The Twelve Days of Christmas, which last from December 25 through January 5, have grown warmer in 97 percent of the U.S., according to a new analysis from Climate Central that evaluated temperature trends across 246 locations since 1969.
Warming has surpassed 5 degrees F in 37 percent of locations, 3 degrees F in 75 percent of locations, and 1 degree F in 95 percent of locations. The cities that have seen the greatest warming are Milwaukee, Wisconsin (8.6 degrees F), Burlington, Vermont (9.1 degrees F), and Reno, Nevada (9.5 degrees F). Winter is the fastest-warming season across most of the country.
In a warmer climate, precipitation is more likely to come down as rain than snow. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analysis of winter weather from 1991 to 2020 reveals where people are most likely to enjoy a snowy Christmas in today’s warmer climate. The odds are best in the Allegheny, Rocky, and Sierra Nevada Mountains, as well as in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Maine.
Diminished snowpack threatens water supplies in the West, where streams and reservoirs are filled by melting snow in the spring. Levels of freshwater derived from snow have dropped by as much as 30 percent since 1955.
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