Strong winds expected in Bellingham; heavy snow in the mountains

Workers clear a fallen tree from Roeder Avenue after a 2008 windstorm.
Workers clear a fallen tree from Roeder Avenue after a 2008 windstorm. The Bellingham Herald

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle have issued a pair of weather advisories affecting different portions of western Whatcom County.

A wind advisory was in effect from 4 p.m. Monday to 4 a.m. Tuesday, affecting parts of the Puget Sound region, including the lowlands of western Whatcom County. In addition, a winter storm warning covers the North Cascades across Washington state.

In lowland Whatcom County, residents can expect south to southeast winds from 20 to 35 mph overnight Monday, gusting to 50 mph.

“Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles,” the weather service said in a statement. “Use extra caution. Winds this strong can break tree limbs and cause minor power outages.”

Showers are forecast Tuesday with highs in the mid-40s and less-breezy conditions.

Next weekend’s forecast is shaping up as cloudy on New Year’s Eve with a mix of rain and snow. Sun is forecast for New Year’s Day.

Heavy snow in mountains

Higher elevations of Whatcom County are under a winter storm warning for heavy snowfall from 4 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Wednesday. Two to 4 feet of snow is forecast for the next two days above 2,000 feet.

Temperatures will be in the teens, with west-southwest winds to 11 mph.

“Severe winter weather conditions are expected,” the weather service said. “Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle.”

With such heavy snowfall, mountain passes could close for avalanche control, the weather service said.

For backcountry travelers, the avalanche danger has increased to high at the treeline and above on western slopes of the Cascades in Whatcom County, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center. The avalanche danger remains moderate below the treeline.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty