What you see is what you get.
For most Americans, if you wake up to a brown or green backyard Tuesday, you probably won't have a white Christmas this year. There are no big snowstorms and plenty of cold temperatures in the forecast, so "the places that are snow-covered now will stay snow-covered," AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines said Monday.
About half of the USA's land area is forecast to see a white Christmas this year, according to the National Weather Service. As of Monday, the USA was 47% snow-covered.
Typically, based on data from the past 10 years, 39% of the nation has snow on the ground on Christmas Day. The weather service defines a white Christmas as having 1 inch of snow on the ground Dec. 25; it need not snow on Christmas Day to be considered a white Christmas.
For the most part, folks in the "usual suspect" areas — such as the Mountain West, the northern Plains, the Upper Midwest, the Great Lakes and most of northern New England — will wake up to their usual Christmas morn' snowscape.
"If you're used to having a white Christmas, you'll probably have one this year," Kines said. This is due to the cold air that's settled in across much of the central and eastern USA, which is forecast to stick around.
There are a couple of odd spots: Because of the recent warm spell, several cities that usually have a white Christmas, such as Buffalo, Cleveland, Syracuse and Rochester, had no snow on the ground as of Monday morning, according to the weather service. (Although some lake-effect snow will probably whiten the ground in some of these cities over the next couple of days.)
On average, Syracuse has a 70% chance of seeing snow on the ground Dec. 25, according to data from the National Climatic Data Center.
AccuWeather reports that some areas that typically have less than a 25% chance of a white Christmas are likely to see one this year: A weekend winter storm dumped as much as a foot of snow on northern Missouri and eastern Kansas, while portions of northern Oklahoma and the northern Texas Panhandle received 3-6 inches of snow.
The storm, a wild mix of wintry and severe weather that finally wound down late Monday over northern New England, roared across the nation over the weekend, killing nine people and leaving hundreds of thousands powerless because of power lines weighed down by ice. Most of those without power were in Michigan, Upstate New York and northern New England.
Additionally, more than 300 flights were canceled in the USA as of 7 p.m. Monday, the bulk of them in Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C., according to FlightAware. The number is in line with a typical travel day and much improved from Sunday's 700 or so cancellations. More than 5,600 flights were delayed Monday because of weather issues.
For snow-lovers in the heavily populated Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, the weather is tossing up a Hail Mary Tuesday, as there is a chance for a few light snow showers. "A few spots in the I-95 corridor may get a heavier snow shower that can lightly coat the ground from north of Philadelphia to New York City and perhaps to southwestern Connecticut," reported AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
Most of the snow that falls will be across the already whitened northern Plains and Great Lakes, areas that "might see an inch or two of snow later Tuesday into Wednesday," Kines said.
For travelers with no big storms to contend with, "it's a pretty good weather pattern," he said. The overall quiet weather is forecast to continue for the rest of the week and into the weekend, according to forecasts from the Weather Prediction Center.