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White Christmas? Looks good so far

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December 09, 2009 - Whether the area will have a white Christmas is up in the air, but a cuddle alert has been issued.

WDIV-4 Detroit Meteorologist Chuck Gaidica is known for advising cuddle alerts when the weather becomes unusually cold. Get ready to snuggle.

"My gut tells me we're flipping the switch to winter," Gaidica said. "It will be windy and cold and will get people's attention the next few days."

Still, it is too early to determine if Goodrich and Ortonville will have a white Christmas. Going into November, the Detroit metro area was drier than usual, indicative of the El Nino winter that is expected this year, Gaidica said.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, El Niņo is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, with important consequences for weather around the globe.

Gaidica said those consequences here usually mean slightly milder temperatures and average, or less than average, snowfall for the season.

"This season should run below average," Gaidica said. "If you want a ski resort, you may be crying."

Mt. Holly in Groveland Township fired up the snow making equipment last week and officially opened on Dec. 10, however, not all runs are open. In 2008 Mt. Holly opened before Thanksgiving, on Nov. 19.

So far, this season is a marked contrast to last year, when the area had 20 inches of snow prior to Christmas Day. From November 2008 to last April, 65 inches of snow fell in the Detroit metro area, 20 inches above the average.

While Gaidica isn't ready to forecast snow for Christmas Day, he is confident in some predictions.

"I know someone will get something good in their stocking and someone will put a fire on and someone will get one of those blankets with arms," he said.

"I will issue a season-long cuddle alert. Cuddle with your teddy bear, your dog, it doesn't matter. It can be a platonic thing."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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