While prospects for a white Christmas are grim along the I-95 corridor, many communities from the Great Lakes to the Rockies should enjoy the desired snowy scene for the holiday.
Travel nightmares await millions through Christmas Eve as a complex winter storm crosses the nation with another storm to push into the Northwest and Rockies Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
For those without travel plans, children and the young at heart, the benefit of the storms from the Great Lakes to the Rockies will be to produce a blanket of snow just in time for Christmas.
White Christmas Chances Grim for I-95, Lessening for New England
Snow is currently covering the ground across most of northern New England. However, the potent storm set to sweep through Christmas Eve and the morning of Christmas threatens to greatly diminish or totally erase this snowpack.
The Northeast will remain on the warm side of the storm, leading to a soaking windswept rain event and soaring temperatures.
Only in the areas with the deepest snow cover, including the White Mountains of New Hampshire and northern Maine, have the best chance of maintaining some snow for Christmas.
Colder air will blast back across the Northeast on Christmas Day, returning snow showers to places downwind of the Great Lakes and eventually back to the mountains of northern New England.
Due to the rain and the fact the snow showers will not press that far to the south and east, the chances for a white Christmas along the I-95 corridor from Portland to Boston to New York City to Washington, D.C. are grim.
Storm to Return Snow to Great Lakes in Time for Christmas
The same storm diminishing white Christmas chances in the Northeast will do the opposite across the Great Lakes.
As the storm strengthens, a band of substantial wind-driven snow will develop across the western/central Great Lakes on Christmas Eve. The heaviest amounts within this band will range from 6 to 12 inches.
The exact track of the storm will determine if the storm targets the corridor from Chicago to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Marquette, Michigan, or the zone from Toledo, Ohio, to Detroit, Saginaw and Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan.
Places around the Great Lakes that miss out on the main snow band may still have an opportunity for a white Christmas as snow showers and lake-effect snow fly in the storm's wake on Christmas Day.
Central Plains: Battle Zone Between Warmer Air, Fresh Snow
The probability of a white Christmas across the central Plains will depend on whether the current snowpack can survive rising temperatures and if a storm will arrive quick enough to return fresh snow for Christmas.
Parts of Kansas and Missouri that started the weekend with snow on the ground will see that snow melt away prior to Christmas.
While melting will also occur around western Nebraska, a new storm emerging from the Rockies should drop fresh snow just in time for Christmas.
Farther to the north, temperatures will remain cold enough for most of the snow across the northern Plains to last through Christmas Day.
Fresh Snow for the Cascades, Rockies
The mountains of the Northwest and Rockies are guaranteed to have a white Christmas due to snow already on the ground and what is to fall from a pair of storms.
The storm due to arrive Christmas Eve and Christmas Day should spread snow east of the mountains in Montana and Wyoming, whitening Billings, Montana, and Casper, Wyoming.
Across the lower elevations of the interior Northwest and northern Great Basin, the storm's rain could end as a couple of snow showers with some communities possibly lucky enough to receive a coating of snow. This includes Pendleton, Oregon, Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
If the storm tracks far enough to the south, Reno, Nevada, could join that list as fresh snow piles up on the Sierra.
Nothing but plain rain is in store for the West's I-5 corridor.
Thumbnail image provided by Design Pics/Thinkstock Photos.