Northeast Georgia welcomes winter today and a forecast calling for a sunny, cool Christmas — as usual, with no snow in sight.
However, the final days of shopping and travel leading up to the holiday will be rainy and warm.
Ryan Willis, forecaster for the National Weather Service’s Peachtree City office, said conditions headed into this weekend “are going to be unseasonably warm, much warmer than what we would expect on average for this time of year.”
Temperatures are expected to reach into the mid-60s today and upper 60s by Sunday, perhaps even near 70. But with the warmth comes a chance of storms.
“Along with (these warmer temperatures) does come a good chance for rainfall, especially headed into overnight (tonight) and during the day on Sunday,” Willis said.
“And with that, we are looking at the possibility of some stronger thunderstorms on Sunday and maybe some isolated severe storms. That’s something that we are going to continue to watch. With any of these storms, that main threat would be some damaging winds and possibly some isolated tornadoes.”
Heading into early next week, the rain and clouds are expected to clear out, with a slight chance of rain Monday. By Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures are expected to drop back to normal for early winter.
“Forecasting for Christmas Eve is a high of about 50 and for Christmas Day, sunny with a high of about 48, so much more seasonal as we head toward the holiday. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day should remain dry and cool across the area,” Willis said.
The winter solstice today marks the shortest day of the year. The long-range outlook for the season has Northeast Georgia facing equal chances of experiencing temperatures near normal or above or below normal.
“The Climate Prediction Center has no clear signal as of now that has weather patterns that definitely look to say anything specific for the season,” Willis said. “That’s why they have (the area) in a pretty average prediction.”
He said the Climate Prediction Center looks at many different weather patterns in a statistical analysis to come to a conclusion for the seasons throughout the year.
“We’ll have to see what pans out over this winter. ... We do anticipate we will see some winter weather across the area at some point during the season, though,” Willis said.