Icy lowland roads Friday, heavy snow in mountains for weekend

Ice hangs off a holly leaf after freezing rain hit Bellingham in 2005.
Ice hangs off a holly leaf after freezing rain hit Bellingham in 2005. The Bellingham Herald file

Lowland Whatcom County residents might have a slippery commute Friday morning as a mix of rain and freezing rain is forecast, instead of light snow as had been predicted earlier. But significant snow is likely in the mountains.

Friday morning’s icy conditions will come as a warm, wet system moves north from California, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Thursday is expected to be sunny, chilly and breezy – but clouds begin to arrive Thursday night, bringing warmer temperatures and a chance of rain. Freezing rain is expected as the two systems mix before sunrise, prompting the weather service to issue a warning.

Icy conditions are expected Friday morning below 2,500 feet. The overnight low is expected to be in the mid-20s.

“Ice accumulations are anticipated to be about a couple of hundredths of an inch or less; although, a few spots could receive about a tenth of an inch,” according to the weather service’s website.

Hardest-hit areas will be south of Seattle, according to current forecasts.

Rain is likely in Whatcom County for the rest of Friday and through the weekend, with temperatures reaching into the mid-40s.

Heavy snow is likely in the North Cascades, including the Mount Baker Ski Area, with accumulations of 3 to 7 inches Friday, 10 to 16 inches Friday night, and continued snowfall Saturday into Sunday. Daytime highs will be in the upper 20s.

A small craft advisory continues through 11 a.m. Thursday for Whatcom County coastal waters. Wind speeds of 21 to 33 knots are expected to produce hazardous wave conditions, the weather service said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty