Updated Tuesday 9:00 p.m.
If you are a little kid (or still a kid at heart) that was disappointed that you weren't in one of the communities that had some sticking snow during this last winter go round, don't worry: we still have a GREAT shot at lowland snow later this week. This next set-up is of the variety that has the potential to produce WIDESPREAD snow instead of just the scattered fluff we saw on Sunday and Monday. This may be the stuff that snow days are made of...!
We have the first ingredient in place--plenty of icy cold, dry air. Clear skies tonight will allow temperatures to nosedive into the 20s everywhere, easily the coldest night of the season so far. Expect to leave extra time to scrape your frozen windshield again before your morning commute, and remember that some of the hills could still be slippery, especially those in the shade. Afternoon highs will top out mainly in the 30s, so it stays nice and cold all day long.
The second ingredient for a snow-out arrives on Thursday: the precipitation. A warm disturbance pushing in from the Pacific will ride over all of this cold air, and the result will be a good round of winter white. A WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for almost all of Western Washington due to the expected snow. Snow is expected to hit the southwest interior and Olympia by the lunch hour, then march right up the I-5 corridor into Seattle by the afternoon. Forecasting models, especially the European version that tends to be more accurate and reliable, gives us a chance of 1 to 6" of snow on the ground by Thursday night. This time the snow won't just fly and stick in the foothills, but also right near sea level. The warm air will eventually scour out the cold by Friday, but it may take some time to take over completely.
That's because some gusty easterly winds will be howling through the passes, blowing cold air from the eastern side of the mountains to the western side down below. Cities like Enumclaw & Issaquah could howl up to 40 mph Thursday night, making for extra cold wind chill readings and flying snow.
Friday will be the transition day back to rain, but it might take awhile to warm up. Many schools will at least have a late start, but several will likely have their first snow day of the year, especially in the foothills and near Hood Canal and the Kitsap Peninsula, where the warming always takes a little longer. Highs will warm into the 40s again by Friday afternoon, and by the weekend, the snow will be a memory. But little and big kids alike should have fun while it lasts!
Have a great night,
Meteorologist Shannon O'Donnell
The KOMO4 Forecast Team
Today's Record Temperatures