Dreaming of a white — and windy — Christmas?
About 55 million Americans were under winter weather alerts Sunday from Iowa to Maine, and could see anywhere from a dusting to several inches of snow as a winter storm and gusty winds continued to sweep across the northern United States.
The snow already started falling in the Midwest on Sunday morning, with about 1 to 3 inches or more expected to drop in Illinois, Indiana and northern Ohio, meteorologists said.
In northern Indiana, where at least 5 inches was possible, police said that slick and icy road conditions could still make driving difficult for those trying to make it to their destinations in time for the holiday.
More than 3 inches of snow fell by midday in Chicago, and the hometown Bears beat the Cleveland Browns at a Soldier Field filled with shivering fans and freshly fallen powder. The snow was expected to taper off by Sunday night in the city, followed by a blast of cold temperatures.
Frank Giannasca, a Weather Channel senior meteorologist, warned that parts of upstate New York and northern New England were next on tap to see snow — as much as 5 to 8 inches in some parts.
“They’re going to get a real white Christmas,” Giannasca said.
But major metropolitan areas will just miss getting walloped by the storm.
Instead, Boston could get a few inches of wet snow and New York could see a rain and sleet mix Christmas Eve through morning.
For Christmas Day, Giannasca said, at least 20- to 25-mph winds were possible across the Mid-Atlantic and up through Boston, and wind gusts could reach 40 to 50 mph along the I-95 corridor from Boston to Philadelphia. The windchill would make it feel like 20-degree weather, he added.
It’s only the beginning of the cold. Forecasters say repeated surges of bitter, arctic air are expected through the New Year and will keep temperatures below average across the northern United States.