Santa might work up a sweat when he and his team of reindeer traverse through South Central Texas on Christmas morning.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service expect a warming trend to continue through the Christmas holiday and into early next week with well above normal temperatures.
Santa can expect good flying weather with the low temperature dipping into the upper 50s on Christmas Eve under partly cloudy skies, but for Comal County residents, high temperatures will warm to the low 80s on Christmas Day under mostly sunny skies, conditions more conducive to hiking or picnicking than to the winter activities depicted on Christmas television movies.
Keith White, a meteorologist at the NWS office in New Braunfels, said a strong high-pressure system currently located in northern Mexico is to blame for the unseasonable weather.
“It’s essentially a very strong ridge of high pressure that’s setting up in such a way to allow a southerly flow to persist, bringing warmer air in, and in addition, temperatures aloft in the atmosphere are much warmer than what they would normally be this time of year,” White said. “The combination of those factors is allowing for warmth to build across a pretty large chunk of the south-central United States. It will be sticking around for the remainder of the year.”
Although warm conditions are expected, White said no record high temperature records are anticipated Friday and Christmas Day.
“The record highs for Christmas Day are what we call strong records,” he said. “For Austin and San Antonio, they are both in the low 90s. It was a really warm day in 1955. But we’ll keep an eye on things. Both the 26th and 27th provide additional chances to come close to record high temperatures. Looking at the data, with the forecast that we have for the rest of the month, it’s almost a slam dunk that the month of December will end up the warmest December on record for almost the entire state.”
High temperatures will continue to warm to around 80 degrees each afternoon through Tuesday.
This Christmas could be the warmest in more than 50 or even 100 years for parts of the south-central United States, according to AccuWeather forecasters.
“Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee, all stand to match or top the record high for Dec. 25. this Saturday,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said, adding that 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.
AccuWeather is projecting a high of 84 in Houston and 81 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.
In Oklahoma City, the projected high of 78 degrees would shatter the old record of 73 set in 2016.
AccuWeather forecasters are also predicting a high of 76 on Christmas Day to the east in Little Rock, Arkansas, which has a Christmas record high of 73 as well, but that mark has not been threatened since 1942.