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How long will the sun stick around, and why your morning commute could be dangerous

Blaine Public Schools paraprofessional Tricia Johnson stops traffic on H street in Blaine for a group of students headed to school in the fog on Oct. 24, 2013. Visibility could be as low as a quarter-mile in some areas during the morning commute times this week, according to National Weather Service. Drivers should allow greater distance for cars and pedestrians.
Blaine Public Schools paraprofessional Tricia Johnson stops traffic on H street in Blaine for a group of students headed to school in the fog on Oct. 24, 2013. Visibility could be as low as a quarter-mile in some areas during the morning commute times this week, according to National Weather Service. Drivers should allow greater distance for cars and pedestrians. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

A stretch of sunny skies over the next week offers a change from recent rainy weather, but with the sun comes morning fog that could make driving dangerous.

“We kind of get these stretches of nice weather during the winter,” said Johnny Burg at the National Weather Service in Seattle. “I wouldn’t say it’s unusual, but it will last awhile.”

Burg said that a large ridge of high pressure will be parked over the Northwest for about a week, bringing clear skies, light winds and daytime temperatures in the mid-40s. But fog is likely as the air cools at night to the mid-30s and colder, he said.

“We could see some air-stagnation issues,” he said. “And with (nighttime) temperatures close to freezing, we could see some freezing fog.”

Visibility could be as low as a quarter-mile in some areas during the morning commute times this week, he said. He urged drivers to allow greater distance for cars ahead and to be wary of slick roadways if fog is present with temperatures near freezing.

It’s too early to tell if this week’s fair skies will rule out the possibility of a white Christmas. But the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is saying that there’s a better than even chance that December will be warmer and drier than normal, Burg said.

That forecast will change in 2018, however, with the advent of a growing La Niña – a cooling of the ocean surface in the equatorial Pacific.

Consequently, NOAA still sees a strong possibility of colder temperatures and greater precipitation for the first three months of 2018.

“The La Niña is still present, and it’s looking like it’s going to last,” Burg said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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