Widespread snow likely Friday, confidence grows in significant winter storm
SEATTLE -- As the snow from our first snowstorm continues to gradually melt away this week, all eyes are turning toward a storm for later Friday set to re-plaster the area in a white blanket.
Confidence is growing that a second round of widespread snow will move into the region starting late in the day Friday and lingering through Friday night...and even through much of Saturday before tapering off.
This storm has a lot of similar characteristics to our first storm, though with a bit more moisture available for a potential of greater accumulations. The National Weather Service in Seattle has classified the storm as having potential for "major impacts" across the region, the second-highest rating on their 5-color storm impact scale.
We remain dry and sunny Wednesday after another icy morning. Low temperatures were mainly in the teens to low 20s again, though Arlington was the cold spot once again at just 3 degrees. Tacoma dropped to 14, it was 15 in Olympia and Everett, 16 in Shelton, and ranging from 19-21 around Seattle.
It's prompted yet another large round of school delays and closures for Wednesday as the many side streets remain covered under a thick coat of snow and ice. (SEE FULL LIST)
Temperatures will gradually warm to the mid-upper 30s, starting to melt a bit more snow.
It'll all refreeze again Wednesday night with lows in the teens to low 20s once again, with another mostly sunny day Thursday with temperatures perhaps hitting 40 for the first time since Sunday. We should do a decent job of melting off another chunk of Monday's lingering accumulations.
But Thursday is you day to get ready for the next bout as clouds increase late in the day. A developing trough of low pressure will form around Vancouver Island and begin its snowy trek south. Friday will begin cloudy with snow developing along the Canadian border by late morning, slowly moving south as the day progresses, although we might be able to hold off reaching the Puget Sound region until around -- or maybe, cross fingers, just after, the evening commute. It will be close.
MORE | SDOT Seattle Snow Plow Map
North of Seattle, this should just start as snow; Around Seattle and points south, it's possible with a bit of south wind ahead of the moisture that we warm up just a touch to where it starts as a rain/snow mix or sleet. But it will eventually turn to snow.
That's because as the trough drifts south just off our coast, it will once again pull through another round of arctic air pooled into B.C. through the Fraser River Valley with winds again raging across Whatcom County and the San Juans, blowing that cold air across the region. So once again, far North Sound will have strong winds on top of the snowfall.
Snow will continue to steadily fall Friday night and into much of Saturday. Much like Friday, it looks like a band of snow will stall over the region for an area of extra snow, but where that sets up is still in flux. This is what gave Snohomish County and the northern Eastside is extra snow -- totals of 8-12 inches were common there while most of the rest of the region was in the 2-5 inch range.
This time around the general totals around the Puget Sound region and Southwestern Washington have potential to be maybe a little more than Monday -- like 3-6 inches, with spots to 8 inches. That also goes for the heart of Seattle, where the average forecast models are going about... 3-6 inches. For the North Sound and Eastside -- that 3-6 inch total is a good place to start as well, which would actually be a little less for you than Monday, but then again it's possible the band stalls over the same area for extra snow there once again. But those two areas are, relatively speaking, where it might not be quite as strong as the Monday storm, but really, splitting hairs here. On the other hand, the South Sound looks like they could get a little more than Monday's totals.
Farther north toward Bellingham, it's once again more wind than snow, with expected snow totals now in the 1-4 inch range. There had been some earlier forecast charts that painted dramatic snow totals around Whatcom County to the tune of over a foot, but those totals have backed off to more in the range of 1-4 inches. Northeast winds will be strong once again especially late Friday into Saturday and some sort of Wind advisory/warnings will likely be issued as the day gets closer.
Snow will gradually taper off from north to south late Saturday evening setting us up for a "Groundhog Day" type déjà vu of a cold and sunny-ish Sunday with lots of icy roads around and highs only in the 30s.
Dry weather holds into Monday and then...believe it or not we might have Round 3 looming for Tuesday or Wednesday next week as the cold pattern remains stuck on repeat. This storm doesn't look as strong as the first two but could add another couple inches of snow to the region.
When do we warm up? Tough to say. Even the far extended models keep us much colder than normal through the next 10-14 days. The 8-14 day forecast which carries through Feb. 19 continues to show very high confidence of colder than normal conditions.