I sincerely hope we are not looking at a repeat of Christmas Eve 2009, but let’s not leave anything to chance. The ‘snowpocolypse’ of 2009 caught just about everyone off guard, so forecasters are playing this one very cautiously. Even though the chances are not 100 percent or even 50 percent at this moment, you can expect a run on eggs, milk, bread, ham and beer over the next several days, and here’s why.

Forecast models do hold a chance of winter precipitation over the Christmas holiday. A few days ago, I consulted with our old friend Skip McBride. He said the NOAA forecast models showed best snow chances from New Mexico to Canada and confined to the front range of the Rockies. Now, that seems to be changing rapidly. Even Skip described the changing pattern as interesting. If Skips interested, you should be too, in my humble opinion.

It depends on which model you want to believe. Zach Holder at KAUZ reports that forecast models have backed off the white Christmas chances a bit, but with a very cold arctic blast moving down over Texoma, everything bears watching. Accuweather.com forecasts a possibility of a mix of rain, sleet and snow for our area. But what we get, how much we get and if we get anything at all is really up in the air at this point…no pun intended.

The one thing all of the forecasters agree on at this point is this: anything could happen. Historically, we have a 4 percent chance of snow on or around Christmas. Christmas Day in Wichita Falls in 2016 we hit 78 degrees. This year the forecast highs are mid-30’s to low 40’s and wind chills will almost definitely be in the 20’s or even teens, depending on the wind, of course.

The best thing you can do is to just be prepared. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and one way or another, you’ll have a Merry Christmas on the weather front, at least. Here’s what I suggest to prepare:

  • Get the groceries now. Don’t wait until Friday and find yourself in line with 25,000 other people at the store, fighting over the last crumbs of bread.
  • Check your vehicle out now. Check your tire condition, oil, antifreeze/coolant level and windshield wiper condition. Also, if you fill the windshield wiper fluid reservoir, make sure you use the fluid appropriate for freezing weather. See a complete auto winter weather checklist from AAA here.
  • Make sure your outdoor pipes are wrapped and ready for the next big freeze.
  • Keep a gallon of water, some snacks, blankets, and extra clothes in your car, especially if you’re traveling this Christmas, even short distances. Ask anyone who found themselves stranded on the way to grandma’s house on Christmas Eve 2009. It pays to be prepared.
  • Always have a flashlight, extra batteries and a cell phone charger in your vehicle
  • Stay tuned to the radio for weather updates and warnings.

Above all, use common sense. If the roads are bad, stay home. As long as you have food, clothing and shelter, your Christmas will be very merry, indeed.

BONUS: Wichita Falls Intersections Then and Now