Warming this weekend means a seasonable Christmas

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 5:56 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The general west-to-east flow of the jet stream has turned wavy from the Eastern Pacific to the U.S. The wavy jet stream allowed the polar vortex over northern Canada to lose its grip on some of its coldest air, and that cold air has invaded much of the central U.S. Temperatures have been more than 20 degrees higher in Utqiagvic, Alaska (on the northern coast) as compared to Denver.

Those temperature differences aren’t all that uncommon when the jet stream takes on that wavy pattern. Cold air tends to follow the southward dipping waves in the jet stream, one of which is bringing extreme cold into the central U.S. Warmer air follows the northward bulging waves in the jet stream, one of which is over Alaska right now. Cold air incursions like this usually do happen in waves, and the waves themselves shift - usually eastward. That’s why the cold air over the U.S. is shifting from the Rocky Mountain States and the Great Plains to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

The Wavy Jet Stream’s Influence On Us

The warmer northward wave in the jet stream over the Eastern Pacific that is influencing Alaska’s weather will also shift east. It will be a big player in our weather this weekend and early next week. How will it affect us? It will bring warmer air into Colorado for Christmas. The coldest air will retreat, even around Denver and Colorado’s Eastern Plains, and temperatures will climb into the 40s and 50s statewide for Christmas Day.

Christmas On The Weather Slope

Christmas on the Western Slope will be seasonable or a couple of degrees warmer than seasonable. Expect a mostly sunny to partly cloudy sky with a high temperature near 41 degrees.

A White Christmas is unlikely here, but some spotty snow is possible tonight through early Friday morning. On Christmas Day, snow could fall over our northern mountains.

Our Next 24 Hours

This evening will be mostly cloudy. We’ll cool slowly through the 20s through 10 PM. Spotty areas of snow are possible by 10 PM. Snow could become more common after midnight, especially amid the higher terrain. Low temperatures by morning will be near 15 degrees around Grand Junction, 16 degrees around Montrose, 16 degrees around Delta, and 17 degrees around Cortez. Spotty areas of snow are possible through Friday morning, especially in the mountains. Accumulation will generally be less than an inch, and some areas in the valleys will not get any snow at all. Friday will be mostly cloudy after any lingering snow ends in the morning. High temperatures will be near 34 degrees around Grand Junction, 35 degrees around Montrose, 36 degrees around Delta, and 39 degrees around Cortez.