Mixed Bag of Weather for the First Few Nights of Hanukkah

Posted: December 10, 2020 7:25 pm

Thursday marks the beginning of the Hanukkah season. While this year’s festivities are sure to look different because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, there are still families that will be out and about trying to make the most of this sacred time of the year.

Hanukkah 2020 kicks off at sunset on Thursday, December 10. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah continues through sunset on Friday, December 18. Because the holiday stretches over eight full days and nights, there is no doubt that the country will see a mixed bag of weather that varies greatly throughout the week. Here is what you need to know about this year’s Hannukah forecast and how it may snarl your travel plans during the first half of the celebration.

Start to Hanukkah Brings Mess to Pacific Northwest: As Hanukkah begins on Thursday, the Pacific Northwest will experience the most unsettled weather in the country. A pattern of rainstorms for the lower elevations and snow in the mountains will move through this far corner of the nation with the coasts of Washington and Oregon taking the brunt of the rain.

The Cascade Mountains will see this precipitation come down as heavy snow. Motorists traveling along the major mountain passes, such as Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 in Washington, need to be ready for slippery road conditions. Those travelers making their way to family and friends along Oregon’s Columbia River Valley and I-84 also need to be prepared for inclement travel conditions.

Snow and Rain to Kick in Over Midwest and Plains on Friday: Moving to the east, this part of the country simply cannot catch a break when it comes to unsettled weather. Beginning Thursday night, a new brewing system will bring heavy rain to parts of New Mexico, northwestern Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. While the snow will only affect the Colorado Rockies and parts of northern New Mexico on Thursday, it will eventually spread to the Plains and the Midwest into Friday and the second night of Hanukkah.

Temperatures to Begin Falling: Temperatures will be mostly moderate in most areas of the Midwest and East Coast as Hanukkah begins on Thursday. However, this will quickly change as the system pushes east, bringing the mercury down for the eastern half of the country. For example, New York City will see temperatures hovering around 50 degrees on Thursday night. By Friday, these readings will be in the upper 30s. Those people heading out for a Hanukkah dinner on Friday will likely need to dress warmer than they did the night before.

After the stormy start to the weekend, the Midwest and Upper Plains will dry out and enjoy milder weather on Saturday and Sunday.

Stormy Weather in the Southern Section of the Nation: This same system will deliver moderate rainfall and localized thunderstorms to a large swath of the southeastern US. People in Arkansas and Louisiana will see this rain begin to develop on Friday. The rain will eventually push toward the panhandle of Florida all along the Gulf Coast. The system will then creep up the East Coast all the way through coastal Maine.

Forecasters are warning travelers to be alert for dense fog and gusty winds all along the southeastern and eastern coasts of the US. While the state of Florida will be primarily dry throughout the weekend, a newly arriving cold front on Sunday may bring the possibility of rain and thunderstorms to the peninsula.

Another Storm for the Pacific Northwest: Meanwhile, more rain and snow is expected to fall in the Pacific Northwest over the weekend. The interior Northwest should be ready for the snow to fly across higher elevations beginning on Saturday. As is with the case of coastal storms in the Pacific Northwest this time of the year, there is a strong possibility of high winds associated with the front.

California Fire Danger: The problem in the far west throughout the first few nights of Hanukkah will not be precipitation. Instead, the majority of California, Nevada, and western Arizona should remain dry from Thursday evening into the weekend. However, because of the dry conditions and low levels of humidity, much of California is still at a high risk of developing wildfires. While the Santa Ana winds that plagued the area last weekend and early this week have largely dissipated, the winds are high enough to still ignite and spread fires. Because of the current fire risk, officials are asking people to be careful with open flames and to be aware of the danger still present.

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