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I have unofficially tagged this year's Christmas theme song as "Blue Christmas", made popular by Elvis Presley in 1964. Low clouds, rain, perhaps some fog and drizzle will dominate the holiday period. It will be very mild, but dark, damp, and dismal in the visual sense. Personally, I'll be somewhat blue without Christmas snow, but will rely on my memories of the white ones past and the joy and hope of the season to get me through! Maybe next year...

The dreary "blue Christmas" set-up gets underway Thursday as a series of disturbances rotate through the Midwest all the way into Wednesday of next week. The lengthy period of gloomy conditions is the result of SW flow that scoops warm moist air into the central U.S. This is quite a change when you look at the water vapor anomalies over the nation Tuesday that were only 30-40 percent of normal. That's very dry air.

The actual values came in around 1/10th of an inch. That is extremely dry air.

By Christmas Eve night, PWAT's have increased to the point where they are pushing 400 percent (above normal). Up around Hudson Bay, they are closer to 500 percent above normal. That is eye-popping for late December.

The actual PWAT values are projected as high as 1.28 inches in southeast Iowa, Christmas Eve. This is no doubt going to lead to a saturated atmosphere and a dense low cloud canopy. PWAT's greater than an inch will be in the 99th percent of climatology, according to SPC soundings. A 1-inch plus sounding at the NWS office in the Quad Cities would be in the top 20 all-time for the month of December.

There's even a small surface based CAPE, which could lead to some widely thundershowers.

Something else unique the NWS pointed out is that dew points are expected to exceed 40 Friday and remain there through at least December 25th. The only other time the Quad City airport saw an extended stretch of 40+ dew points for that long in December 1998. Notice too, humidity values of 95-100 percent are indicated December 23rd through 25th. I will be very shocked if we don't get into some periods of dense fog with that level of saturation. That could create some hazardous travel conditions at night.

As for temperatures, you can see modeling has highs in the Quad Cities clustered near 55 December 23rd-25th.

That is short of the record for warmest Christmas, but will easily be in the top 5-10 percent of all-time warmest Christmas day highs. Record warm lows may be a more serious threat, with records in the upper 40s to near 50, very much in reach Christmas Eve as well as Christmas night. Something to keep an eye on.

As for rain, there are two periods that stand out. The first comes Thursday night and perhaps part of Friday morning. The southeast is favored for the heavier amounts as warm advection kicks in ahead of a warm front over SE Iowa. Amounts should generally be 1/4 inch or less.

A much more significant short wave ejects out of the Southwest Christmas Eve and Christmas day. With a prolonged period of lift (upglide) and ample moisture, this has some serious potential as a beneficial rain producer. Again, scattered convection is even possible. Here's what guidance is suggesting for rain totals. This includes both rain events discussed above.



Eventually, low pressure and an associated cold front passes the region Tuesday (post Christmas). Colder air will drop temperatures to more seasonal levels the middle of next week. There is the chance some light snow could work its way into the region later Wednesday, December 27th. Right now it looks to be light in nature and nothing that would disrupt travel. If nothing else, the overall pattern should return to one that is more typical of late December in terms of temperatures and precipitation. I will have more on that once the active period ahead of us is better sampled in the next 24–48 hours. Roll weather...TS



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The Little White Church is a fully renovated 18th century church nestled in the valleys of Jo Daviess county…just a little over five miles to the center of downtown Galena. With all the amenities of a five-star hotel, the Little White Church offers beautiful historic touches with comfort and style. Every group we have hosted to date has given us a perfect 5-star rating. We are considered a Superhost by Arbnb.

We have five beds, three full bathrooms, full kitchen with dishware, small appliances, ice maker, a luxurious private master suite with en-suite and private deck, a large main floor deck, attached two-car garage, fire pit, gas grill, and 2700 sq feet of space to sprawl out You will not find a more modern and historic place to unwind and get away from it all. Furthermore, we are now decorated for the holidays, so get your holiday spirit cranked up and come and join us. I also can arrange a talk about the Christmas Eve weather scenario with Santa’s favorite meteorologist! Just text me at 563 676 3320.



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