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Note: the holiday travel article originally posted on Dec. 19th was updated on Dec. 26th to add forecast information for New Year’s Eve through January 2nd, 2024.

Your Crystal Ball for the Ball Drop: New Year’s Eve Forecast in NYC
The tradition of dropping a ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve has been going on since 1907, and partygoers have endured a wide variety of weather conditions for the occasion. According to the National Weather Service office in Upton, NY, the coldest ball drop weather was all the way back in 1917, when it was just 1° with a wind chill of 18 below. Oddly enough, the second-coldest temperature in Times Square happened exactly 100 years later, on New Year’s Eve of 2017, when it was a bone-chilling 9° at midnight. Over the past 30 years, however, the average ball-drop temperature was 35.5°, with precipitation falling on only four of the past 30 celebrations in Manhattan. This year looks dry as well, with a forecast temperature of 36° at midnight under a partly cloudy sky.

Forecast for travelers on New Year’s Day & January 2nd
The outlook is rosy for most travelers at the start of 2024. A sprawling area of high pressure will keep most of the country dry. High temperatures are expected to be near or above average for much of the country through the first half of next week as Arctic air stays bottled up to the north. Precipitation will be pretty scarce, which is great news for anyone hitting the road. Forecasters at NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, MD say that showers are possible on New Year’s Day from the lower Mississippi Valley to points north and east in the southern and central Appalachians. Some snow is possible in higher mountain elevations, but since there’s not much cold air in place, the majority of precipitation is likely to fall as rain. Looking ahead to Tuesday, the outlook is dry for most folks traveling east of the Rockies.

Along the West Coast, the New Year’s Day outlook features some showers along the immediate coastline, with snow possible in the Cascades and the northern Sierras. However, the impact on travel should be low, as the snow is likely confined to elevations above the mountain passes and major interstates. Flights in and out of Seattle, San Francisco, LA, and San Diego could be impacted by low ceilings on both January 1st and 2nd. January 2nd could also be gusty at airport hubs along the East Coast, including Atlanta, Washington DC, and New York City. But overall, air travel looks good for the first days of 2024.

No matter where you are in the USA, you can always get the updated forecast from your local Weather Forecast Office by going to and typing your city or ZIP code. And follow your local NOAA National Weather Service forecast office on social media for the latest weather information in your area.

Contact: Erica Grow Cei, NOAA Communications,

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but they’re not forecasting one for most of the United States. At least the weather is favorable for most people who have plans to travel this year! Here’s the day-by-day breakdown of what to expect.

Thursday: smooth sailing for most
For most of the country, the weather will be quiet and mild on Thursday. If you can hit the road early, Thursday is the day to do it! The one exception is in Southern California, where flash flooding is possible. Debris flows may form in areas where wildfires have left burn scars. Get more information on local hazards from NWS Western Region here.

Friday: rain & snow in the west, mild in the east 
Rain chances persist in Southern California on Friday, and the weather turns unsettled from Arizona to the Intermountain West, with snow possible at high elevations in the Four Corners region and Pacific Northwest. Farther east, thunderstorms are possible along the Gulf Coast, especially in eastern Texas. Meanwhile, it remains dry and milder than average from the Northern Plains to the East Coast. 

Saturday: storm chances increase
Wet weather continues to spread eastward on Saturday. Wet roads could slow down travelers along the Gulf Coast. Snow chances increase in the Rockies, with rain at lower elevations. But it’ll start to dry out along the West Coast, and it keeps getting milder from the East Coast to the Upper Plains, with some high temperatures reaching 20° above average. The best chance for accumulating snow will be in Alaska, where a powerful storm system will bring wind-driven snow, even close to the coast. Meteorologists at the NWS office in Anchorage have already measured 70” of snow so far this season, making it the snowiest start to winter in Alaska’s largest city. 

Sunday: some storms for Santa
Rain and thunderstorm chances continue in the Southern US and extend into the Great Plains and Midwest on Christmas Eve. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are likely to see some showers, too. Accumulating snow is possible in the Front Range of the Rockies and the Northern High Plains. Mount Rushmore could have a coating of snow by the time Santa is making his rounds! But the best chance for a White Christmas by far is in Alaska. Anchorage’s record snow depth on Christmas Day is 30”, which was set back in 1994, and this year’s snow depth could be close to the record!

No matter where you are in the USA, you can always get the updated forecast from your local Weather Forecast Office by going to and typing your city or ZIP code. And follow your local NOAA National Weather Service forecast office on social media for the latest weather information in your area.