The big weather headline remains the bitter blast of cold set to move in ahead of Christmas.
The major cold wave will arrive on Thursday with an arctic front that will also deliver some measurable snowfall. Winter Storm Watches have been posted for areas north of Hwy. 60.
Temperatures will plunge Thursday from the 30s near sunrise to near zero by the end of the day. Wind chills will drop to -20° by late afternoon Thursday and to -30° Thursday night. A Wind Chill Warning has been posted for Thursday through Christmas Eve for most of Southern Missouri. Wind chills this low are rare and dangerous. The Springfield National Weather Service mentioned wind chills haven’t been this low since 1989.
Driving conditions will also be dangerous, with strong wind gusts generating near-blizzard conditions as the snow moves through. The snow will blow around and drift with general totals of 3 to 5″ north of Hwy. 60 to 1 to 3″ to the south.
Road conditions could be very slick. Road temperatures will initially be above freezing as some rain/snow moves in with the front. Wet roads may not have enough time to dry as temperatures plunge, resulting in an icy glaze that gets covered by snow.
The snow will end by Thursday evening, but untreated roads will remain snow-covered into the holiday weekend.
Thursday will be the beginning of a dangerous cold wave that will result in the coldest December temperatures in decades. Christmas Eve is shaping up to be the coldest since 1983!
Any snow that falls Thursday will be on the ground into Christmas Day increasing the odds of a white Christmas, something we haven’t seen since 2009.
The cold wave will start to relax on Christmas Day with afternoon highs near freezing. The warmer temperatures combined with sunshine should lead to improving road conditions.
Another clipper will sweep through Monday with a quick cold shot and possibly some snow. The cold pattern should relax during the following week with highs well above freezing ahead of the New Years weekend.