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With no snowfall in the Tri-County yet, a ‘white Christmas’ is unlikely

Christmas snow
David Zalubowski/AP
A light coating of snow covers holiday ornaments hung on the fence outside a Denver home after a storm swept over the region and deposited the first snow of the season Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Don't expect any snow in the Tri-County on Christmas morning, or maybe even through the end of the year.

“Basically, there's no appreciable chance that we'll have snow in the Peoria area by this weekend,” said Daryl Onton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln.

Despite the official arrival of winter on Tuesday, the NWS has only registered a trace amount of snow in Peoria so far this season. Normally, between 2 and 4 inches has accumulated by this point.

“There is some chance that we could see some mix of snow at times by the end of the year,” said Onton. “But even that is not looking promising to see any significant amounts of snow until till the end of the year.”

The extended wait for Peoria to see its first significant snow of the season is threatening a record that’s stood for more than a century. According to the NWS, Peoria’s latest first snowfall was Jan. 4, 1913.

Onton said that although Wednesday’s forecasted high in the mid 30s is slightly below normal, temperatures will be above average into the next week – reaching the upper 40s through the weekend and even “well into the 50s” on Christmas Eve.

“As we head farther out, more and more uncertainty creeps into the forecast,” said Onton. “We are looking at probably above normal temperatures being more likely towards the end of December. As we get into the first part of the year, our outlooks are more towards near normal temperatures, which could end up producing some snowfall.”

Peoria hasn’t gone past Christmas Day without measurable snow in more than 80 years, and it’s been five years since the last time the first snowfall came as late as Christmas Eve.

While conditions have been mild so far, Onton said that may change as winter progresses.

“As we get on into January, February and March, we project above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation overall,” said Onton. “I think with the ‘La Nina’ conditions that we're expecting this year though, there's probably a good chance that we'll see some below normal temperatures, at least for a period during, February.”

Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.