Weather News

After Wednesday’s snow, here’s what Whatcom County faces Thursday

It’s snowing, AGAIN! in Bellingham

Snow begins to fall on Bellingham's streets on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. According to the National Weather Service, no significant accumulation is expected.
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Snow begins to fall on Bellingham's streets on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. According to the National Weather Service, no significant accumulation is expected.

Warmer weather and rain showers are expected to melt any slushy snow that remains on roads Thursday in the wake of snowfall that put some school buses on snow routes, delayed some school starts and slowed the morning commute.

A winter weather advisory in the Seattle area was extended to Snohomish County about 7:30 a.m. Thursday as snow began to move north, mostly at elevations above 200 feet.

But the end is in sight — for now, forecasters said.

“The moisture is decreasing,” said meteorologist Dana Felton at the National Weather Sevice in Seattle.

“You might see a little wet snow, but the action is mostly south,” he said in an interview.

But the metro Vancouver area was bracing for about 2 inches of snow Thursday night as cold air slides down from the Fraser River Valley of British Columbia.

More snow Thursday night?

Meteorologists at Environment Canada issued an alert for about 2 inches of snow Thursday for areas including Abbotsford, B.C., which is just north of Lynden and Sumas.

Thundershowers were also a possibility Thursday afternoon, Canadian forecasters said.

Seattle meteorologists forecast snow in Whatcom County locations above 500 feet, with lows Thursday night around freezing.

Schools delayed, buses detoured

Bellingham and Mount Baker schools were on snow routes for morning and afternoon buses Thursday and the district was providing limited other transportation,

Ferndale and Meridian schools planned to start classes two hours late, and preschool classes were canceled.

No other Whatcom County schools were reporting disruptions at 6:20 a.m.

Wintry weather continues

Thick, wet snow began falling early Thursday across the Whatcom County lowlands, adding to the half-inch to 2 inches that fell Wednesday afternoon from Lynden to Lake Samish.

Wednesday’s high of 40 degrees was the coldest March day since 2014 as the February Freeze continued, Felton said.

Normal high for March 6 is 51 degrees and average daily high temperatures for the month are about 8 degrees below normal.

Road conditions

Fresh flakes Thursday were sticking to rooftops, cars and yards, but there was no significant accumulation on most main roads.

Main roads around Bellingham were wet and clear as the morning commute started, but some county roads had thin layers of patchy snow and ice.

Lesser-traveled North County roads were a slippery mush that forced drivers to take things more slowly Wednesday night.

Lowland areas at higher elevation such as Sudden Valley had an inch to 2 inches of new snow on the ground.

Whatcom County Public Works crews were plowing and sanding into the night Wednesday.

Thursday-Friday forecast

Thursday’s forecast calls for a continued chance of rain and snow showers through the morning, then partly sunny skies with temperatures in the low 40s, the National Weather Service said.

A chance of rain and snow showers continues from Thursday night into Friday, but no significant accumulation is expected in the lowlands and no affect on the commute was expected.

Showers were forecast for Friday afternoon.

Around 4 to 6 inches of snowfall was forecast for the North Cascades.

Mt. Baker Ski Area was open Thursday with normal midweek operations, its website said.

Avalanche danger was moderate in the Mount Baker wilderness backcountry.

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.