Sunshine brings snow melt for Whatcom County

School officials hope to be back in business Wednesday

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 25, 2014 

Clear skies and warm temperatures made it feel positively spring-like in Whatcom County Tuesday, Feb. 25, though piles of melting snow were a reminder that winter isn't over yet.

With lows around freezing in the forecast for Tuesday night, Wednesday morning's commute could be tricky as wet and slushy roads had the potential to turn icy, National Weather Service meteorologist Allen Kam said.

Though temperatures in the low 40s melted some snow and improved conditions on roads, there were still some issues with branches and power lines down, as well as car crashes on icy patches in the north county.

After most county schools were closed for two days in a row, school officials were keeping one eye on the weather and another on roads to plan for Wednesday. Most were hopeful that things could return to normal as the weather warmed up.

Ferndale officials decided Tuesday to change the schedule for Wednesday classes. It had been scheduled as an early release day, but for student safety classes were set to start two hours later than the usual morning start time Wednesday. Schools will release at their normal times, not the early times. Officials, however, cautioned that this could change if conditions did not improve enough for safe travel, and classes still could be canceled.

With melting snow and worries about possible freezing conditions, Bellingham School District officials weren't planning on making a decision until Wednesday morning. Meridian, Lynden and Blaine officials also were waiting until morning to assess conditions and make a final decision.

Nooksack Valley schools already had an early release/late start day planned for Wednesday, and the district planned on maintaining that schedule.

Mount Baker Superintendent Charles Burleigh was hopeful that school would be back in session after conditions improved rapidly on Tuesday.

Most major roads were clear Tuesday, but the warming temperatures bring the risk of plugged storm drains and street flooding from melting snow and ice.

The forecast for Wednesday called for highs in the low 50s and partly sunny skies, which could create some pooling as remaining snow melts, though Kam didn't expect any widespread flooding.

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com.

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