Moderate to heavy snowfall likely in Whatcom’s future. Here’s when it will arrive

Snow hit Whatcom County with high winds, freezing temps

The first snowfall of 2019 in the Bellingham area brought high winds and bone-chilling temperatures on Sunday, Feb. 3.
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The first snowfall of 2019 in the Bellingham area brought high winds and bone-chilling temperatures on Sunday, Feb. 3.

Another winter storm is heading toward the Puget Sound region this weekend and meteorologists are more confident that it could carry moderate to heavy snowfall in the lowlands and in the North Cascades.

Wednesday forecasts indicate that snow or a mix of rain and snow will move south across Whatcom County from British Columbia on Friday morning, with the worst of the storm slated to hit Friday night and Saturday morning.

Thursday will be partly sunny with a high near 40 but temperatures will dip again toward freezing as another Fraser Outflow of strong northeast winds and possibly heavy snow moves in Friday, the National Weather Service in Seattle said.

“We’re looking for a little more snow with this event, maybe 2 to 4 inches depending on where you are,” said meteorologist Gary Schneider.

Snowfall amounts could be even heavier than that, with a worst-case scenario of 12 inches in the lowlands of metro Seattle, the weather service said in an email.

“But the big story is the wind, and possible power outages,” Schneider said in an interview.

Winds will be from the northeast at 35-45 mph with gusts from 50-60 mph, the weather service said.

Temperatures Friday and Saturday will be in the mid- to low 30s, with overnight lows in the high 20s.

Canadian forecasts show the storm descending into British Columbia on Thursday night and spreading south through the Fraser River Valley, with potentially heavy snowfall.

“Beginning late Thursday, a fresh infusion of arctic air will descend through the province,” Environment Canada said in a special weather statement with its online forecast for Abbotsford, B.C., north of Sumas.

“Increasing moisture ahead of this arctic blast will give snow to most of the South Coast beginning Thursday night. Snow will continue through Friday. Most areas will receive at least a few centimeters of accumulation by late Friday. However, there is potential for much higher accumulations over some regions.”

Unseasonably low temperatures will continue at least through the weekend, with little chance for melting on snow-packed side streets and rural roads, Schneider said.

Another storm system is possible Sunday night and Monday, but it’s still too far away for forecasters to predict its severity, Schneider said.

Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.