Judging from recent history and the current forecast, the chances of Philadelphia having a White Christmas are slim.

The odds are much better for those living in Bucks County or farther north, because storms today and tomorrow might leave a lasting blanket.

In the last 40 years, only five years - 1969, 1976, 1993, 1998 and 2002 - saw more than trace of snow in the air or on ground in Philadelphia on Dec. 25.

And '76 and '93 saw less than a quarter-inch.

In 2002, about an inch and a half of snow fell Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - but so did some rain.

In 1998, two inches of snow fell during a storm that began on Dec. 23, and an inch was still left on Dec. 25.

In 1969, about four inches fell on Christmas Day.

Indeed, the Sixties had five White Christmases, more than all the decades since combined.

The whopper was 1966, when more than a foot of snow fell on Dec. 24.

(To see the weather service's "Probability of a White Christmas" table, go to www.erh.noaa.gov/phi/xmasclimate.html.)

The current forecast does call for "a chance of snow" starting Tuesday night, but Wednesday's high in the mid-40s should melt any hopes.

If it snows at all.

"Right now that looks like it's warm enough to be all rain," said meteorologist Joe Miketta of the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly.

In counties north of the city, though, enough snow might be deposited today and tomorrow night that some will survive Wednesday's rain.

"I would suspect that from the Lehigh Valley on north, it looks like there will be a good probability that there will still be some snow on the ground" on Dec. 25, Miketta said.

Indeed, the same probability chart shows that White Christmas happens twice as often in Allentown.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.