Winds pick up as W. Wash. awaits Act II of weather drama

Winds pick up as W. Wash. awaits Act II of weather drama »Play Video
Gusty winds knocked a tree down onto a car near Shoreline Community College on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by YouNews contributor judbud)
North winds picked up across Western Washington on Saturday, toppling some trees and power lines, as Act I of the season's first cold weather drama played out - setting the stage for more plot twists in the coming days.

The National Weather Service issued a statement warning of even colder surge of air from Canada on Monday and Tuesday, which is expected to usher in subfreezing temperatures and the possibility of snow south of Olympia.

In Bellingham, where anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow fell Friday night, the mercury barely climbed above freezing on Saturday as wind gusts out of the Fraser River valley topped 40 mph. The overnight wind chill in Bellingham dropped to 15 degrees.

North winds surged elsewhere across the region as well, including Sea-Tac Airport and the Tacoma Narrows, where winds gusted to nearly 30 mph.

The wind gauge on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry reported winds of 30 to 40 mph on Saturday afternoon, with a peak gust to 41 mph.

Winds toppled a tree across Ballinger Way at Lake Forest Park at about 3:45 p.m. Saturday, blocking the highway and knocking out power to homes and businesses in the area.

Gusty winds also brought down a tree and power lines on top of a car in the 500 block of NE 127th Street in Seattle at about 4:15 p.m., trapping three people inside and leaving about 500 customers without lights.

Wind-driven waves also began breaking apart a city dock in Tacoma at the Foss Seaport, but the structure was scheduled to be removed next week anyway and access to the dock had already been closed off.

Early afternoon temperatures were mostly stuck in the upper 30s through much of the Puget Sound region. But little or no more snow was expected Saturday, although a few flurries were possible in the northern Olympic Peninsula.

The National Weather Service issued a statement Saturday morning saying the worst is yet to come.

"A second surge of colder air on Monday will be accompanied by another blast of cold Fraser River outflow ... but this time it is likely that the cold air will sweep south throughout Western Washington," the statement said.

According to computer models, most of the snowfall on Monday should fall in southwest Washington and Oregon, but there is a chance that some accumulating show could develop over Western Washington on Monday.

The current forecast is for 1 to 3 inches of snow to fall on Monday south of Olympia, and people in southwest Washington may encounter winter driving conditions on Monday, the Weather Service said.

However, the forecast could change. So local residents are being advised to stay tuned and check the latest forecasts and conditions change.

Here is Scott Sistek's forecast for the coming days, updated as of 2:45 p.m. Saturday:

Saturday Night / Sunday

Cooler air keeps filtering in, but moisture becomes in even more short supply. Snow levels will likely be near sea level to a few hundred feet, but we're thinking flurries at best because the air looks quite dry. Lows Saturday night range from 28-32, highs Sunday are in the mid-upper 30s.

Greater Seattle area recap: No real problems expected.

Sunday Night

Region cools further as arctic air keeps settling in. There is very little moisture around so we're looking at a few flurries here and there. However, it will be quite cold Sunday night with lows in the mid-upper 20s. That could present some icy roads for Monday morning.


Forecasting models now indicate another reinforcing shot of cold air will roll in from the north. There is also an area of low pressure dropping down from the north, but models indicate this storm will pass offshore then come inland into southern Washington or Oregon. This would be a classic snow-maker for Seattle, only it appears the moisture is going to be too far south.

For areas Olympia south through western Oregon, we are looking at the potential for 1-3" of snow on Monday. For areas north -- obviously including Seattle and the Puget Sound region -- we're looking very cold and mostly dry. We have to keep an eye on this because if the moisture does come farther north, it would be snow. But at this point, there is low chance of snow, except for Olympia. Highs will only be in the low-mid 30s, with perhaps only 20s in Bellingham.

Monday night through Tuesday night

The moisture is gone by Monday night and then skies clear and we get REALLY cold. Lows Monday night will be in the teens to low 20s.

Tuesday looks dry and cold with highs again lucky to reach freezing. And then another frigid night Tuesday night with lows 18-24.

Extended forecast

We slowly moderate through the week and should be OK by big travel Wednesday with no lowland weather-related travel issues foreseen at this point. Even the mountains might be OK as we appear to stay mainly dry. Thanksgiving through Sunday stick mainly dry with near-normal temperatures, but we'll keep tabs just in case Mother Nature tries to sneak something at us when we attempt to warm up next week.