Another warm, wet weekend is taking shape as a series of mild storms sweep Western Washington, prompting concerns about landslides and minor flooding, plus rain in the North Cascades.
Forecasters said Western Washington will remain on the warm side of a “jet” of frigid air that’s sweeping south from the Gulf of Alaska, said Johnny Burg at the National Weather Service in Seattle.
A flood watch was issued from Saturday night through Monday night.
“The next couple of days look wet,” Burg said. “Coupled with what we’ve had, there’s a quarter to half-inch or a half-inch to an inch (of rain) each day through Monday.”
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Whatcom County residents can expect cloudy skies and rain through Monday, with temperatures in the mid-40s to 50 degrees or warmer.
Expect the heaviest rain Sunday, with up to an inch in the lowlands, Burg said.
Flooding would be most likely on the Nooksack River near Deming or Nugents Corner, near the Saxon Bridge in Acme, or farther downstream in Ferndale. Those are places where the Nooksack historically tops its banks.
Snow levels will be high, dropping to 5,550 feet Friday, 4,000 feet Saturday, and 6,000 feet Sunday – before rising to a more seasonal 3,500 feet Monday.
“Mostly that’s going to run right into the rivers,” Burg said. “With all the rain we’ve had, there’s also a marginal threat of shallow landslides.”
47.5 Average high for January – 2 degrees above the normal 45.6 degrees.
37.8 Average low for January – 5 degrees above the normal 32.8 degrees.
11 Days in January warmer than 50 degrees, including a record high 62 on January 17. Temperatures haven’t dipped below freezing since January 4.
Lower snow levels shouldn’t affect weekend operations at the Mount Baker Ski Area, said Gwyn Howat, executive vice president.
“Hopefully, it won’t be such a heavy amount of precipitation,” Howat said. Mt. Baker Ski Area closed Sunday and Monday last week because of warm temperatures and heavy rainfall at the high elevations.
Despite the recent rain, the ski area reported an astounding amount of snow in January, she said.
“It was a huge month for us, in terms of snowfall,” Howat said. “It was the most snow in January in over 20 years.”
A total of 225 inches of snow fell at the ski area in January, said Amy Trowbridge, marketing manager.
Avalanche danger in the North Cascades has eased to “considerable” both above and below the treeline, said officials at the Northwest Avalanche Center. Avalanche concerns had been “high” recently.
21 Cloudy days in January, meaning the sky had eight-tenths to total daytime cloud coverage.
5Days were classified as “clear,” with zero to three-tenths of the sky covered.
January in Bellingham was the 10th-warmest since local record-keeping started in 1949.
January’s overall average temperature – the average of the average high and the average low – was 42.6 degrees in January, 3.4 degrees above normal, Burg said.
In addition, January 2018 was the fifth-warmest for low temperatures with an average low of 37.8 degrees, compared to the normal 32.8 degrees.
Average high for January was 47.5 degrees, 2 degrees above the normal 45.6 degrees.
January also saw 11 days above 50 degrees – including a record high 62 on Jan. 17 – and temperatures haven’t dipped below freezing since Jan. 4.
“That’s kind of unusual for January,” Burg said.
Above-average rainfall was recorded in January – 5 inches, compared to the normal 4.67 inches.
If you think you haven’t seen the sun in awhile, there was a nearly unbroken string of cloudy days after the first three days of 2018.
There were 21 cloudy days in January, meaning the sky had eight-tenths to total daytime cloud coverage, Burg said.
Only five days were classified as “clear,” with zero to three-tenths of the sky covered, he said.
Those days were Jan. 1-3 and Jan. 14 and 15.
“After that, it was six-tenths to 10-tenths covered,” he said.