IT LOOKED LIKE a perfect plan. Spend tomorrow finishing your holiday shopping. Then, Sunday, you can hit the Linc parking lots early, do some hearty tailgating, then amble without guilt to your seat and enjoy the soaring, high-scoring, Eagles and DeSean "Long-Gone" Jackson putting on another show in space.

Well, into every perfect last weekend to shop a few snowflakes must fall - or a few hundred trillion. The Philadelphia region and most of the Middle Atlantic states are on the cusp of one of the biggest pre-Christmas storms in local weather history. It could be right up there with the near-blizzard that struck a few days before the Eagles' 1960 NFL title victory over Green Bay. It could remind old-timers of the driving snowstorm Steve Van Buren mushed through in Shibe Park when the Birds beat the Chicago Cardinals for the 1948 title. The Eagles had to help the grounds crew shovel the field.

That one dropped about 7 inches of snow on the area. The most reliable models are all predicting accumulating snow, with both the JMA (Japanese) model and ECMF (Euro) model printing out as much as a foot or more in the I-95 corridor between Washington and New York.

These were late-afternoon Thursday runs. By the time you read this there will be three or four more runs that should produce a tighter consensus. This will be a major, beach-devouring, coastal Nor'easter charging out of the Gulf of Mexico, colliding with the dome of cold air over New England and exploding off Cape Hatteras. So, in addition to snow that will begin tonight and continue into or through tomorrow night, there will be blowing and drifting snow driven by 35-to-40 mph winds.

Seconds ago, my Weatherbug sent my laptop a strongly worded NWS Winter Storm Watch for the potential of heavy snow and dangerous travel conditions.

See you at the L-L-L-L-inc . . .

- Bill Conlin