A sunny and relatively warm Christmas Day is expected for much of the United States

It's expected be about 52 degrees in Chicago on Wednesday, making it the warmest Dec. 25 in 25 years.
Image: Costumed performers leave Rockefeller Center in New York on Dec. 20, 2019.
Costumed performers leave Rockefeller Center in New York on Dec. 20, 2019.Bebeto Matthews / AP

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By David K. Li

A white Christmas will be nothing but a dream Wednesday, as an unseasonable warm spell is set to blanket much of America.

Aside from a few patches of the Sierra mountains and the Rockies, no major U.S. city outside of Denver is expected to see any snowfall on Christmas Day.

The mercury is expected to reach a toasty 52 degrees in Chicago on Wednesday, in what could mark the warmest Christmas Day there since 1994, when it also reached 52 degrees.

Other major U.S. cities such as New York, where it's expected to be 44 degrees Wednesday, Philadelphia (47 degrees), Dallas (71 degrees), Washington, D.C., (50 degrees) and Houston (72 degrees) are all expected to have their warmest Christmas Days since 2016.

The warm New York weather could help ease the Christmas crush at airports.

For example, at New York City's LaGuardia Airport where an average of 43,000 people pass through daily, up to 50,000 travelers are expected Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Transportation Security Administration officials said.

Then at nearby Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, a typical weekday sees about 60,000 passengers and crew members screened, but nearly 70,000 are likely to come through Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, according to the TSA.

Los Angeles might be among the few major U.S. cities to feel a chill, at least by its sunny standards, with a forecast high of 56 degrees Wednesday — down from 63 degrees Christmas Day last year and 71 degrees Dec. 25, 2017.

And just 400 miles to the north, San Francisco is set for a 53-degree Wednesday, down from 59 degrees last year and 56 degrees on Christmas Day in 2017.

If you're absolutely desperate for snow and money is no object, then head over to Telluride, Colorado, where there's the possibility of a white Christmas. A little more than 1 inch could fall on that southwest Colorado winter getaway Wednesday.

Santa Claus will still need to bundle up this week, as it'll be minus 16 degrees in North Pole, Alaska, on Wednesday, forecasters said.

Steve Strouss contributed.