Local

Friday’s snowfall might be heavier than forecast, even as we warm up

Snow begins to fall on downtown Bellingham

Snow falls on downtown Bellingham late Friday morning, Feb. 23, 2018. The National Weather Service forecasts more snow through the evening, turning to rain as the temperature rises.
Up Next
Snow falls on downtown Bellingham late Friday morning, Feb. 23, 2018. The National Weather Service forecasts more snow through the evening, turning to rain as the temperature rises.

Snow is possible again overnight and occasionally this weekend in the lowlands of Whatcom County, even as this week’s icy cold weather begins to ease.

New accumulations of less than an inch of snow each day are expected in the lowlands, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service in Seattle. Northern Whatcom County cities such as Lynden and Sumas could get up to 2 inches Friday night, according to the weather agency Environment Canada forecast for Abbotsford, B.C.

“There will be a gradual warming,” said meteorologist Doug McDonnal. “It’s still relatively cool. There’s still definitely some threat of snowfall, particularly Friday afternoon.”

More snow is expected in the North Cascades – about 28 inches through the weekend at Mt. Baker Ski Area, McDonnal said.

Avalanche danger remains at the considerable level above the treeline and moderate at and below the treeline, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center. Mt. Baker Ski area is posting a deep snow and tree well advisory.

34 Wednesday’s high temperature

33 Normal low temperature for mid-February

Several vehicle wrecks were reported Wednesday evening as light snow fell at twilight and the mercury dropped below freezing, according to 911 dispatches and social media posts. Roads were slick again Thursday morning as temperatures remained below freezing.

Washington State Patrol troopers responded to 185 car wrecks over the past 24 hours in Whatcom, Island and Skagit counties said spokeswoman Trooper Heather Axtman.

Most of Whatcom and Skagit counties got up to an inch of snow Wednesday. Areas around Seattle received up to 3 inches, according to various news reports.

Lummi Nation schools were delayed by 2 hours because of the icy roads, and a post on Twitter warned that several cars slid off Hannegan Road.

A seasonal weather pattern that meteorologists call the “Fraser Outflow” was sending cold air from the Fraser River Valley of British Columbia south into Western Washington, but that will be forced out by slightly warmer air from the south, McDonnal said.

Temperatures in Bellingham have been running 10 to 15 degrees below seasonal norms since Sunday, according to National Weather Service records.

Normal high for mid-February is 49 degrees, with a low of 33. Wednesday’s high was 33 degrees, with a low of 21 – which broke a low temperature record that had stood since 1952.

Bellingham’s average temperature is about three degrees below normal, thanks to a warm start to the month.

Forecast for Friday calls for snow in the morning, changing to a mix of rain and snow. Winds of 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph are possible. Expect daytime temperatures in the mid-30s, with overnight lows in the mid-20s.

More snow and rain is expected Saturday, followed by rain Sunday with a high around 40.

Since winter keeps hanging around the Northwest, here are some tips for staying prepared from National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Miller.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

Related stories from Bellingham Herald

  Comments