Our white Christmas may be greenish-white

Posted at 6:35 PM, Dec 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-21 18:44:06-05

WEST MICHIGAN — We’ve been talking the last several days about the development of a big storm system around Christmas. The more I track this system with our forecast models, the more I continue to see only wind, rain, and minor snow accumulations.

A low pressure system off to our west will generate rain showers by Monday evening/overnight. More rain is likely on Tuesday, especially through about mid-day as the low lifts in to Wisconsin. I would expect a break in the action later Tuesday and at least part of Tuesday night before the main low (a stronger one) lifts in to Michigan from the south/west. This one will bring another slug of moisture with it, but our temperatures are expected to remain at 40 or better through at least mid-day Christmas Eve.

We should see a changeover from rain to snow showers Wednesday afternoon/evening. Winds will increase once the low lifts through the area and colder air will filter in Christmas Eve evening. At this point only an inch or two of snow is expected in to Christmas Day. Can this change? Absolutely…but the fact is two of our main forecast models (GFS and EURO for you weather geeks) are showing warm enough air at the surface for this to be mainly a rain event. The image attached to this story is a snapshot from our computer forecast model FutureTrack HD. It’s valid for Wednesday, Christmas Eve at 2:00 PM. Note the big “L” or low pressure area to our south and all of the moisture in green, denoting liquid precipitation or rain. Note also that it’s not painting any snow behind this system. Santa may need to swap out the snow runners for tires on the sleigh!

Temperatures behind this system will not be cold enough for lake-effect snow and the deepest moisture should be pulling away with the low Christmas Eve night before any significant accumulations occur. I said several days ago that I believed West Michigan would have a green Christmas. I envision windy conditions, snow showers, and some white on the grassy areas here and there arriving literally in the last few hours before Santa. NO MAJOR SNOWSTORM!

In order to qualify for a white Christmas we need one inch of snow on the ground. Frankly, we may not have that by Christmas Eve night, but perhaps by Christmas morning! Either way…have a very pleasant, peaceful holiday season! You can always get the complete forecast at