Wet, not White, Christmas week for Delaware looms
Sean Greene - WDEL
Delaware's 2nd coldest Christmas since 1969 possible
The hope of Delaware's first White Christmas in a decade might be fading, but that doesn't mean it won't be cold, and potentially icy in the First State on December 25.
Matt Powell of the Delaware Weather Network told WDEL that the First State will be dealing with a storm on starting in the late afternoon Thursday going through Friday evening, but instead of cutting off the coast and providing a blanket of snow, the storm could cut as far west as Detroit and bring 1-2 inches of rain.
"We're missing what is called a blocking high over Canada. What that high, if it's positioned correctly, does is stop the storm from passing to the west of us and keeps it off the coast.
That high is slowly drifting further north into Canada, and without that blocking high there, that will allow the storm to go west of us, and that will allow the warm air, as well."
Powell said that warm air could allow potentially record-breaking daily amounts of rain to fall for the second time in two weeks.
Wilmington saw 2.03 inches of rain on Friday, December 15 to set that day's record, and Powell said the marks of 1.63 inches from December 22, 1902 and 1.41 inches from December 23, 1907 could be in jeopardy depending on the storm's timing.
"Immediately we're talking about small stream and poor draining flooding with this storm."
A storm cutting through the Midwest would not create the traditional northeast winds of a Nor'Easter for Delaware, limiting coastal flooding threats, but as the counter-clockwise spin of the low pressure goes west of Delaware, Powell said the south wind brings the warmth, and still velocity.
"We're talking about winds 40-60 mph, and when you combine that with ground that is soaked, you could be looking at downed trees which could mean downed power lines."
One concern of Powell's is when the cold front finally reaches Delaware towards the end of the storm.
The temperatures which could make a run at 60 during Friday are going to collapse quickly, creating what is known as flash freezing.
"We're going to be watching temperatures tumble quickly down through the 30s and even the 20s by 8-9 o'clock. By the tail end of the evening rush you could be looking at icy conditions on any untreated roadways."
There does remain a chance that the drop could be accompanied by a few snow showers, which at least would have the potential to stick if things cool off quick.
Either way, Powell said once that cold front hits, it could be Monday or Tuesday before Delaware gets out of the freezing temperatures for highs.
Since 1969, Delaware has only had four Christmas Days with highs that didn't reach 31 degrees: 1980 (24), 1983 (10, with a low of -7), 1989 (27), and 2000 (25).
In each of those cases, there was either just a trace or no snow on the ground, similar to what could happen on Christmas 2022.
The National Weather Service is currently calling for 22 degrees on Christmas Eve, and 28 degrees on Christmas Day, with a low of 13 degrees when families are waiting for Santa.
"We may not see the white, but it will feel like Christmas," Powell said.