Christmas in Delaware will be wet, rather than white

DOVER — So much for singing carols about a white Christmas this year.

Instead, the holiday looks like it is going to be wet and windy, with drastically declining temperatures.

Santa Claus will surely have to tap Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer to guide his sleigh Thursday night, as meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, have issued a hazardous-weather outlook for Kent and New Castle counties, with heavy rain moving into Delaware after 5 p.m. and winds gusting upward of 50 mph.

The NWS is not expecting snow to accumulate in the First State during this storm. So this will probably mark the 11th consecutive year of a non-white Christmas, ever since 2009, when a Dec. 16-20 blizzard dubbed the “Snowpocalypse” brought 7 inches of snow to Wilmington and broke records across the Northeast, leading to state of emergency declarations in Kent and New Castle counties.

It’s not unusual for Delaware to have a snow-free Christmas. After all, the state has had just 10 white Christmases — dubbed such if there is at least 1 inch of snow on the ground — since 1919.

According to historical data from the NWS, Kent County only has a 10% chance of having a white Christmas this year. People who live in Sussex County have less than a 10% chance of seeing snow Friday.

“I’d love to have a white Christmas,” said Tonya Whiting of Dover. “There’s nothing like snuggling up under a nice, warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and just sitting back and watching the snowflakes fall. Well, as long as too many of them don’t fall.”

Instead, the combination of wind and rain Thursday night through Christmas morning will have power companies on edge once again, as trees will be susceptible to falling, which can lead to power outages.

The temperatures are expected to reach 63 degrees Thursday before the rain comes in late in the afternoon, along with breezy southeast winds of 15 to 20 mph and gusts as high as 35 mph.

The rain is expected to turn heavy Thursday night — with a marginal chance of isolated severe thunderstorms possible from Middletown to Sussex County — as the temperatures drop to around 42 degrees, with a south wind at 25 to 30 mph, decreasing to 20 to 25 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph. The chance of precipitation is 100%, with new rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.

There is a coastal flood threat for all of Delaware from 7 Thursday night until 7 Friday morning.

The NWS is forecasting the rain to begin to taper off before 11 Christmas morning, with a partly sunny day unfolding and high temperatures near 46. However, on Christmas night, the temperature will come crashing down to 22 degrees.

“If we can’t have a white Christmas, then I’d be fine if it was around 70 degrees outside,” said Ethan Spaulding of Kenton. “White Christmases might be a nice thing to look at, but I’d rather save money on my heating oil.”

Tony Tucker, a 7-year-old from Millsboro, said he is just happy that Rudolph will be busy Thursday evening. He said he will stay up late and try to find his red nose flying through the night sky.

“I love Rudolph,” he said. “All of those people made fun of him, but without him, we couldn’t have a Christmas.”