Weather Forecast for Christmas and Winter

Update (21.12.12): The five-day Christmas weekend forecast calls for extra-thick socks and six layers of mittens, but current indications are that December 25 will be white. Read a fresh forecast on ERR news.

Winter made a bold entrance the first days of December with freezing temperatures and substantial snow cover. The second half of the month continues with even crisper cold and occasional snowfall, but what should we expect for Christmas?

Marko Kaasik, senior researcher at the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics of the UT Institute of Physics, predicts a white Christmas and no big melt in Tartu.

At the end of the week, a high-pressure system should reach Estonia from Siberia, bringing more of the same – cold and snow. The chance is even for the Siberian cold to linger until Christmas, or for the milder weather with temperatures near zero to set in.

While December is likely to turn out somewhat colder than usual, January and February should show a warmer palette this winter season (see the table below). At least in Tartu – and in spite of some melting periods – the snow cover should get even thicker during the first two months of 2013.

Christmas and winter weather forecast for Tartu, Estonia

Weather forecast for Tartu and Ristna, Hiiumaa in December 2012 – May 2013. Compiled by Marko Kaasik, University of Tartu on 10 December 2012.

The norm in the table above is based on observations by the Estonian Meteorological and Hydrological Institute from 1970–2001.

If you’re pondering on how cold the ‘norm’ might actually feel, then remembering either of the last two winters in Tartu could help. Despite an extremely cold week with nighttime temperatures dropping as low as -35º C degrees, last winter was no colder than average. However, the real winter began only in January and ended late as well – the lakes remained frozen until mid April. The winter of 2010–2011 was exceptionally long and pretty cold – snow lasted from November until the beginning of April.

The weather forecast draws on the relatively new NCEP coupled forecast system model, which takes into account the concurrence of the world’s oceans and the atmosphere. You can read more about this forecast in Estonian.

Disclaimer: Neither the forecaster nor the University of Tartu are legally responsible for the consequences of using this forecast. However, we do our best to ensure its quality. Please dress appropriately. Happy holidays!

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