Local

Wet snow expected overnight; roads could be icy for several days

The snow melting at Zuanich Park, Feb. 25, 2014 in Bellingham. There’s a good chance that Whatcom County residents may see their first lowland snowfall since 2014 this week.
The snow melting at Zuanich Park, Feb. 25, 2014 in Bellingham. There’s a good chance that Whatcom County residents may see their first lowland snowfall since 2014 this week. The Bellingham Herald

A brisk cold front arrived Sunday in Northwest Washington, and with it a good chance that Whatcom County residents may see their first lowland snowfall since 2014, as the region will be sharply colder for the next several days.

National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle had been predicting a chance of snow as low as 500 feet for Sunday night and into Monday morning, but that’s looking more like it will arrive around late Monday morning or early afternoon, meteorologist Danny Mercer said. “It may just be all wet snow for a period.” Mercer said. “We’re not expecting a major accumulation.”

Still, the weather service issued a winter weather advisory Sunday afternoon for possible accumulations of 1 to 2 inches of snow, mostly above the 500-foot level.

Mercer said snow may stick to lawns and trees, but it likely will melt from roadways. Driving conditions could be hazardous Monday in the higher hills of Whatcom County.

He said to expect more snow overnight Monday, as a stiff northeast wind sweeps out of the Fraser Valley. Mercer said winds will be 15 to 25 mph, with gusts to 35 mph, and the wind-chill factor could drop into the teens.

“We’ll see some gusty winds and temperatures falling into the 20s. We’ll get some light accumulation. There will be a mixture of snow and rain at sea level, and snow away from the water, about 500 feet,” Mercer said.

“You might have some black ice for the commute Monday night and Tuesday and Wednesday,” he said.

Skies will clear Tuesday and Wednesday, with daytime high temperatures barely above freezing and overnight lows from the mid-20s to low 30s. Snow is possible again Wednesday night and early Thursday, changing to rain later Thursday as daytime temperatures warm into the mid-40s.

In the mountains, expect snow through Monday night. Skies will be partly sunny Tuesday and sunny Wednesday, with snow returning Thursday. Daytime highs will be in the teens and 20s.

Mt. Baker Ski Area was reporting 18 inches of snow over the weekend, adding to the 82-inch base at Heather Meadows and 109-inch base at Pan Dome.

On the west slopes of the North Cascades, avalanche danger remains “moderate” above and below the treeline, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center.

Backcountry travelers should “watch for increasing avalanche danger in the afternoon and be prepared to change plans if conditions warrant,” forecasters advise at nwac.us.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

  Comments