by Nick Austin
Eyewitness News

HAMILTON COUNTY, EAST RIDGE, TN (WRCB-TV): Even though snow is in the forecast for the Tennessee Valley on Christmas day, folks at one business in East Ridge could not wait until the weekend.  A Jack Frost-looking snow machine has been sitting by the front door of BenchMark Physical Therapy on North Mack Smith Road for the past few days.  Along with holiday decorations and music inside the facility, the snow maker outside has been spewing the pretend white stuff in hopes that even a simulated white Christmas will lift the patients' spirits.

"The snow machine came in because we wanted to have a winter wonderland and it's not snowing yet," said Erica Hood, office coordinator at BenchMark.  "So we added in the snow machine just to give a good feeling."

It's just what the doctor ordered for Wanda Stephenson.  She just started therapy after undergoing total knee replacement and has appreciated the special touch of the fake flakes.  However, she really wants the real thing.

"I don't remember when the last time was we had a white Christmas, but I really hope we do," said Stephenson.

You have to think back a long time to remember the last measurable snowfall in Chattanooga on Christmas day.  It was in 1989 when 0.3" was recorded at the airport.  Only a few flurries were in the air Christmas 2002, and the most Yuletide snowfall was 5.1" in 1969.

Not everyone, however, is hoping for a white Christmas as much as Stephenson.  Dale Guy has been receiving treatment for an injured shoulder and could go either way on the subject.

"It doesn't matter to me.  I'll be in the house," he said as he laughed.  His family sees the hopes of holiday snow differently.  "My granddaughter's praying for it," said Guy.