Narrowing down Christmas Eve Storm options and travel conditions

22 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Christmas Eve could bring storms, upper 60s to Charlotte area.

Chilly conditions and light rain are expected for parts or all of Monday and Tuesday in the Charlotte area, and that will be followed on Christmas Eve by heavier rain and a chance of thunderstorms.

Cooler temperatures toward the middle of the week come courtesy of a cold front in North Florida making its way south, according to Brad Diehl, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.As a record number of Americans prepare to hit the road for the holidays, a massive storm is poised to disrupt travel plans for two-thirds of the nation. Starting Tuesday, the system — stretching from the Midwest down to the South and up the East Coast — will bring heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds that are likely to cause travel headaches on the roads and flight delays from the Great Lakes to the Mid-Atlantic and New England. “We worry about any kind of weather when it comes to holiday travel,” Weather Prediction Center meteorologist Brian Hurley said. “A lot of airports will be affected.

Temperatures were chilly enough around daybreak for spotty freezing drizzle to fall in the northwest mountains of North Carolina, but no significant icing problems were reported. Wednesday night brings a 60 percent chance of showers and temperatures in the upper-60s. “Christmas Day we’ll start to feel the effect of the cold front,” Diehl said. “The winds behind the cold front will start to enter the area Thursday night close to Friday.” Because of improvements in the economy and lower gas prices — down nearly 80 cents from the same period last year— AAA is expecting 98.6 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more for Christmas.

By afternoon, most spots should see temperatures rise above freezing into the mid-30s or so. (However, locations near the I-81 corridor in western Virginia and west central Maryland may have temperatures hover around freezing through the afternoon, extending the ice threat.) Winds are light out of the northeast. Whether or not low pressure forms along it and brings significant precipitation to the region is a wild card, but at least a few rain showers seem likely and they could change to snow if enough cold air comes in (low chance).

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