Western Washington awaits blast of cold air from Canada

SEATTLE - A late autumn chill filled the Puget Sound skies Monday morning, but it'll feel relatively warm compared to what's coming in the hours ahead as the region awaits a blast of arctic air from British Columbia later Monday.

A few early snow showers dotted the region Sunday night, including a dusting in Sultan and a few snow flurries around Bellingham.

Sunshine then poked out as the showers came to a brief halt Monday morning, but a few isolated showers were expected through the day that could be a brief snow or rain/snow mix, especially above 500 feet.

It's a waiting game until the arctic air arrives in sometime late Monday afternoon or Monday evening, and that push of cold air could squeeze out some snow showers as it moves south through the region. Forecast models indicate this transition would be Monday afternoon, but models indicate the arctic air is going a little slower and the transition could wait until late Monday evening or early Monday night -- likely still during or just after the Monday Night Football game ends.

Accumulations are expected to be scattered and light, reaching anywhere from a dusting to 1" -- maybe an isolated spot with 2" -- where the snow falls. The best shots are in the hills above 400 feet and away from the water. For most areas though, this will be a dry transition to the colder air with just a few flurries as the cold air arrives.

The cold air is expected to trigger some strong, gusty winds up near Bellingham and the San Juan Islands at the outflow of the Fraser River Valley. A Wind Advisory is in effect from 2 p.m. Monday through 11 a.m. Tuesday for gusts to 55 mph there.

Once the arctic air arrives, skies will clear and temperatures will plummet, dropping into the mid 20s by tonight. We then essentially stay in the relative deep freeze for the rest of the week, with highs Tuesday through Friday only in the low 30s and lows in the upper teens to mid 20s.

Extended forecasts show perhaps a chance of a few flurries or light snow showers on Friday but there is still quite a bit of uncertainty and some forecast models maintain dry conditions through the weekend.

The cold temperatures prompted Auburn to open a severe weather shelter at Veteran's Memorial Park in the William C. Warren Building. More information about the shelter is available here.