Forecast won't please snow seekers Sunday

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Friday, December 23, 2011
— The bad news is you won't have snowy roads to blame when you're late for Christmas dinner because you had to turn around three miles from home to retrieve the forgotten ham rolls or turn off the lights on the tree.

No, it won't be like last year when those huge flakes fell on Christmas Eve and you conveniently blamed road conditions for your tardiness.

This weekend's forecast won't please those who want snow for the holiday. It does, however, have benefits. The clear, dry roads should make for good travel over the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Sullivan predicts sun and temperatures in the upper 30s or low 40s until at least Monday.

Christmas Day is expected to be windy with a high around 39 degrees, according to the weather service.

The last time southern Wisconsin didn't have snow on the ground for Christmas was in 2006, according to weather service data.

The weather service has data filed for the last 103 and 106 years, meteorologist Jake Wimberley said. In that time, Christmas has been white 72 times, he said.

The national weather service considers it a white Christmas if at least an inch of snow is on the ground at 6 a.m. Christmas morning, Wimberley said.

"It doesn't have to be fresh snow," he said. "It could have been there a while, but it has to be an inch."

This year's predicted lack of snow is bad news for those who like their holidays aesthetically pleasing or for those who believe they're entitled after having listened to Bing Crosby sing about a white Christmas since before Halloween.

It is good news, however, for law enforcement officials and first responders who will work the holiday weekend. The double whammy of holiday travel and the first real snowfall of the year would have spelled disaster, said Capt. Gary Groelle of the Rock County Sheriff's Office.

"That sure helps not to have snow on the road," Groelle said. "Generally with the first one, everybody has a little difficulty with it."

Regardless of the weather, the sheriff's office will conduct extra patrols, Groelle said. A grant that the county recently obtained as part of the state Department of Transportation's Booze and Belts program will pay for the patrols. Deputies will look for intoxicated drivers and people not wearing seat belts.

State troopers also will be on the alert for intoxicated or aggressive drivers, according to a news release from the Department of Transportation. Janesville police will not increase patrols compared to other weekends, Deputy Police Chief Dan Davis said.

People who are intoxicated or have been drinking at all should get rides from designated drivers, call cabs or use mass transportation, Groelle said.

"Have a wonderful experience," Groelle said. "Especially have a safe experience."

Last updated: 7:03 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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