Some parts of the Puget Sound lowlands could receive a rare white Christmas - at least during the morning hours.
Much like what occurred on Wednesday, an incoming weather system is expected to arrive in the early morning hours Christmas morning after temperatures have dropped to around the freezing mark following a chilly night.
The best chance of accumulating snow is, as it was on Wednesday, near the Hood Canal, the Kitsap Peninsula from about Bremerton west to the Hood Canal, and parts of southwest Washington.
Forecast models show the Hood Canal area including spots like Hoodsport, Brinnon and Seabeck could see significant snows of 6-8 inches. Lesser amounts in the 2-4 inch range are expected along the central Kitsap Peninsula and southwestern Washington. A few inches are also possible early Christmas Day morning in the Cascade foothills, much like Wednesday.
Elsewhere, light accumulations are possible on higher hills or away from bodies of water like Puget Sound, but again just like Wednesday, snow accumulations are expected to be light and not last particularly long.
By midday and afternoon, if not sooner, temperatures will warm to above freezing and the snow will change to rain. (Just like Wednesday.) However, it will be a slower transition along the Hood Canal and Kitsap County areas.
Snow will continue to fall in the mountains, possibly accompanied by gusty winds.
Or to recap, just generally expect what happened on Wednesday.
Snow it the Olympics foothills; Gusty winds in the Cascade Foothills
OK, so there is one difference between Tuesday's expected weather and what happened on Wednesday -- Christmas Day also features potential for strong, gusty east winds in the Cascade foothill towns such as Enumclaw, North Bend and Gold Bar.
Cold, dense air in Eastern Washington is creating higher pressure east of the mountains and as the storm approaches the coast, it will generate a large difference in pressure between Eastern and Western Washington.
Forecast models indicate east winds will increase just after midnight Christmas morning, peaking around noon and abating in the afternoon.
7 Percent Chance of White Christmas In Seattle
White Christmases are rare in the Puget Sound lowlands. Statistics show that Seattle has about a 7 percent chance of having an inch or more of snow on the ground on Christmas Day - which works out to be about once every 14 years. Bellingham is a bit better at 10 percent, while Olympia is at 3 percent.
The last official white Christmas in Seattle - defined as 1 inch or more on the ground at Sea-Tac Airport - was in 2008. Before that it was 1990. But other areas of the Puget Sound lowlands have had white Christmases in between.
It is unlikely that Sea-Tac will get a full inch of snow to qualify 2012 an official White Christmas, but if you're in the Seattle area and need to have snow for the holidays, you can drive about 40 miles west or east.