Hopeful punters dreaming of a white Christmas

Timing of snow

It has also issued a winter weather advisory that will be in effect for 24 hours beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Snow, which has been slow to develop this evening, will start overnight - look for it by 10 p.m. - and then evolve into a significant lake effect event that could deliver up to 6 inches of lake effect snow on Christmas Day. Prior to it, in 1991, Shimla experienced 49 cms of snow on Christmas Eve.

High temperatures will reach only the single digits or teens below zero on Christmas with wind chills reaching 35 below zero in some areas. Motorists were advised to use caution.

Snow is expected for the region, according to the National Weather Service office in Missoula, which is forecasting total accumulations of 4 to 6 inches, with localized amounts of up to 13 inches. Arctic air will sweep into the area in the wake of the snow bringing the city it coldest weather since last December. A coating to an inch of snow is expected in New York City and parts of western Long Island.

Snowshoe Mountain leads the state with a probability of at least one inch of snow on the ground at 62 percent, closely followed by Thomas at 61 percent. If traveling, be prepared for rapidly changing road conditions and visibilities.

Despite forecasts of a balmy festive season there were still a surge in last minute bets from hopeful punters for snow on Christmas Day. But by nightfall, warm temperatures had melted most of the white stuff away.

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