With the warmer than normal start to December lots of people are wondering if the trend will last heading into Christmas. Here in the Southeast it looks like a pretty good bet that the pattern, for the most part, will hold together through the end of the month. All of this is in response to the strengthening El Nino in the Pacific. Take a look at the the 8-14 day temperature forecast that runs through December 21st.
The entire Eastern two thirds of the nation is forecat to have above normal temperatures with the greatest certainty being across the Great Lakes and the Northeast! In fact Buffalo, NY has yet to see any snow which breaks the record for the latest date in the season without any measurable snowfall.
To go with above normal temperatures one would expect above normal rainfall during El Nino episodes such as this, and that is exactly what is forecast. So far we have yet to see much rain materialize this December, but a few strong storm systems are poised to moved through. One especially on the way this Sunday could bring some locally heavy showers and t-showers.
Taking a look at the 500 mb flow through the next several weeks, it appears that the trend will be to keep the ridge in the east and the trough in the west. The only exception will be the occasional trough slipping through quickly limiting our chance for any extended periods of rain.
So all in all I think would be safe to say that the month of December will turn out to be much warmer than normal. As for precipitation our chance for seeing any snow is about as low as it gets, but with the warm air in place we do need to watch for the possibility of severe t-storms with the passage of these quick moving systems between now and the end of the month.