BELLINGHAM - Bellingham might have a white Christmas. It just depends on what you call "white."
Does a dusting on the Sehome Hill lookout tower count? Then sure, at this point, that's a strong possibility.
Does a wintry mix of flurries and rain count? That's a decent bet, too, but probably not a white Christmas dream come true.
Most of the snow-bearing clouds aren't forecast to hit the Bellingham area until 10 a.m. Dec. 25 - meaning as the day warms up they'll dump more rain than snow, according to the National Weather Service.
Snow levels are estimated at 500 feet until the mid-afternoon. Up to an inch could accumulate by then. But the snow level will rise in the evening, and most or all of it should be gone by Wednesday.
Like usual, the higher you go, the more likely the snow. The foothills in the central and eastern parts of the county could get an inch or three, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the NWS in Seattle. So travelers should be wary and check road conditions in advance.
Most residents near sea level might see a rain and snow mix "if they're lucky," Burg said. This wouldn't be quite the first snow (or snowy mix) for Bellingham this year. Downtown got some flurries last week.
On average, Bellingham has a white Christmas once every decade. This would be the second time since 2008.
The rest of the week is looking warmer - a balmy high of 40 degrees is in the forecast for Thursday afternoon.