Lowlands could see some snow this weekend

Lowlands could see some snow this weekend
Photos courtesy: Angela Kelly, Kelly Images and Photography.
SEATTLE -- Three years ago Sunday, Western Washington saw a very crazy snow event where parts of Skagit County got two feet of snow while Seattle basked in unexpected sunshine.

We're "celebrating" the anniversary with another very tricky snow forecast.

The short term might see a little wet snow at times but nothing major. Snow levels will be around 500 feet tonight so some of the higher hills and higher communities could get a dusting of snow like we saw Thursday night on the Eastside foothills.

Showers will persist through Saturday and that will mainly be rain for most of the region, but areas around western Whatcom and Skagit County, as well as all areas above 500 feet from about Tacoma north to Skagit County could see some wet snow. We're not super cold yet so this will be a slushy, marginal snow with limited accumulations. Highs will be in the upper 30s north, 40ish around Seattle and to low-mid 40s Tacoma South.

Bottom line: Saturday may see some snow but at this point is not looking like much of a deal.

It's Saturday night into Sunday and even later Sunday that the forecast gets really challenging. More moisture moves in late Saturday into Sunday, and in the meantime, some colder air in the interior of British Columbia is set to be drawn through the Fraser River Valley into Western Washington.

The BIG question is: How far does that cold air spread across Western Washington? Our forecast models are at a standoff -- one has been adamant that cold air will spread all the way south through the Puget Sound region and even into parts of Southwestern Washington, with plenty of moisture to bring accumulating snow to a wide swath of our region. It has been sticking with this idea for a few days now.

Meanwhile, another main model has been just as consistent that the cold air won't make it much beyond Bellingham, and the rest of the region will remain too warm to snow and it'll just be a chilly rain or mix.

We think the Southwestern Washington idea is too far. Models sometimes overestimate the spread of the Fraser Valley wind. We're thinking Everett is about the far south for accumulating snow Sunday, with some snow also possible on the Eastside foothills. Seattle-Bellevue Metro may get some light snow dusting or a mix, and probably too warm for sticking snow Tacoma south. (This is opposite of the last snow event here where being further south was best.)

There is still too much uncertainty to really give a snow accumulation forecast, although I'd say at least a few inches are likely around Bellingham this weekend.

But let's recap Sunday's thoughts *as of this point* (stay tuned):
Bellingham/Whatcom/San Juans: Snow likely
Skagit/N Olympic Peninsula: Very good chance of accumulating snow
Everett/Snohomish Co/Whidbey: Moderate chance of accumulating snow
Eastside Foothills: Moderate chance of accumulating snow
Seattle/Bellevue/Bremerton: Low chance of accumulating snow
Tacoma: Low chance of snow
Olympia south: Very slim chance/just rain

Highs will range from the mid 30s north to mid 40s south.

Looks like the moisture stops Sunday night so at this point, Monday morning's commute should be snow free as far as precipitation goes, we'll just have to see if there is any snow on the ground. The day looks dry with highs around 40. We gradually warm up through the week with rain chances again by midweek.