IOWA -- Except for those who love a white Christmas, the current weather pattern is bringing a lot of smiles to central Iowans. The weekend included dry weather and high temperatures in the 50s making for smooth pre-holiday travel for those on the highways and interstates across Iowa. That will continue through the 25th.
A ridge of high pressure over Arkansas is keeping the weather dry and temperatures mild, even for us north of there in Iowa. There are high level clouds streaming up and over the ridge and moving across our skies, giving us filtered sun shine today and Christmas Eve. The colder air is locked further to the north across Minnesota with temperatures only in the 30s there.
An area of low pressure will move into Iowa on Christmas Day. This will increase the clouds and possibly bring some drizzle to Central Iowa. Temperatures will remain above freezing with lows in the mid 30s and highs again in the low 50s on Christmas Day. It may be gloomy, but at least no ice is expected. That means travel should be good to get to grandma's house for Christmas Dinner on Wednesday.
Christmas weather has had some back and forth, but in recent history, 50 degree temperatures in Iowa aren't that unusual. In fact, both in 2016 and in 2014, we made it to the low 50s for daytime highs on Christmas Day. Here's a look back at the last five Christmases.
2018 High: 45 Low: 27
2017 High: 14 Low: 3
2016 High: 53 Low: 35
2015 High: 34 Low: 25
2014 High: 50 Low: 31
Now while we have seen 50s a few times the last few years, it is not the norm.
Des Moines Christmas Normals
Normal High: 32 Record: 58 (1936)
Normal Low: 16 Record: -16 (1879)
Most Snow: 4.1" (1909)
White Christmas (1 inch or more of snow on the ground): 57 out of 126 years
Travel looks to be idea for the Christmas holiday and through the end of the week, although temperatures will drop back to the low 40s for daytime highs on Thursday and Friday. The weather will remain dry. It is Saturday we are watching for potential travel difficulty. A storm system looks to lift up out of the southwest on Saturday and bring rain, possibly mixed with ice and snow on the northern edge of the precipitation. Temperatures will be in the low 40s to start the day but look to fall to the 20s by early on Sunday morning. This incoming weather may make travel difficult during the weekend.