Overall travel will be fairly smooth during the Christmas weekend. There are several details I need to tell you about. First I want to turn your attention to the image on the left. Yes, that is my excellent art work using Microsoft Paint :) I put together a quick outlook for you in the shape of a calendar. I colored each day either green (for good travel conditions) or red (for bad travel conditions). It took me a while to choose the color options! There are details within each day, which I will also describe below.
So the timeframe you really need to watch out for include Friday morning to midday, Saturday night, then the middle of Christmas week between Wednesday and Thursday.
Friday - We'll have a very strong storm moving in, which will spread snow and sleet across our area in the morning, then change to rain in the afternoon. Winds will be very strong with that system too, so it may disrupt flights. On the ground, I do anticipate some snow/sleet accumulation of a couple of inches, especially east of the Champlain Valley and once you travel above 1,000 feet, which many area roads do reach. Certainly Friday morning's commute on the ground looks much worse than the afternoon, because the wintry mix will change over to rain by the afternoon.
Saturday night - We'll have a cold front moving through the region with snow showers likely. Many areas won't see much snow accumulation, but again once you traverse through the higher elevations that may change. Watch out especially carefully along the eastern side of the Champlain Valley, from Enosburg Falls to Underhill to Ripton to Mendon in Vermont. The western-facing slopes of the Adirondacks, Greens, and Whites will get the most snow accumulation on Saturday/Saturday night.
Christmas Day - There are a couple of discrepancies regarding this day. One reliable weather model points to a couple of inches of light snow, while another keeps us dry. So I'm sticking on the safe side in the middle. Plan for snow showers just in case, but again if it does pan out to be the 'snow' option, you're looking at relatively light and slower snow rates.
Wednesday/Thursday - Of course, with a forecast several days out there is a much greater chance that it could be wrong. There are long range models that do point to a stronger system developing across the Gulf Coast states and heading northeast into our region by Wednesday and Thursday.
Remember you can always stay up to date with our weather section:
And we hope you have a safe and wonderful end to the 2012 year!
-Meteorologist Steve Glazier