- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tourism promoters might consider this ad pitch: Visit the nation’s capital to enjoy the weather. Although neighbors to the north and south have been blanketed by snow this season, the metropolitan area has received less than 1 inch.

Forecasters predict highs near 60 degrees for the New Year’s weekend.

The average temperature in the D.C. area for this week is about 45 degrees. The real treat is expected today, when springlike weather is forecast.

Meanwhile, much of the rest of the country has been in a deep freeze or steeped in ice and snow.

Even the perpetually sunny Southern California has had snow, sleet and freezing rain, which has prompted concerns about more mudslides.

The East Coast, from Virginia to Maine, has been digging out of snow all week, creating a nearly coast-to-coast white Christmas that included Michigan, Tennessee and the Ohio Valley.

Houston and the Rio Grande Valley on Christmas Day had snow for the first time since Dec. 17, 1996.

But not the metropolitan area.

“We had our share of bad weather in the fall,” said Dave Manning, warning coordinator at the National Weather Service. “Now it has shifted to other parts of the nation.”

He pointed out that white Christmases are rare in this area.

“Out of the 133 years of our record keeping, only nine times has there been measurable snow on Christmas Day,” Mr. Manning said.

The temperature is expected to hover in the 50s today and increase to 57 degrees on New Year’s Eve. The temperature for New Year’s Day is expected to reach 58 degrees.

Still, winter is only 10 days old and anything can happen.

The week in the District started with chilly temperatures. The high on Tuesday was 32, which was 9 degrees below average.

Mr. Manning, who generally drafts warnings to caution drivers to beware of ice, high winds and other severe weather conditions, had this to say of Washington’s weather: “Enjoy it.”

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