We'll be shivering -- not shoveling -- this Christmas 'Tis the season Today's wind to give way to fair skies Christmas Day, with a high near 35

December 24, 1992|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

There won't be a white Christmas in the Baltimore area thi year, just a cold one.

Look for today's wind gusts to diminish as temperatures plunge into the 20s tonight.

There's a very slight chance for snow showers Christmas night, according to Weather Service meteorologist Bob Melrose.

Otherwise, Christmas Day will be fair, with temperatures in the 30s and light winds, according to the Weather Service.

The absence of snow for Christmas should come as no surprise in Central Maryland, since there has been precious little reason for holiday sleigh rides over the course of two decades.

Mr. Melrose said snow has fallen on Christmas only four times in the area since the 1970s -- and those flakes didn't amount to much: one-tenth of an inch in 1975, three-tenths in 1976, and traces in 1985 and 1989.

Snow is expected today in Garrett County in western Maryland, with accumulations of 3 inches to 5 inches possible as a strong high pressure system blows in moisture from the Great Lakes with cold Canadian air, according to the Weather Service.

Mr. Melrose predicted windy, cold and dry weather here Saturday and Sunday.

Many Marylanders will be enjoying a four-day holiday this weekend, the first of four straight years when both Christmas and New Year's Day fit into a three-day weekend by falling on either Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

If you are traveling, you can expect busier airports, train stations and highways. Many economists expect the busiest travel season since the recession began in July 1990 because of the improving economy.

"They say it's standing room only," said Frank Heck of Baltimore as he waited Wednesday in Baltimore's Penn Station for a train to take him, his wife and son to his mother's house in Albany, N.Y. "We were hoping in the middle of the day, two days before Christmas, we would avoid it, but I'm afraid not."

The American Automobile Association estimates 33.7 million people will travel at least 100 miles from home this Christmas and New Year's, up 5 percent from 1991 and near the 34.4 million who took a trip during the 1989 holidays.

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