The high temperature this Christmas Day in Grand Rapids was 52°. That occurred at 2:40 am. It was the warmest Christmas Day in G.R. since a 59° reading in 2015. The warmest Christmas ever in G.R. was 65° in 1982. We had a thundershower and an inch of rain that day. I also picked a dandelion in my front yard. We had 5 days in Dec. 1982 with high temperatures in the 60s. One year later in 1983, we had our coldest Christmas at -3°.

The map above shows high temperatures for Saturday (Christmas Day). It was colder as you went northwest…the high was just 16 in Duluth and I’m glad I didn’t spend the day in Saskatoon, Canada. Very cold air cov ers a good portion of Central, Northern and Southwest Canada. Vancouver in British Columbia had their first white Christmas in 13 years. At mid-afternoon, it was snowing with temperatures in the mid 30s in Seattle. San Francisco had a small thundershower with a temp. of 49. The cool air is plunging south to the desert, where the forecast for Phoenix AZ is for high temperatures from the mid 50s to low 60s each of the next 7 days.

Record high temperatures were the rule from Texas up to the Ohio Valley. Among the records on Christmas Day: 84 in Houston, 82 in Dallas (avg. high is 56) and 77 at Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Louisville KY reached 75 and Cincinnati (Lufkin) climbed to 70. Indianapolis missed their record high for Dec. 25 by just one deg. (63.)

Christmas Day Record High Temperatures by State

This map from the Weather Prediction Center is a preliminary look at record highest temperatures for Christmas Day by state. New state records for December appear to have been set in AK, MO, IN, IL, and TX. Now, keep in mind several factors are important here. One is the accuracy of the reading. I’ve notedd that of a sudden, Rio Grande Village TX has popped up very often as the hottest temperature in the U.S. Here’s a check on some other high temps. in SW Texas. There was a 93° from the mesonet weather station near Castolon. The next highest reading after that is 88°. I’d be interested in the siting of the Rio Grande Village weather station, the quality of aspiration (the fan blowing air through the station if that’s the design), how close is the weather station to buildings, etc. Then there is a question of the length of data. It’s a whole lot easier to set a record high temperature for the date when you have 25 years of record as opposed to 150 years of record. From the NWS: “Even using xmACIS2, this was not easy. Cooperative sites report in the morning, meaning Dec 25 values could be from the 24th. Airports/NWS offices report midnight to midnight LST. There could be uncaught errors with the graphic.”

The cold air is getting closer. BAMWX is also singing a colder tune for early Jan.

Severe Weather Outlook Map from the Storm Prediction Center

Isn’t this a strange map…it’s the thunderstorm outlook for the PM/night. No severe weather is forecast, but some unusual places could hear thunder today. The first outlook covers most all of Illinois and Indiana – and comes up into S Wisconsin and SW Michigan. This would be mainly for Sunday night – not during the day. The second outlook is over the Mountain West and the third is along the West Coast.

Fire Danger Dec. 26 – Sunday

Fire danger for the Southern High Plains this PM. A combination of dry ground, low humidity and strong winds has elevated the risk.

Evening Planets

This graphic from the G.R. NWS shows the planets that grace our evening sky right now. Venus is getting lower in the WSW after sunset. It’s a crescent, even though it looks round to you. It will continue to sink closer to the horizon at sunset as we progress through winter. Jupiter and Saturn are much bigger than Venus, but they are much farther away. Saturday evening we had a waning (less and less of the moon is visible each night) moon that was about 2/3rds full.

ALSO: Phoenix AZ had their wettest Christmas Eve in 80 years. Flagstaff and Phoenix recorded rainfall totals of at least an inch within the 24-hour period Friday night. Another snowstorm from N. Dakota to Upper Michigan. I’ve walked this beach a couple times. Beautiful snow in Colorado. Christmas double rainbow. Sunspot # is increasing. White Christmas in western Washington. Volcano-nadoes! Tornadoes hit Alabama on Christmas Day in 2012. The first snow of the season fell in Tokyo about 10 minutes after Christmas day ended. The chance of Tokyo seeing a White Christmas is less than 5% based on the data from 1961 to 2017. -40 wind chill factor in Montana. Snow on the coast of British Columbia.

Arctic Air Moves into the Northern Plains

The Arctic air moves into the N. Plains…getting closer to W. Michigan. Lake Michigan is open water with a water temp. near 40 degrees. We’re always looking at the possibility of lake-effect snow. The NWS takes Green Bay to +4F…pretty chilly.

And…you can own the car that Jimmy Stewart drove into a tree during the filming of “It’s a Wonderful Life?. Sam Wainwright’s car was a Duesenberg SJ town car limo. Ralphie’s dad’s car in A Christmas Story was a 1938 Oldsmobile touring sedan.