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Fox News Weather Center

White Christmas forecast: Majority of eastern US to be devoid of snow

With a week to go until Dec. 25, the persistent warm weather pattern in the eastern U.S. threatens to leave more than half of the country devoid of snow this Christmas.

Due to the strong El Niño unfolding, many places that historically have a high probability to receive snow will miss out this year.

This includes the East Coast I-95 cities, where meteorologists say chances are slim.

"Even with the turn to colder weather this weekend along the East Coast, there will not be any snow," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

"Next week will turn warmer again with rounds of rainfall. The lowest temperatures along the East coast will only be in the 40s F."

The recent warmth across the eastern United States has shattered temperature records dating back to the 1800s.

Through the middle of December, the temperature in Washington, D.C., has averaged more than 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. In New York City, it has averaged more than 11 degrees above normal.

The strong El Niño has helped to strengthen a west to east jet stream, which delivers mild Pacific air across the United States.

The position of the jet stream prevents arctic air from coming southward, keeping it instead locked up in Alaska and Siberia. Experts believe the current El Niño will rank within the top three strongest on record.

Despite this, a quick shot of cold air this weekend will bring some lake-effect snowfall to the Great Lakes region. However, any accumulation is likely to melt as milder weather arrives before Christmas Day.

"A significant warmup across these regions after the weekend and the potential for two rainstorms will erase any of the snow that accumulates," Anderson said.

The exception to this may be a small area in the Tug Hill region of New York state, east of Lake Ontario, which will get between 1-2 feet of snow through this weekend.

"There should still be some left on the ground by Christmas," Anderson said.

The best chances overall this year will stretch across the Dakotas and much of Minnesota. Additionally, the interior West and the Rockies will benefit from a better-than-usual chance.

A white Christmas is defined as an inch of snow or more on the ground on Dec. 25.