More snow, wind loom for afternoon commute

More snow, wind loom for afternoon commute
SEATTLE -- Thanksgiving week kicked off looking more like Christmas as snow fell across most of the Puget Sound area on Monday, including neighborhoods in the Seattle as arctic air continued its march into Western Washington. And more snow was now expected to move into the Seattle area this afternoon with increasing wind a concern as well.

Winter Storm Warnings remain in effect for a wide area of Western Washington, including the greater Seattle Metro area until 10 p.m. Monday as a storm moves into the region combined with arctic air already entrenched.

While many spots had anywhere from a dusting to 4" as of midday Monday, additional accumulations were possible as the storm's center passed through Western Washington. The accumulations will vary depending on the storm's track and elevation. We could see storm totals range from 2-6" in the Puget Sound area by the end of the day with higher amounts in the foothills. Gusty north winds were also expected that could make for blowing snow conditions with gusts to 20-30 mph, maybe some gusts to 40 mph.

Many school districts delayed the start of classes, and some announced closures for the day (see full school list). Seattle schools opened on time, but dismissed at 12:35 p.m. due to the threat of afternoon snow. In King County, all Metro buses were operating on snow routes.

Major highways were mostly clear of snow for the early morning commute, but some arterials, such as Highway 99 and other roads were crawling as drivers slowed due to snow and ice.

Crews from SDOT and WSDOT were busy putting down deicer overnight to keep water and snow from freezing on roads and highways, but traffic was clogged throughout much of the area as more people got on the roads. At one point the travel time from Everett to Seattle on I-5 was over two hours.

Many side streets were impassable, and crews were responding to numerous spinouts throughout Western Washington. In Pierce County the eastbound lanes of SR-16 were closed just west of the Narrows Bridge due to numerous crashes, and a Pierce Transit bus rolled over on the UW Tacoma campus, injuring several passengers.

In addition to snow and ice we will also see strong northerly winds of 20-30 mph gusting to perhaps 40 mph, sending wind chills into the teens.

Here are some snow and wind specifics:

Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton/Kitsap, Bellevue, Cascade foothills: Potential for 2-6 inches snow, with the larger amounts more toward the foothills and in localized clusters in the central Puget Sound area. Gusty winds to 30-40 mph can make for low visibility and drifting of snow this afternoon and evening. Actual highs near 30; wind chills in teens. Roads will be treacherous where snow has fallen.

Olympia to Portland/SW Interior: 2-5 inches of snow expected. Northerly winds 15-25, gusting to 35 mph.

Clallam County: 3-7 inches expected with the higher amounts reserved for the Olympic Mountain foothills south of Port Angeles and Sequim. Northeast winds of 15-25 mph will develop with wind chills in the low teens.

Skagit/Island Counties/Pt. Townsend: Less snow here -- 1-4" with higher amounts closer to Pt. Townsend. A lesser Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for snow. Highs near 30; wind chills in teens. North winds 15-25, gusting to 35.

Whatcom County/San Juan Islands: Here, wind is a factor as opposed to the snow. A High Wind Warning is in effect until 4 a.m. Tuesday for north winds or 30-40 mph gusting to 60 mph. There is also potential for power outages so people here need to take precautions for safe heating, and not use candles or indoor cooking devices that give off carbon monoxide. Little snow is expected here.

Coast: 1-3" of snow expected, mainly away from the beaches. North winds will blow 15-25 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Wind chills in teens.

When the wind picks up this afternoon, it likely will feel colder than at any point last winter. Wind chill values this evening will be in the teens. By Tuesday morning, air temperatures will be in the teens/low 20s with wind chill values between 0 and 15 degrees.

That also means that any kind of moisture will be a very solid freeze on the roads for Tuesday morning.

Snow totals so far:

Here are some snow reports that have come into the KOMO News room and National Weather Service as of 1:40 p.m.

  • Enumclaw: 9.0"
  • Coville (Clallam Co) 7.0"
  • Sequim: 7.0"
  • Enumclaw: 6.2"
  • Port Townsend: 6.0"
  • Port Angeles: 5.5"
  • North Bend: 4.8"
  • Tacoma: 4.5"
  • Potlatch: 4.0"
  • Covington: 3.5"
  • Federal Way: 3.5"
  • Hoodsport: 3"
  • Coupeville: 2.1"
  • Renton (East Hill): 2.0"
  • Freeland: 2.0"
  • Oak Harbor: 2.0"
  • Puyallup: 1.9"

Hasn't been this cold this early in ages

The National Weather Service noted that since 1985, we've only remained below freezing all day long in November just once in Seattle. That's exactly what will happen Tuesday, as we're forecasting a high temperature of just 29 degrees.

However, it could be a great day for photographers. While very cold, it should be clear and the mountains will be out in full force. If you've been meaning lately to take a trip to the Space Needle or, say, Kerry Park, Tuesday is your day. Just bring the camera and a very heavy coat. (And send us any great pictures you get to our YouNews site.

Slow warm up

Long range models do gradually warm us up as we head toward Thanksgiving with highs then back into the 40s.

Long-range forecast models paint a somewhat wet picture heading into the holiday weekend, but temperatures will be near normal. That means the snow chance is pretty much finished after today.

Stay warm out there!

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