Warmer temperatures and an inch of rain are expected to put a dent in the deep snowpack across parts of New Hampshire, but forecasters say it won’t completely melt away the chance of a white Christmas.
After storms last week buried some southern communities under 2 to 3 feet of snow, rain is now expected to move in Monday morning and linger into the night.
The forecast is calling for about an inch of rain and a brief warm up with high temperatures around 50 on Monday and the low 50s by Tuesday, according to Derek Schroeter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.
The rain and warmth isn’t good news for snow lovers and those hoping the natural white frosting sticks around at least through the holidays, but forecasters say they shouldn’t despair.
The snow is deep and a lot of it should survive.
“We’re not expecting the whole snowpack to be melted out with this rain. It looks more like the snowpack will absorb the rain,” Schroeter said.
No significant flooding problems are expected, but he said there could be some ponding issues in between snow banks.
With rain in the forecast, state officials are warning residents and businesses in areas hit hardest by the recent storms to clean snow and ice from their roofs. They said the combination of heavy snowfall and rain that’s unable to run off will create additional weight and could stress the roof.
“A roof may collapse with little or no warning, and one common misconception is that only flat roofs are susceptible,” state Fire Marshal Paul Parisi said in a news release.
He added that changing winter weather that can deliver snow, rain, and freezing rain in a short timeframe, and urged property owners to regularly assess their roofs. Anyone who’s unsure of their roof’s weight capacity or is concerned that it may be compromised is encouraged to contact a reputable builder and a local building or fire official, Parisi said.
The warming trend isn’t expected to last long. Schroeter said temperatures will drop back into the middle 30s on Wednesday and below freezing through Thursday.
The next storm system could arrive by next weekend, but Schroeter said it was too early to say whether it will be rain or snow.
It’s also too soon to make any solid predictions for Christmas, but the Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for snowy and mild conditions in the Northeast from Dec. 23 to 26.
The historical probability of a white Christmas — greater than an inch of snow on the ground — is fairly high in New Hampshire.
According to the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information, far northern New Hampshire has a 91% to 100% chance of snow on the ground for Christmas. The chance of a white Christmas gradually decreases through central and southern areas, but even on the Seacoast there’s a 41% to 50% chance.