The Midlands might get a weather gift on Christmas Day: a brightly wrapped package of “ordinary.”
Warming weather is on the way, and Omaha's forecast calls for highs of around 35 degrees, partly sunny skies and no snow. Based on National Weather Service records, that is fairly typical for the holiday.
According to the National Weather Service, the average high on Christmas in Omaha is 33.1 degrees. The low for Christmas Day is forecast in the mid-teens, right around the average low of 15.6 degrees.
Records for the day range from a high of 57 degrees in 1936 and 1946 to the coldest Christmas on record, 1983, when the daytime temperature was unable to climb above 2 degrees.
About a third of the time the city has the inch of snow on the ground needed to constitute a white Christmas. This year, eastern Omaha might just qualify, while the western edge of the city probably won't, according to the weather service.
This year's benign weather is an improvement over a year ago, when the city had 4 inches of snow on the ground and the temperature maxed out at 12 degrees, making it one of the coldest Christmases in 30 years. The overnight low — when Santa was delivering presents — was 2 degrees.
The worst Christmas in recent years was 2009, when a blizzard struck.
Freezing rain and snow fell on Dec. 23. Snow resumed falling in earnest on Christmas Eve and continued into Dec. 26, according to weather service records. Families postponed get-togethers, flights were canceled and neighbors used snowblowers to clear streets.
From Dec. 23 through Dec. 26 in 2009, Omaha received 11.5 inches of snow, with most falling Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. That two-day combination delivered Omaha, Lincoln and Norfolk their highest two-day snow totals on record.
The absolute worst Christmas? Thirty years ago, during a widespread, prolonged arctic outbreak.
In 1983, Omaha set its record for coldest night and day and for snow depth. Although only a trace of snow fell that day, there was 13 inches of snow on the ground from earlier storms.
The daytime high peaked at 2 degrees and overnight temperatures dropped to a record 17 degrees below zero.
Read more about Christmas weather in Omaha through the years.