Will You have a White Christmas or Thunderstorms?

December 24, 2016 / General

Will you have a white Christmas or thunderstorms? As is typically the case, the northern tier of our United States and higher elevation mountainous areas will not be needing dreams, or good ole’ Mr. Crosby for their snow this Christmas.

NOAA Snow Cover Map

As for those across the Central Plains and Deep South still dreaming? Put that white Christmas notion out of your mind, and cue up some playlist alternatives. 

While Cupid gets its’ own holiday in February, Dancer and Dasher have New Year’s Eve to celebrate, and Rudolph gets a made-for-TV special courtesy of Montgomery Ward in 1939, Christmas 2016 may be more about two less well known of Santa’s gaming gift haulers.

Warm and moist Gulf of Mexico air will invade the Central and Southern Great Plains in a spring-like encroachment on winter’s first week. The NOAA Storm Prediction Center has already identified this area for the possibility of severe “dunder”storms. 

SPC Day 2 Outlook
 
As any child can tell you, the origins of our Santa Claus stories are rooted in the stories of St Nicholas of Myra and the Dutch Sinterklaas. But the jolly old fellow is not the only contribution the Dutch have made to Christmas celebrations the world over. 

In 1823 the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was anonymously published in the Troy Sentinel. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? A couple of Dutch reindeer to make every meteorologist’s year! 

What better way to explain the raw power with which cargo-carrying Santa speeds through the atmosphere than to use Dunder and Blixem (Dutch words for Thunder and Lightning)! In the same way that “Dunder”storms redistribute copious amounts of heat and moisture all around the world, our two favorite reindeer (sorry Rudolph) serve as the mythical delivery mechanism for all those Christmas toys. 

And don’t forget, when Dunder roars, go indoors! You don’t want to get struck by Blixem. 

The Weather Radio or RadarScope apps make great stocking stuffers. Download them now, in time to follow Dunder and Blixem tomorrow!

Dr. Kevin Kloesel

Kevin is the University Meteorologist for the Office of Emergency Preparedness at the University of Oklahoma. He is responsible for weather forecasting and decision-making for events on the OU campus, serves as an advisor to the University on emergency planning for weather hazards of all types, and teaches classes in the OU School of Meteorology focused on weather forecasting for venues. In addition, Kevin chairs the Weather Advisory Board for the Event Safety Alliance, and is a contributing writer for Campus Safety Magazine, Protocol - The Journal of the Entertainment Technology Industry, and Event Safety Insights Magazine. He has appeared on numerous national, regional and local media programs including The Weather Channel’s WXGeeks, SXSW Eco, Live Design International’s Live Outside, WeatherBrains, and the National Academies of Sciences Distinctive Voices. Kevin is a certified Oklahoma Emergency Manager, the Director of the Oklahoma Climate Survey, and an associate professor in the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at OU.