The reprieve will last through Tuesday, and then, time to start your creative juices for how to build a snowman as it looks like everyone will get some snow on Wednesday from a new storm taking aim at the Northwest. A Winter Storm Watch is now posted.
But before the snow, we still have another very cold night on tap. Overnight lows across the area will dip into the teens, with a few places in the outlying areas perhaps reaching single digits.
That will bring another icy commute Tuesday morning to places where there is snow on the ground -- especially to places where the sun melted some of the ice and the water spread across the roadway -- that will refreeze solid overnight.
Likely more ice concerns Tuesday night, but it won't be as cold as clouds move in and lows "only" drop to the mid-upper 20s.
Uh oh, clouds? Guess what that means...
Another storm is heading our way Wednesday, dropping in once again from the Gulf of Alaska. Unlike Friday's event, this one is a slam dunk that whatever falls will be snow.
A WINTER STORM WATCH is in effect for all of Western Washington from late Tuesday night through Wednesday night.
The trick will be to figure out snow totals. At this point, it appears the most snow will fall from Everett north interior/Olympic Peninsula and Olympia South, as well as the eastern Puget Sound foothills. It could be a much as 3-6" here as an initial first guess. As for the Central Sound there could be a bit of a Rain Shadow (or "Snow Shadow" in this case) that will limit snow totals in the central Puget Sound area to maybe 1-2", but you should still get enough to make a snowman.
At this point, looks like snow will begin just after midnight in the north and spread south through the daybreak hours, very possibly affecting the Wednesday morning commute.
Snow would fall at times through the day, tapering off Wednesday night, but some snow showers would linger into Thursday. This doesn't look like a heavy snow -- if this were rain, we'd just say light rain at times. But if it snows for 6-8 hours, even lightly, that can add up.
Likely Not Even Half Way Done
Forecast models then show another very strong arctic blast following in that storm's footsteps for Thursday and Friday. This will likely be on par with what we're dealing with now -- Highs 27-31, lows 9-15.
Then, forecasting models show another significant storm coming in for this weekend. Although timing differs in the models between late Friday or Sunday for arrival.
One has it holding off until Saturday night and Sunday, and going south into Oregon, that might spare the northern areas of our region from too much moisture, (but would really plow into Portland).
Another, however, has it coming in pre-dawn Saturday and more of a direct hit from the west. This scenario would be a trade off of bringing much heavier snows, but possibly then a brief transition to rain toward the end of the storm since we'd have a warmer, west wind with that.
But that won't matter much, as forecasting models are pretty consistent that another arctic high comes down on Monday, reinforcing the cold air and plunging is back into the icebox.
So stay tuned about the weekend and we'll see how it shapes up better as we get within a couple of days.
Believe it or not, forecast models hint at then *another* arctic high in that storm's wake, followed by another potential snow event late Christmas night or on Dec. 26. (British Columbians can start dreaming of a White Boxing Day.) And then, watching the models go father out *still* keep us cold all the way through New Year's Eve.
16 days is the farthest the model goes out, but on that last panel, there's another arctic high sitting in the Yukon area licking its chops and if the conveyor belt is still in place, might be the fourth or fifth one to blow through here, likely kicking off 2009 as we finished 2008.
Now, there's plenty of time for this to change -- a three week arctic blast is nearly unheard of here (although that winter of 1950 was 3-4 weeks long of frigid cold). And long range models give more a general pattern hint than specifics, but they're hinting still cold.
On the flip side, maybe by January, we'll all be experts in driving in the stuff.
Here are several links to more information and tidbits about the storm from my weather blog:
- Pity poor Bellingham (wind chill info.)
- What records are in jeopardy?
- Ray Ramsey's forecast, 30 years ago today
- What was December 1990 like?
- See some chimpanzees' first snow storm
- How much snow fell across the region?
- Current map of how cold it is across North America
- What's my city's elevation?
- Great place to find current conditions
- A beer tornado?