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Forecasters say white Christmas is possibility

December 12, 2005|b KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY

karenh@herald-mail.com

To guarantee a white Christmas, Santa Claus and his eight tiny reindeer might have to deliver snow themselves this year from the North Pole.

According to AccuWeather meteorologist Ray Martin, this year's odds of Christmas-card weather are slightly better than average. But they are not guaranteed.

"This year, we're thinking it's a 40 to 50 percent chance because there's been so much snow so early (that) the pattern seems pretty conducive for more snow," Martin said Sunday.

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Historically, the area's chances of snow for Christmas range from about 20 percent to 30 percent, Martin said.

An inch or more of snow has covered the ground or fallen in time for Christmas Day 29 times since 1902, according to www.i4weather.net, a Web site run by local weather observer Greg Keefer.

Last year, .58 inches of precipitation fell two days before Christmas, and though temperatures dropped from a Dec. 23 high of 57 degrees to a Dec. 25 low of 15 degrees, no measurable snow fell Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

In 2003, the Christmas Day high temperature was 37 degrees, and there were snow flurries.

According to www.i4weather.net, the most-recent white Christmas occurred in 2002, when 3.9 inches of new snow fell on top of 1.4 inches already on the ground.

Five-and-a-half inches of snow and ice have blanketed the area this month, according to www.i4weather.net.

J. Gruber's Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack forecasts windy weather, light snow or rain from Christmas Eve through Dec. 26, while The Old Farmer's Almanac calls for heavy rain and wet snow from Dec. 23 to Dec. 26 along the Atlantic Corridor. The Farmers Almanac calls for a fair and cold Christmas.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist John Darnley, the National Weather Service is forecasting a low-pressure system stretching from Texas to hit the area sometime after Dec. 19.

"If that low comes through, then yeah, there could be (snow), but unfortunately it's got that warm air with it," Darnley said.

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