Snow for Christmas?

Weather Service says it’s possible

The Mid-Ohio Valley may see a white Christmas this year if the temperatures plunge as predicted by the National Weather Service.

Though rain is likely through Saturday and a good bit of Sunday, that precipitation may change from wet to flurries by 4 p.m. Sunday, heralding in the holiday with an evening of snow.

“The last white Christmas you had was in 2010,” said Nick Webb, a meteorologist out of the National Weather Service Charleston, W.Va., office. “It was documented at Athens as two inches then and the last one before that was in 1989.”

Webb said the weather service defines a white Christmas as at least an inch of snow on the ground by 7 a.m. Christmas morning.

“Depending on where you are in that area, the farther north you go, the more luck you’ll have that there will be snow on the ground,” he said. “We are forecasting in the area half an inch to an inch of snow that will mostly fall on Christmas even and into the late hours of the night when most people are asleep.”

Local residents have mixed feelings about snow on the holiday. Some are more worried about travel on an icy road, while others love the nostalgia of it.

“I was born and raised in northeast Ohio where snowfall is more common than in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” said Beau Cross, 25, of Marietta. “As a child I always looked forward to a white Christmas. Undeniably, as a 25-year-old adult, I still look forward to the same.”

But the freezing temperatures can also be a cause for concern for those on the road or expecting travelers.

“I hate a white Christmas (because) it makes it hard for grandparents to come visit,” said Katie Plas, 23, of Hannibal. “Some of my favorite Christmas memories are spending time with my parents and grandparents around the fireplace Christmas morning.”

In 2016, 44 percent of the contiguous U.S. was covered by snow on the holiday. On average, about 38 percent of the lower 48 states has snow on the ground on Christmas Day, according to 13 years of data compiled by NOAA’s National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.

Since 2003, those percentages have varied widely from year to year, from just more than 21 percent in 2003 to a whopping 63 percent of the contiguous U.S. in 2009.

Franci Bolden, 32, of Cutler, prefers the snowfall to come after all travels for the holiday are done, saying it’s not a necessity for Christmas.

“A very, very deep white after Christmas,” she described. “The peacefulness of winter can set in and I don’t have any visitors or anywhere I’m obligated to be. I can just sit on my warm, cozy couch wrapped in blankets with hot cocoa, a good movie and all of the windows open to the woods so I can see the crisp perfect white blanket. Or maybe even throw on a snow suit and go for a quiet walk with my cat.”

But for longtime resident of the valley Mary Beth Blondin, 68, of Marietta, it’s not Christmas without snow.

“It’s hard to make snow angels in the front yard without it and the college kids can’t go cafeteria tray sledding without it,” she said. “My kids asked me when they were little what did you get for Christmas and I’d tell them we’d get ice skates and we’d go skating over on the swamp in Williamstown because it was frozen all winter. People don’t remember that.”

Blondin said she loves snow, and remembers when the valley would be blanketed from the end of October through the end of February each year.

“How else do you get a sled moving,” she laughed. “Reindeer pulling on the streets just doesn’t work.”

Holiday forecast

¯ Saturday: Rain. Temperature falling to around 42 degrees by 5 p.m. Calm wind from the north in the morning.

¯ Saturday Night: A chance of rain before 8 p.m., then a chance of showers between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30 degrees. Northwest calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.

¯ Sunday: A slight chance of rain and snow showers between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 37 degrees. Light northwest wind. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.

¯ Sunday Night: A chance of snow showers, mainly before 4 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23 degrees. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.

¯ Christmas Day: Partly sunny, with a high near 31 degrees.

¯ Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20 degrees.

Source: National Weather Service.