White Christmas Chances 2014

Posted at 12:04 PM, Dec 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-19 12:04:44-05

WEST MICHIGAN — December has been a mild and quiet month across West Michigan, especially after 30 inches of snow fell in the month of November. The lack of snow had many wondering if this year was going to be a green Christmas across West Michigan.

Late last week, hope started showing up on the forecast models for those that have been wishing for a White Christmas. Weather forecasting models and certain indexes that are used to forecast in the long-range have pointed to a major shift in the weather pattern bringing a much colder and more active pattern around Christmas.

As we inch closer to the Holiday the weather forecasting models are agreeing on a large and strong low-pressure system that will impact the Great Lakes during the Christmas holiday but there are still minor differences in models that decide just how much snow will fall, where and when.

The two main weather forecasting models used in forecasting mid to long-range periods are the American model and the European model. The American model takes a more northerly track across the Great Lakes. This northerly route is a warmer approach bringing mild conditions into the Great Lakes allowing for most of the precipitation that falls in West Michigan to be rain on Christmas Eve. Snow will eventually wrap around into West Michigan Thursday as winds will become gusty out of the northwest. While this scenario does bring some snow on Christmas, snow accumulation looks minimal if the latest runs of the American model pan out.

American (GFS) Model (00z model run)

American (GFS) Model (00z model run)

The European model takes a more southerly approach, which will allow temperatures to be slightly colder. This southerly turn is more conducive to an earlier transition over to snow, allowing for better chances of more widespread accumulating snow. This scenario would bring the heaviest snow to the Upper Peninsula but bring a large area of moderate snow to West and Mid-Michigan. While this scenario brings widespread chances of snow, the amount of snow would likely be just a few inches in some areas.


European Model (00z run)

It is important to add that BOTH weather forecast models do NOT show any significantly large totals of snow for West Michigan. The difference between models is likely a dusting to at most half a foot but at this far out it is very reckless to issue any sort of snow total forecast. We will continue to monitor the models as we close in on the Christmas holiday and bring you updates on-air and on but at least it looks like many parts of Michigan will see a good chance of having some snow on Christmas Day.