Meteorologist Mark’s Wx Blog for Sunday, Dec. 20

Headlines 

A pleasant start to Christmas week

Turning much colder for Christmas

Snowflakes possible for Christmas Eve

Meteorologist Mark’s Vlog in a Flash

48-Hour WX

Seven-Day Forecast

Daily Forecast Summary

Today: Morning showers, followed by mostly cloudy skies.

Monday – Tuesday: Partly cloudy and mild. Pleasant for December.

Wednesday: Increasing cloudiness, with showers developing overnight. Winds increasing.

Thursday: Showers, possibly mixed with snow before dark. Becoming light snow overnight.

Friday: Cold. Scattered flurries. Total snowfall of less than one inch expected.

Saturday: Mostly sunny and continued cold.

Threats

Confidence is increasing that we’ll see some snow flakes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Confidence is also increasing that the snowfall won’t amount to too much. Still, it would be nice to see some snow flakes fly around for the holiday! Stay tuned for any changes that may come with this forecast.

Meteorologist Mark’s Snow Scale

On This Day in Wx History

1836 – A famous cold wave occurred in central Illinois. A cold front with 70 mph winds swept through at noon dropping the temperature from 40 degrees to near zero in a matter of minutes. Many settlers froze to death. Folklore told of chickens frozen in their tracks and men frozen to saddles. Ice in streams reportedly froze to six inches in a few hours.

Almanac

Yesterday’s National Temperature Extremes

High: 84° at Laguna Atascosa, Brownsville, Harlingen, & Linn, Texas  

Low: -15° at Mount Tabor, Vermont

Today’s National Wx Hazards

Accumulating snowfall can be found across much of the Northeast and Upper Midwest, as well as across the northern tier of the US, stretching back to the northern Rockies.

Tomorrow’s National Wx Hazards

More accumulating snowfall can be found across portions of the Northeast, Upper Midwest and northern Rockies once again.

 Sunday Story

Humans have looked to the heavens for signs and wonders since man first breathed life on this Earth. Some things never change. 

Meteorologists are often asked about astronomical things. I suppose it’s because it’s easier to find a meteorologist than it is to find an astronomer. Thankfully, many of us taken astronomy courses and often have a profound interest in the subject. 

Lately, people have been sharing stories on social media about a big Christmas star that is supposed to appear the night of the 21st. While there will be a brighter “star” in the sky, I’m afraid many will be disappointed if they think they’ll see something like the star being shared in dramatic social media posts. 

So, what is this Christmas star about?

Over the past several months, Jupiter and Saturn have been putting on quite the show in the evening sky. Slowly but surely, they have been moving closer and closer to each other. Jupiter is by far the brightest, with a dimmer Saturn trailing close behind in the evening sky. Just look to the southwest sky after sunset and you can’t miss the pair. 

By the 21st, the two will meet. We call this a conjuncture. The two planets get close enough to each other to look like a single star in the sky about every 20 years. However, it’s been nearly 400 years since they have gotten as close as they will this month!    

So, there will certainly be a brighter “star” in the sky for our Christmas holidays, but it will look much like Jupiter does now, with perhaps a bit of a brighter glow added. 

Perhaps the union of Jupiter and Saturn this Christmas season is a sign more than a wonder. Life is always better when we come together and celebrate the most special season of all!

Special Note

Many of you have been following my family’s journey with my dad on Facebook lately but some of you only follow me here. My dad is very sick and we are having our fourth surgery in a month today. He is a type 1 diabetic and 30 years of diabetes has taken a heavy toll. With the help of the best doctors, we are fighting to keep dad with us and to keep his feet and legs. It’s been a battle that continues to rage. Just keep him in your prayers today if you would. And please remember us, too. Dad will require continuous help when he gets home from the hospital and that will likely be a new normal for us, though it’s not far from the normal we already knew, as dad has severe neuropathy and is nearly completely blind now. Just pray that we can do our best and that God allows us to keep dad around a while longer. And pray that dad can enjoy a decent quality of life. Thank you so much!

You all have a great day!

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