A frigid Christmas

No snow, but subzero weather for holiday

CARL JOBE PLAYS in the snow outside his home on West B Street Iron Mountain. Motorists this morning faced a snowy commute, but the weather forecast through Christmas for now calls for cold conditions but no snow. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Hopefully Santa will bring plenty of sweaters, mittens and socks for local residents on Christmas Day, as bitterly cold temperatures will settle in the Upper Peninsula and northeast Wisconsin early next week.

But a lack of significant precipitation in the forecast should be welcome news for holiday travelers, even though they will find the most expensive year-end gas prices since 2014, according to AAA.

Snow across the Dickinson and Iron county area will diminish today, leaving dry conditions through early next week, National Weather Service Meteorologist Keith White said.

However, those in the northern Upper Peninsula likely will see lake effect snow showers through the weekend, he added.

High temperatures are forecasted to drop from the 20s on Friday to the teens on Saturday and Sunday and into single digits Christmas Day.

“Temperatures will struggle to be above zero,” White said. “We’re looking at the coldest air of the season just in time for Christmas.”

And the coldest lows of the season so far — 8 to 15 below zero, with wind chills of about 25 below — will come Christmas night into Tuesday, White said.

The bitter cold likely will stick around for a few days, but White noted it’s too early at this time to know the duration.

The shift in weather comes in the midst of the busy holiday travel season, when AAA predicts 107.3 million Americans will travel via automobile, plane, train or bus. The vast majority of those plan to travel by automobile.

“More than 97 million Americans will begin to hit the road this week for the holidays — the most ever on record,” AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano said. “At 20 cents more per gallon than the same time last year, pump prices don’t seem to be a deterrent for today’s travelers. The good news is that in most states, gas prices are 12 cents less than they were a month ago.”

As of Wednesday, AAA listed the national average price for regular gas at $2.42 a gallon, the Michigan average price at $2.51 a gallon and the Wisconsin average price at $2.36 a gallon.

Average prices a year ago were $2.25 nationally, $2.39 in Michigan and $2.21 in Wisconsin.

The cheapest gas prices in the region Wednesday, according to AAA, appear to be in Marinette County at $2.35 to $2.38 a gallon. Florence County was at $2.46 to $2.54, Dickinson County was at $2.47 to $2.51 and Iron County was at $2.56 to $2.70.