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Let it snow? Christmas may be white in Northeast, southern Plains, Seattle

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The wintry weather on Christmas Day marks the beginning of a week that meteorologists predict will be wet, wild, and possibly white.

“The pattern is a stormy weather pattern for the week for a good chunk of the country,” says Tom Kines, a meteorologist at AccuWeather.com in State College, Pa.

People along the Gulf Coast from Houston to the panhandle of Florida need to be especially alert, he says. That area faces the potential for severe thunderstorms and, possibly, tornadoes. At the very least, residents there will get a lot of rain, as warm air from the Gulf of Mexico collides with the cold air to the north.

“Residents in those areas could have a very wet Christmas,” says Mr. Kines.

Storm systems racing across the country are likely to cause delays at some airports during the busiest travel days of the year. However, because most of the precipitation in the eastern US will be rain, the delays aren't expected to be too bad.

Moreover, the prospect of wet weather is not likely to adversely affect retailers who traditionally have one of their busiest days of the year on Dec. 26, when shoppers return gifts, cash in gift cards, or take advantage of sales, says some retail analysts.

“The good news is that people will still be able to get to the stores even if they are a little delayed,” says Evan Gold, a senior vice president at Planalytics, a business weather advisory firm in Berwyn, Pa. “For most people along the I-95 corridor, it will be rain, not snow.”

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