White, Stormy Christmas Expected This Year

Most of U.S. will see snow or severe weather on Christmas Day.

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The first widespread snowstorm of the season began a slow crawl across the Midwest on Thursday with some areas receiving as much as 15 inches of snow.

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The severe winter storm that streaked across the nation and the squalls that tore up the Southeast last week both have imitators right on their heels. While good news for those hoping for a white Christmas, the storms could spell trouble for holiday travelers.

"Unfortunately, this [severe weather] occurs not only during the Christmas holiday, but also in the peak travel period after Christmas Day in the South, Midwest, and East," the Weather Channel reports.

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The severe weather could slow down holiday travel in many hubs, from Atlanta to the Northeast, where low clouds and high winds could disrupt air traffic and make for dangerous road conditions.

Just days after Winter Storm Draco finished its destructive cross-country journey, Winter Storm Euclid has begun to bury California in snows heavier than any Draco ever dropped and is showing signs of following a similar westwardly path. The storm has already covered parts of the western highlands in more than six feet of powder.

Euclid's tidings could also include snow in New Mexico and northern Texas on Christmas Day, and as it moves west, the storm is expected to disrupt the post-Christmas travel rush set to take place later in the week.

In the Southeast, the weather outside will be frightening. Southerners could see hail and tornadoes this week, as a series of storms moving northward from the Gulf of Mexico envelopes the region in rain and severe thunderstorm warnings. If the storms do spin off twisters, this Christmas could be one of only eight Christmas Days since 1950 to feature a tornado, according to Weather.com's Greg Forbes.

For most Americans not living in the Southeast or western plains, Christmas could be white. The Weather Channel predicts snow is likely from Chicago east to Seattle and from the Canadian border as far south as Texas.

The white Christmas map shows areas where at least one inch of snow is expected to be on the ground, regardless of whether it falls on Christmas Day. That includes a pocket of the Northeast expected to see snow on Christmas, but more unexpectedly, a pocket of northern Texas and southern Oklahoma. According to Weather Underground, the forcecast for Amarillo, Texas is a high of 32 degrees and a low of 10 degrees, meaning the moisture of the southern storms in the Southeast could fall as snowfall in the oil fields of those two states.

Seth Cline is a reporter for U.S. News and World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at scline@usnews.com.