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White Christmas? Bet on it

Manchester and Nashua could see up to 10 inches of snow by tonight. Most of the state is due to receive between 6 and 12 inches and the coast slightly less.
/ Source: The Union Leader

No need to dream about a white Christmas. Just look outside today -- and wait for more snow to fall.

"I think a white Christmas is a pretty good bet," said Art Lester, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

Manchester and Nashua could see up to 10 inches of snow by tonight. Most of the state is due to receive between 6 and 12 inches and the coast slightly less.

The wintry stew of snow, freezing rain and sleet will hit on one of the year's busiest holiday shopping days.

"I think a lot of people who were hoping to shop on Sunday and might not shop Sunday will shop today (yesterday)," said Vincent Cosco, mall manager at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua.

Shoppers yesterday packed area malls. Pheasant Lane at times looked busier than a normal mid-December weekend, he said.

"It's 2:30 p.m. and our parking lots are full," Cosco said.

"The storm may put a crimp" in Pheasant Lane's plan to open at 8 a.m. today, he said; the mall is bringing in extra plows to maximize space in parking lots.

The same Saturday last year (Dec. 16) ranked as the third-busiest shopping day at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, with Sunday (Dec. 17) as the fourth-busiest.

Today's storm will mark the third round of snow in a week's time for some areas, with southern areas having received 5 to 8 inches just three days ago.

"This is going to be a different animal," Lester said, predicting that today's snow will be wetter than Thursday's fluff, with more wind and mixed precipitation. Also, northern areas will get the most out of today's storm.

Old Man Winter has done a near full reverse since last year at this time.

For all of December 2006, Concord received a measly 1.8 inches of snow, nearly a foot less than normal and the sixth-least-snowy December on record. Nearly all of that 1.8 inches fell after Christmas, on Dec. 30. Some people spent more time golfing than shoveling that month.

So far this year, Concord has picked up 13.8 inches of snow -- or 8.9 inches more than normal.

Historically, Concord has an 87 percent chance of having at least 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas, a 57 percent chance of at least 5 inches and a 7 percent chance of at least 10 inches, according to Lester.

Before today's storm even hit, Concord had 10 inches on the ground.

And a good amount of it should still be there on Dec. 25.