This is due to a La Niña weather episode in the Pacific Ocean, according to weather experts.
With Christmas Eve just three days away, although it is still early to pinpoint exactly, there is a possibility of snow in the forecast, according to National Weather Service forecasters.
The forecast today through Saturday concludes that, “A stronger area of low pressure will move into the West Coast Wednesday night and into the Rockies on Thursday.”
The energy of the system is expected to run through phases, eventually creating a “Closed, low-moving front south from the Great Lakes into the Ohio Valley and would generally track the surface low through the Mid-South on Friday. Behind the storm, an Arctic high is projected to build,” according to the forecast discussion.
“More interesting is the latest run which takes the closed low due east across the southern Rockies and southern Plains by Friday afternoon. It brings a short-wave south from the Midwest and the two become phased slightly earlier and more south into the Tennessee River Valley by Friday evening.”
Could it be a “White Christmas” for the area?
According to the discussion, “This would bring the Mid-South a faster changeover from rain to snow as the surface low track would be to our south and the upper level low nearly overhead. The solution could bring accumulating snow and therefore a White Christmas to the area.”
Frigid temperatures have grasped the Tennessee Valley and much of the South during the past two weeks.
After dipping below freezing just over a week ago Sunday, temperatures remained under the mark until Thursday. Officials shut down schools Thursday due to residual icing caused by a rain/sleet/ice event Wednesday evening. Area 911 dispatchers answered more than 250 calls due to the weather.
In January this year, commuters were caught in snowy weather after a nosedive in temperatures and conditions for snow became evident.
Some 3.8 inches of snow fell in most areas in town, with as much as 6.3 inches reported in other areas of the county.
Emergency managers consulted with Bradley County and Cleveland City school officials and students were dismissed at noon on Jan. 30, allowing for safe passage home.
A La Niña system occurs when the waters in the Pacific are cooler than normal — opposite of an El Niño.
“In the continental U.S., during El Niño years, temperatures in the winter are warmer than normal in the North Central States, and cooler than normal in the Southeast and the Southwest. During a La Niña year, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler than normal in the Northwest.
El Niño was originally recognized by fisherman off the coast of South America as the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific ocean, occurring near the beginning of the year. El Niño means The Little Boy, or Christ child, in Spanish. This name was used for the tendency of the phenomenon to arrive around Christmas. La Niña means The Little Girl. La Niña is sometimes called El Viejo, anti-El Niño, or simply ‘a cold event’ or ‘a cold episode,’” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration information center.