New York City's Christmas won't be white, but flights will be tight -- due in part to low clouds, high winds, poor visibility and delays expected the day before.

The area is due for 1 to 1 1/2 inches of rain beginning Christmas Eve morning, but the downpour will occur over a long enough period of time -- about 24 hours -- that we should be spared significant flooding, said John Feerick, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com.

Temps will be mild -- in the 50s both days, possibly hitting 57 on Wednesday before dropping into the 40s late Christmas Day, as the rain abates, said Feerick.

"There will be a lot of low clouds and high winds on Christmas Eve," which might delay flights into Christmas Day, Feerick said. "Pack your patience," Feerick advised.

"If you've booked a flight Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, be prepared for some headaches," he added.

Drivers should steer clear of areas they know to be flood-prone, and avoid motoring through "ponding" water on roads.

"That standing water could be a flowing river," much deeper than it appears, said Robert Sinclair Jr., media relations manager for AAA New York.

"Wednesday is getaway day and there are going to be problems," especially that night, due to driving rain, strong winds and reduced visibility. "If at all possible, travel on Christmas Day itself," and avoid night time driving, Sinclair continued.

Many people are eager to get to their destinations, but gifts will be long forgotten if you wind up in a serious accident. Avoid dangerous conditions, drive cautiously with your full attention on the roads and don't speed -- even if you're running late. "The life you save could be your own," Sinclair said.