Arctic cold, freezing rain, howling wind and snow: Merry Christmas!

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

York County, like much of the country, will be in the deep freeze for the next few days as folks get ready to celebrate Christmas.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Colbert said the main story of the week will be the Artic cold front that will be coming through on Friday.  

“Friday, the big story is the very strong cold front,” Colbert said. “Temperatures will really plummet. We’ll see a high temperature probably in the high 40s around sunrise on Friday then the cold front pushing through in the mid-morning hours, maybe around 9 a.m. or so.” 

Shane De Garay, of Spring Garden Township, runs down South Queen Street in York City on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022.

Adding to the miserably cold temperatures will be a very strong winds, which will lead to below-zero wind-chill temperatures. Colbert said there will be wind gusts between 40 and 50 mph that will lead to bone-chilling temperatures. 

“The wind chill will be very low. Wind chill Friday night gets down to 10 degrees below zero,” Colbert said. “That wind chill stays below zero probably all the way through to Christmas. It probably starts to warm up Sunday afternoon above zero again, but certainly still cold.” 

Saturday will also be breezy with gusts 30 to 40 mph. Wind gusts Sunday will be between 20 and 30 mph. 

Thursday won’t be great either. 

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People work along West College Avenue in York on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022.

“Prior to that, coming through for Thursday, we’re looking at a little bit of precipitation in the form of probably a wintry mix before going to rain,” Colbert said. 

York County won’t see too much snow Thursday, Colbert said, maybe a quick coating at most. 

“But there could be some more freezing rain than that. Maybe a glaze of ice possible when the rain comes down on the cold ground,” he said. “Temperatures in the morning will start off below freezing and then creep up above freezing maybe around 9 or 10 a.m.” 

Even when the temperatures climb above freezing, Colbert said there is still the potential that any additional precipitation will freeze to the ground because ground temperatures will still be below freezing. 

Rain will continue Thursday night into early Friday morning, Colbert said. 

“We’ll see the freezing rain potential starting Thursday morning. Any untreated roads, or sidewalks or staircase might become icy,” Colbert said.  

A man and his child walking down S. Queen St. in York on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022.

With the temperatures warming up, the ice should all melt Thursday afternoon. 

Friday, precipitation will likely transition from rain back to snow. 

“There could be a couple of heavy snow showers around. I don’t know if they will necessarily hit York County or not but we’ll have to keep an eye out for them,” Colbert said. “Snow showers, maybe even some snow squalls will be possible with a couple of heavy bursts of snow. There is a potential for some slick roads again with the snow and the flash freeze potential so if there is any standing puddles or wet roads from the rain that we had, there is the potential for that liquid to turn to ice.” 

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Before all of that, Wednesday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 41. There is a 30% chance of snow after 1 a.m., mixing with freezing rain after 2 a.m. Otherwise, there will be increasing clouds, with a low around 28. 

Here is the outlook for Christmas weekend, according to the National Weather Service: 

Saturday: It will be partly sunny, with a high near 18. 

Saturday night: It will be partly cloudy, with a low around 10. 

Christmas Day: It will be sunny, with a high near 22. 

Sunday night: It will be mostly clear, with a low around 12.