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After Christmas snow, new year likely to bring rain

LAWRENCEVILLE — After a rare white Christmas in Gwinnett, temperatures look like they’ll be considerably more mild as locals usher in 2011.

High temperatures across the county and metro Atlanta today are forecasted to be in the high 50s, dropping down to right around the 50-degree mark come midnight. The most concerning question for party-goers, local meteorologist Jon Richards said, will be when the rain will come in.

“(Mild temperatures) are going to lead into probably, unfortunately, a pretty decent chance of rain (tonight) and into New Year’s Day,” said Richards, who runs Lawrenceville

Weather.com.

“It’s really going to be a question of when the rain would be likely to start.”

Thanks to moisture coming in off the Gulf of Mexico, rain seems all but a definite for New Year’s Day, with a chance to cramp late-night festivities. As of Thursday evening, the National Weather Service was calling for “few showers” to begin in the Gwinnett area some time around 2 a.m.

That forecast could always change throughout the day, Richards said.

“It’s going to start raining here at some point, but I don’t have an absolute prediction on that,” he said. “It looks like it’s going to start late, but it really depends on exactly where you are.”

Temperatures are expected to stay on the warmer side for a least a week or so, on the heels of one of the coldest Decembers, and whitest Christmases, in recent memory.

The average Gwinnett temperature for the month was about 36 degrees, Richards said. That compared to mean temperatures of 41, 47 and 48 degrees the previous three Decembers.

“We’re going to go out a little like a lamb, but it’s ended up being pretty cold in December,” Richards said.