Those dreaming of a white Christmas can sing “Let it Snow,” but the chance of that happening here today is still pretty low, the National Weather Service says.
Weather Channel predictions Tuesday of a 30 percent chance of snow in Columbus this afternoon made some imagine walking in a winter wonderland.
But Weather Service meteorologist Matt Sena said it was doubtful Columbus would get enough gulf moisture with low daytime temperatures for snowfall.
“Not that someone couldn’t see some light snow or light sleet ... probably a mix, if it occurs, but it would be very light, and temperatures should be well up to the lower 40s in the afternoon,” he said.
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So the Weather Service forecast had a “slight chance” of “sprinkles and flurries” after 1 p.m. today, with that slight chance of flurries continuing until 1 a.m.
AccuWeather.com was predicting the high today would hit 44 degrees about 2 p.m., under cloudy skies with little chance of precipitation. The weather website noted the temperatures expected today are much colder than the normal high of 61 and low of 40 degrees for this date.
It predicted a low tonight of 23 degrees, close to the record 22 degrees set in 2006.
Last year the high Dec. 8 was 64 degrees and the low was 50, AccuWeather said.
Sena said the Weather Service expected a low tonight of 24 degrees, but the temperature could drop near the record low if the clouds clear out early, as overcast skies reflect heat radiating from the ground.
A chance of snow is expected Sunday night as a low-pressure system crosses the country with more cold air from the northwest sweeping down behind it, Sena said. A steady jet-stream-driven flow of arctic air from the northwest is what brought freezing temperatures to the Southeast this week, he said.
“There’s a pretty good chance of some showers during the day on Sunday, and very cold air spilling in behind it, so if there’s any moisture left behind it, we could have some flurries with that, too,” he said.
Overall the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expecting a warmer, drier winter for the Southeast, thanks to a December through February weather pattern influenced by La Niña, the name given cooler than normal water temperatures in the Pacific. Unlike El Niño, when the Pacific waters are warmer than normal and the Southeast has a wetter winter -- like last year -- the La Niña weather pattern raises the risk of drought and wildfires in this region, NOAA says.
This is “Winter Weather Awareness Week” in Georgia, when residents are urged to consider the safety precautions to take in the event of a heavy snow or ice storm. The National Weather Service station in Peachtree City, Ga., said that last winter, Atlanta had a total of 5.3 inches of snow, Athens had 5 inches, Macon had 2 inches and Columbus had 3 inches.
Tim Chitwood, 706-571-8508