable, especially since the winds knocked power out for hours and days in the area. Looking ahead though, Pueblo based National Weather Service meteorologist Klint Skelly says that “Unless we have some significant shift, as of right now it doesn’t look like we’ll have any precipitation headed our way.” The Wet Mountain Valley can always be a quirky exception, depending on air flows and the upper atmosphere, but Skelly points out that a fairly entrenched La Nina pattern is holding sway. That means, he comments, “with the high pressure over the Pacific Northwest and the low pressure east of us, it just isn’t fortuitous for precipitation here.” Skelly points out though that “there will be some disturbances rippling through” this month, making at least for snowcapped peaks in the Sangres—so, perhaps a view of white Christmas on high will be provided by the weather. The temperature outlook is close to the long range normal however. Now that this week’s cold snap reminded Valley residents that meteorological winter is finally catching up to astrological winter, it’s good to remember that normal for this time of the year includes highs in the low 50s and high 40s. Lack of precipitation however always brings with it the concern for drought conditions, and the sketchy way in which our Valley often teeters on the brink of water scarcity. Again, the long range outlook is not discouraging; the area, while still considered in drought condition by the National Weather Service’s Seasonal Drought Outlook, is also noted as “improving” through February, 2018. In other words, the snows will come…eventually. In the meantime, rumor has it that Santa’s sleigh actually flies through the air, and does not depend on fresh powder snow to get to your kiddo’s household on Christmas Eve. – W.A. Ewing