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One Big Difference Between Christmas Weather This Year Compared to Last

Published in 23 December, 2020

At a Glance

  • Last Christmas had well above average temperatures in parts of the Midwest and South.

  • It will be more than 20 or even 30 degrees colder in some cities this Christmas.

The weather pattern this year on Christmas Day will be the complete opposite from a year ago in parts of the Midwest and South, and that means you’ll need to bundle up.

A year ago on Christmas, high temperatures hit the upper 50s and lower 60s as far north as Iowa, Illinois, southern Wisconsin, southern Michigan and Ohio. Many parts of the South were able to break out t-shirts with afternoon readings in the upper 60s and 70s. In some cities, those high temperatures were 20 or more degrees above average.

Record-breaking warmth even occurred in a few Midwest cities. Des Moines, Iowa (60 degrees), Louisville, Kentucky (69 degrees), and Wichita, Kansas (68 degrees) were a few of the locations that set new daily record highs for Dec. 25

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High temperatures on Christmas Day in 2019.

(NOAA)

Fast-forward a year later and the weather pattern in those regions couldn’t be more different.

A deep, southward plunge of the jet stream will drive colder than average temperatures as far south as Florida on Friday. That means areas from the southern Great Lakes to South Florida will be more than 20 or even 30 degrees colder on Christmas Day compared to a year ago, as depicted in the map below.

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Last year’s upper 50s in Chicago and Cleveland will give way to highs struggling to reach the lower 20s. Atlanta and Nashville will shiver through highs in the 30s and 20s, respectively, after enjoying t-shirt weather last Christmas.

Even Miami might need to reach for the long sleeves with a high in the lower 60s. It could also be the city’s first Christmas with a high temperature only reaching the 60s since 1999.

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We should note that this year’s cold temperatures are not expected to be record-breaking, however, they certainly will make it feel more like Christmas.

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