Skies: partly cloudy. Temperature: in the 30s. Percipitation: None.
That's the forecast for Christmas Day in Washington. No snow again. Nothing. Nada. Not even a flake.
"We might have a chance of flurries Christmas Eve day," weather forecaster Gordon Barnes said yesterday. "But I don't see anything for Christmas Day."
No wonder. The last time Washington had a white Christmas was at least 10 years ago, Barnes said. And that was BW (before Watergate).
Maybe we're being punished. Maybe somebody up there is trying to tell us something. What does it all mean?
"Go to the Poconos. They already have some snow," said Barnes.
The Poconos? Heart-shaped bathtubs and Henny Youngman jokes?
"Well, New England will probably have a white Christmas, too," said Barnes.
That's more like it. Crackling fires and L.L. Bean blankets.
But what about Washington? Republicans are muttering that Ronald Reagan would have arranged a white Christmas this year if the Carters had moved out of the White House early. But oh nooooo. The Carters stayed and made their own. So who cares if it is fake snow?
"Actually, it's not fake, it's man-made," said Cindi DiMaggio, spokesman for Wintergreen Ski resort outside of Charlottesville, Va. The resort has 12 to 36 inches of ersatz snow on the slopes.
"We haven't had any snow at all this year," said DiMaggio. "Not a flake.
Depressing isn't it?"
DiMaggio can't remember when they last had a white Christmas. "I guess they used to have them," she sighed.
It's a good thing Bing Crosby isn't alive to see this.
"We have 10 inches of natural man-made snow right now," said Horst Locher, ski director at Bryce Mountain resort in Virginia. Natural?
"Well, you know, it's man-made, but it looks natural."
Locher said they've had a few flurries, but not enough for a white Christmas. "The hills are white, but not the air," he said. "I can't tell you the last time we had a white Christmas. I've been here since 1966. I know we must have had one or two."
Several recent Christmases have, in fact, been shirtsleeve weather. Nothing shatters the Yuletide spirit more than to see hordes of children trying to tobogan down bare hills in their t-shirts.
"Actually, the chances of Washington having a white Christmas are rather poor," said Betty Shoemaker, a specialist with the National Weather Service.
In fact, she said, Washington has a white Christmas only once every 12 years.
In 1976, there was a trace of snow. In 1970, there were a few flurries. In 1969, Washington hit the jackpot with four inches of snow.
"That was a run on white Christmases during the 1960s, she said. Prior to that, December 25ths in Washington were snowless from 1945 to 1960, lean years for the Norman Rockwell set.
Betty Shoemaker isn't hoping for a white Christmas this year. "For one thing, I might get called into work."