Unseasonably warm Christmas forecast

By Mary Katherine Murphy - [email protected]

LAURINBURG —Though Thursday’s rain showers will give way to cooler weather today, anyone dreaming of a white Christmas will likely be disappointed as unseasonably warm weather returns next week.

“You’ve got the front that’s almost on top of you right now, so the rain is going to be tapering off overnight and cold air is going to start rushing in,” meteorologist Michael Moneypenny of the National Weather Service’s Raleigh office said on Thursday.

Temperatures have the potential to delve below 30 on both Saturday and Sunday morning, but Jack Frost won’t be here to stay.

“We have a big warm up on the way for the week leading into Christmas,” said Moneypenny. “We start really getting into some southerly flow and mid-60s for Monday.”

Showers — leaving one to two inches of rain — are expected to return next week as temperatures ascent to the mid-70s on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We don’t cool off much if any; it looks like we’re going to stay in the very warm air at Christmas,” Moneypenny said. “It might be a little bit cooler and cloudier.”

Scotland County’s average high temperatures in late December are typically in the low 50s. Although this month has brought temperatures 20 degrees higher, Moneypenny said that this year isn’t setting records.

“We see this every winter when we have a warm spell in the east as the west freezes. The pattern will shift and we’ll get the cooler air out of the west and out of the East Coast.”

But that’s unlikely to happen before Santa is safely back at the North Pole.

Climatalogical patterns associated with El Nino indicate more precipitation than usual this winter, so the warmer temperatures are just as well as extra moisture moves in from the Gulf of Mexico.

“If we had the cold air, then this would not be snow, it would be ice storm type of weather, so we’ll take warm tempeoratures,” said Moneypenny.

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.

By Mary Katherine Murphy

[email protected]

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