Snow begins to fall in Bellingham
Snowflakes began to fall before 3 p.m. Sunday as the first of a one-two punch of storms headed to Whatcom County and Western Washington.
Most areas report about an inch of snow, with 3-4 inches in Blaine, according to an evening briefing by John Gargett, deputy director of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Division of Emergency Management.
“Roads are slick, and Whatcom County Public Works has multiple crews out sanding as do municipal Public Works.”
Bellingham, Ferndale, Blaine and Mt. Baker school districts, Lummi Nation school and Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College announced Sunday evening that they will be closed Monday. Lynden and Meridian plan to start classes two hours late, according to flashalert.net.
The second storm is expected midday Monday through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Services - Seattle forecast Sunday.
“Expect snow showers, heavy at times, to continue through the evening hours,” the NWS reported.
Snow was starting to accumulate on Interstate 5 close to 6 p.m., Washington State Department of Transportation cameras showed.
Low temperature Sunday overnight is forecast to be around 23 with wind chills between 10 and 19. Bellingham’s high temperature Sunday reached 34 at 3 p.m. after 16 degrees at 8 a.m.
While the cause of the fire is unknown, Bellingham fire crews were hampered by compact snow and ice as they responded to a fatal fire at 4 a.m. Sunday at a single-family home in the 3400 block of Broad Street, according to Assistant Chief Bill Hewett. Investigators were still on scene Sunday afternoon and have not identified the victim.
The northeast winds Saturday were not only a hazard for driving fires, but for rapidly dropping humidity, making fuels easily ignitable, Hewett said.
Bellingham fire also responded Saturday to calls for power lines down and other wind damage, Hewett said.
Several hundred customers in Whatcom County were without power Sunday afternoon, Puget Sound Electric’s website showed. In the region, more than 11,000 customers had yet to have service restored.
Newhalem/Diablo had sustained winds of 60-65 and a peak gust of 98 Saturday, downing trees. The peak gust in north Whatcom County was 74, according to an early Sunday public safety briefing by Gargett.
The Silver Reef Casino in Ferndale opened its facilities Saturday night to those without power and planned to do so again Sunday, according to myferndalenews.com.
This story will be updated. You can share your photos of the storm here.