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Region sees its first white Christmas in 10 years

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

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Bing Crosby might be “dreaming of a white Christmas” as the classic Christmas song suggests, but this year, Jonesborough and the Northeast Tennessee region saw that dream come true.

As folks throughout the Tri-Cities nestled into their homes on Christmas Eve, snow began falling around 6 p.m. and resulted in about four inches of snow for a White Christmas to top off 2020.

“Really the week leading up to Christmas the models all started to come to agreement that we were looking at some significant snowfall for this portion of the Southern Appalachian Region,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Derek Eisentrout.

The last time the Tri-Cities saw a white Christmas was back in 2010, Eisentrout said. Even then, it only totaled around 1.2 inches. That wasn’t the case for the Tri-Cities’ largest snowfall in 1969, however.

“The most we ever had on Christmas day was back in 1969,” Eisentrout said. “We had 8.7 inches up in the Tri-Cities area.”

The only concern with a white Christmas, Eisentrout said, is the impact it can have on the roads, especially around the holidays as many travel to see loved ones.

“Everybody likes to have a white Christmas,” Eisentrout said. “The biggest issue is trying to get into work sometimes. And you’re always worried about people. We try to let people know and issue watches and advisories for travel issues.”

Another white holiday isn’t expected for New Year’s, though. Eisentrout said the prediction as of Monday is rain on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

“Basically New Year’s Eve we are looking for rain showers, an 80 percent chance,” Eisentrout said. “Then on New Year’s Day, showers are likely again until about 1 p.m. So it will be evening showers and then the first half of the next day. You kind of had Christmas Eve as snow and Christmas Day as snow and unfortunately, New Year’s is going to be rain and rain.”

Rain might take over the first day of 2021, but the White Christmas of 2020 — during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic — will be memorable for everyone, even for meteorologists like Eisentrout.

“We’re here 24 (hours a day), seven (days a week), 365 (days a year), so we enjoy it,” Eisentrout said. “We want to have the info out there to warn folks that there might be travel issues (related to snow), but we’re like anybody else. We want to go home after work, get the sled out and go riding — and I did.”