Dreaming of a white Christmas? Rain, snow possible this week

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It's beginning to look at lot like ... spring.

Christmas is just a few days away, and for those hoping for a white Christmas may be out of luck – unless you drive north.

A white Christmas is "loosely defined" as having 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says. As of Dec. 17, most of southern Minnesota didn't have any snow on the ground, according to the Minnesota Climatology Working Group's snow depth map (at right).

And it's not looking like there will be any significant accumulation before Santa takes to the sky.

Here's a look at the forecast around the state:

After a weekend of cooler (albeit closer to average) temperatures, it'll be much warmer Sunday with highs in the mid-30s in the Twin Cities to upper-20s in northern Minnesota, the National Weather Service says.

Roads were slippery Sunday morning, however, which led to numerous crashes and spinouts.

A more active weather pattern is expected to move through the region this week, which could bring several rounds of rain and snow – but "nothing significant" is in the forecast, the weather service adds.

Precipitation is expected on Christmas Day, which could cause some roads to be slick and slow traffic, AccuWeather reports. Meteorologist Paul Douglas wrote on the Star Tribune weather blog that Christmas could be wet, sloppy, slushy and slick, with the worst road conditions expected north and west of the Twin Cities, which has a better chance for snow. (Check the Minnesota Department of Transportation's website here for current conditions before you hit the road.)

Overall, temperatures are expected to be mild, with highs in the 20s and 30s across the state on Christmas Day. NOAA's six-10 day outlook shows temperatures are expected to be above average for Minnesota and the eastern half of the United States through the holiday weekend, which could put this year in the running for one of the warmest Christmases on record.

How often do we have a white Christmas?

The chance of having a white Christmas if you're in Minnesota is pretty good, NOAA says. In fact, northern Minnesota is actually one of the few non-alpine climates in the United States where a white Christmas is almost "a sure bet," the DNR notes.

But those chances decrease as you move south and west in the state (see map at left). From 1899 to 2014, the Twin Cities has had a white Christmas 72 percent of the time, the DNR notes, and the last time the metro saw a brown Christmas was last year.

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