Warm in the south, central US

December 24, 2021
While record warmth is likely this weekend across the south-central U.S., a series of storms will continue to lash the West with rain and snow.


  • “Dozens” of record highs are likely to be broken on Christmas Day.
  • AccuWeather is projecting a high of 84 degrees in Houston and 81 degrees in Dallas.
  • Periods of rain and snow are predicted for California through Christmas and into next week.

Forget about trying on those new coats or boots if you live in the south-central U.S.: Record, spring-like warmth is forecast to overspread the region into the Christmas weekend.  

“Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Little Rock and Memphis all stand to match or top the record high for Dec. 25, this Saturday,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

Highs in the 70s and 80s, which will be common for much of the south-central region, are more typical of early to mid-October, he said.

Weather.com meteorologist Domenica Davis said these highs are 25 to even 30 degrees above average for this time of year and that “dozens” of records are likely to be broken. 

The National Weather Service in Houston said record highs remain “a very distinct possibility” for Christmas Day as temperatures surge into the lower 80s there.

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AccuWeather is projecting a high of 84 degrees in Houston and 81 degrees in Dallas on Saturday, which could set new daily records for Christmas Day in both cities. Houston’s current record of 83 was set back in 2015 and Dallas’ record of 80 was established in 2016, AccuWeather said. 

But along with the warmth will also come a chance for wildfires.

The Weather Service in Dallas said “elevated fire danger will exist on Friday and Saturday (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) due to a combination of breezy southwest winds, low humidity and the recent rainfall deficit.” 

Western weather woes

Meanwhile, a series of potent storms are forecast to continue to blast much of the West with heavy rain and snow through the Christmas holiday and even beyond. 

Heavy snow is forecast to pile up across mountainous regions.

“Over the Sierra Nevada there is potential for 5+ feet of snow to accumulate through Christmas morning, while more moderate totals of around 1 to 4 feet are expected across the rest of the western mountain ranges,” the Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center said. 

In Southern California, heavy rain amounts up to 3 inches may lead to instances of flash flooding along with life-threatening debris flows near recent burn scars, the Weather Service said. 

Residents of several Southern California mountain and canyon communities were urged to voluntarily leave their homes Thursday because of possible mud and debris flows as the potentially heavy rain approached.

The Weather Service issued a flood watch for areas east and southeast of Los Angeles starting Thursday evening because of possible heavy overnight rain fed by an atmospheric river, a long plume of moisture from the Pacific Ocean.

Periods of rain and snow were predicted for California through Christmas and into next week. 

Snow, rain and unusually cold temperatures were also predicted across the Pacific Northwest. AccuWeather forecasters predict that snow is possible in cities such as Seattle and Portland on Christmas Day.

Contributing: The Associated Press


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