New York May Have a Chance for Snow on Christmas Day, Weather Service Says

This week will start chilly and windy in Manhattan and may end with snow, according to the National Weather Service.

“We do have a chance of snow in the forecast for Christmas,” said Brian Ciemnecki, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York. “It’s a little early to tell right now. We’re still looking at it.”

Accumulation of snow depends on temperature and moisture when the system arrives, Ciemnecki said.

For a Christmas to be considered white, there has to be an inch of snow on the ground at 7 a.m., Ciemnecki said. The snowiest Christmas on record in Central Park was in 1909, when 7 inches (18 centimeters) fell, according to the weather service.

“If it were to snow on Christmas but it didn’t start until 2, then technically it wouldn’t be a white Christmas,” he said.

The last significant snowfall on Christmas was in 2002 when 5 inches fell, the third-most on record going back to 1870, according to the weather service. In 2003, a trace of snow fell on Christmas Day.

Gas futures gained as weather may be colder than normal on the East Coast and U.S. South from Dec. 27 through Jan. 2, according to the Climate Prediction Center’s latest eight- to 14-day outlook issued yesterday. Earlier forecasts had showed above-normal temperatures in New England during that period.

The forecast calls for normal temperatures in the Midwest and warmer weather in the Pacific Northwest and parts of Texas.

Winter Forecast

Most of the U.S. will see below-normal temperatures in January, according to the Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. The northern Plains are expected to have below-normal temperatures through March and the U.S. Northeast may warm slightly in February before cooling again, according to the forecast released today.

Natural gas for January delivery rose 9.3 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $4.159 per million British thermal units at 1:33 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The heating degree days value for Central Park this month has been 596, or 110 above normal, according to the weather service.

The value, calculated by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees, is designed to show energy demand, according to the weather service. The higher the value, the cooler the weather, and thus the more energy probably being used to heat homes and business.

The value in Boston is 598, or 58 above normal; 601 in Philadelphia, or 105 above normal; and 854 in Chicago, or 185 above normal, according to the weather service.

Storm Advisories

Across the country, a low-pressure system is threatening the upper Midwest with heavy snow today, according to the weather service. Winter storm advisories and warnings stretch from Chicago’s suburbs to Montana.

Snow has forced delays of more than 90 minutes for flights arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and 30 minutes in Minneapolis, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website. Delays of almost an hour have been reported at Newark, New Jersey, because of wind and more than 2 hours in San Francisco because of low cloud cover.

A lingering storm that brought clouds to New York over the weekend has prompted hurricane storm-force wind warnings off the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to Massachusetts.

Winds in the Gulf Stream off the coast are forecast to peak at 75 miles per hour (120 kilometers) today and waves may reach 27 feet, according to the weather service.

“As a consequence we will get some high seas off shore and some potential for some beach erosion,” said Charlie Foley, a weather service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts.

The storm will also bring snow periods to eastern Massachusetts, particularly along Cape Cod, where 2 to 4 inches may fall through the course of the week, Foley said.

“It is just going to throw periodic snow into the area as it meanders around out there,” Foley said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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