snow | KNKX

snow

Josh Davis of Port Angeles clears a foot of snow out of his driveway on Wednesday. Areas near downtown Port Angeles saw more than a foot of snow overnight.
Jesse Major / jessemajor.com

 

Snowfall and freezing temperatures have blanketed western Washington this week.

On Tuesday night, areas of Port Angeles received up to two feet of snow. And before that, winds in eastern King County led to the closure of U.S. Highway 2 at Skykomish.

We wanted to hear how residents are dealing with those events, so KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco made some phone calls.

He talked to Noah Glaude, the assistant library director of the North Olympic Library System and Henry Sladek, the mayor of Skykomish.

 

Two people walk through Seattle toward the beginning of last year's big snowstorm. KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says it's too early to tell how much snow we could get next week, but a half a foot or more is possible Wednesday and Thursday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

With the first chance of major lowland snow in the forecast since last February’s big snowstorms, people all around the Puget Sound region on stocking up on supplies and getting their snow shovels ready.

But KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says forecasting snow around sea level here is one of the biggest challenges forecasters face. And at this point, the only thing anyone’s really sure of is that it will soon get very cold.

An encampment along Rainier Avenue South in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Will James / KNKX

Snowfall in Western Washington on Friday had cities, counties and nonprofits rushing to help unsheltered people survive the elements.

A view of the Aurora Bridge over Seattle's ship canal as snow began to hit the region on Sunday Feb. 3, 2019.
Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Snow flurries started flying into the greater Seattle region Friday morning a little after 7:30, landing on sidewalks and roadways that were finally clear after the big storm that hit the region on Monday.

But those flurries were just “a teaser,” said KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass, not the big event expected later in the day.

A driver navigates icy roads in Seattle on Sunday, Feb. 10, just as another round of snow starts.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Forecasts show a major winter storm heading for the Puget Sound, just days after a less severe one disrupted traffic, schools and other day-to-day activities Monday. KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass predicts the latest system will be “absolutely classic,” with likely extraordinary snowfall. (This story was last updated at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.)

A sign indicates a road closure on Queen Anne Avenue North, at the Galer Street intersection. A snow storm blanketed Western Washington on Monday, causing disruptions across the region.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

A winter storm blanketed Western Washington on Monday with several inches of snow, cold temperatures and bone-chilling winds. A lot of snow fell overnight, particularly from Seattle to Bellingham. And the snow continues to fall in parts of the region. Kirby Cook, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, joined Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick to talk about the latest weather updates.

A pedestrian walks along a sidewalk as windblown waves crash at high tide Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in Seattle. Another winter storm is passing through the Pacific Northwest today and into Friday.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The Pacific Northwest is bracing for a winter storm today and tomorrow. Courtney Obergfell, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Seattle, talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what to expect.

Dallas Glass / Northwest Avalanche Center

Washington state has some of the most beautiful mountains in the world for winter sports – and also the most deadly.

Last year, more people died in avalanche accidents here than in any other state in the nation.

Ted S. Warren, File / AP Photo

This week, an extraordinary offshore storm produced waves in the Northwest that were 30 feet tall and higher in some places places. One even swept a man out to sea near Lincoln City, Oregon, on Thursday.

But KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says that event is over, and we can expect more run-of-the-mill winter weather in the days to come.

Stacey Goodman and Abe Beeson / KNKX

Wet snow was on the ground Friday morning in many places around Puget Sound, as cold air surged in from British Columbia.

“Particularly if you were away from the water or at 500 feet or above,” said KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass.

The Oregon and Washington Cascades are getting their first significant snowfall of the season at mountain pass level Thursday. It's a possible harbinger of a cool and snowy winter.

Cascade Ski Areas Enjoy Lots of Snow

Jan 5, 2017

The snowy weather is keeping ski areas busy so far this season. National Weather Service meteorologist Jeremiah Pyle says, there's more to come.

"It looks like the snow pattern for the mountains will continue. So we're expecting quite a bit more this weekend and then we've got several systems coming through next week that look like they bring substantial snow to the mountains as well,” said Pyle.

While that’s good news for resorts, Pyle says all that snow could prove to be an impediment for motorists driving over mountain passes.

"Looking up Thomas towards Space Needle" by Alan Wu is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Local designers and developers are going to try to "hack" Seattle's snow problem.

The city is hosing the "Let It Snow" hackathon Thursday night to come up with better ways to communicate when conditions get icy. Thirty participants will use the transportation department's winter weather map and other city data.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

The winter weather system that covered the Puget Sound region in several inches of snow overnight transitioned to rain as expected on Friday morning. More rain is in the forecast for the weekend, but then another tricky forecast is ahead for Monday, with the possibility of snow once again, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.

Wet Weekend

Mass expects Friday's snow will melt by mid-day, especially on the roadways. And he says rain is in the cards for most of the weekend.

Jon Ditgen

With up to 20 inches of snow recorded in many parts of the range, ski resorts, tourist shops, and other recreational and lodging businesses have opened with high hopes.

John McDevitt is the general manager of the Odell Lake Lodge. He’s hired in ten winter staffers and is looking forward to more snow come December.

Paul White / AP Images

There's no doubt about it, it's been a wet few months. But can we call this winter record-breaking? If you ask KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, you'll get an answer: No.

"Let's be careful about these records. Some people have been fast and loose saying this is the wettest winter in Seattle history, and it's really not. It's the wettest December through February," Mass said.

At the start of the work week, many offices from Virginia to New York are closed, and road crews are working to clear streets as residents dig themselves out of a blizzard's snowfall. Flight schedules, riddled by cancellations, will likely take days to get back to normal.

They're coping with massive amounts of snow that, despite all the shoveling and plowing, will only start to go away once temperatures rise — something that will happen emphatically Tuesday, when much of the Interstate 95 corridor in the Mid-Atlantic will see melting from temperatures in the 40s.

SDOT Photos / Flickr

With precipitation dominating the forecast in most of the region, what will happen to snow in our mountains?

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says it’s going to be a wet weekend.

“There will be plenty of rain,” he said.

Friday will be cloudy, with temps getting up into the lower 40s.

“Nothing too exciting,” he says. “But then the fun stuff starts.”

A much stronger front will come in on Saturday morning, bringing moderate to heavy rain in western Washington and substantial snow in the mountains, especially above about 4,000 feet.

Shannon Kringen / Flickr via Compfight

The weekend forecast includes chances of snow, but nothing's for certain, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

"This is a hard one," said Mass. “There’s a lot of uncertainty here. I’ll tell you that right in the beginning.”

Tim Durkan

This weekend will bring heavy rain, strong winds and snow in the mountains, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“You can expect everything this weekend,” said Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Kael Martin / University of Washington

Quick quiz: In springtime, does snow melt faster out in the open or in the shade? 

You might figure it melts faster in the sunshine, and that seems to be the case for cold climates. But in places with temperate winters, like the Pacific Northwest, it might be just the opposite.

Tim Durkan

"Today is the calm before the storm," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

The first big storm of the season will hit the Northwest on Saturday, and it's expected to produce winds strong enough to cause power outages and trigger snowfall in the mountains at elevations low enough to cover the passes.

roceanpatel / Flickr

A group of Seattle professionals are gearing up this week to try and break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest snowball fight, and they’re doing it in a place where, typically, there is no snow: Seattle Center.

So how exactly do you get 162,000 pounds of snow into the shadow of the Space Needle? Organizer Neil Bergquist says, you just go to the mountains and get it.

WSDOT

Snow in the Cascade mountains is the deepest in America these days, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, and the weather pattern is likely to stay the same well into next week.

And, as for the dusting of snow, ice and sleet around portions of the Puget Sound lowlands, that should all melt off by this afternoon, says Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

WSDOT

The weather pattern has shifted, and that means less rain, more chills, says Atmospheric Scientist Cliff Mass, of the University of Washington.

The pattern is giddy news for mountain ski areas, all of which should be open with light, fluffy snow this weekend, he says.

Don't worry, though, the snow should stay away from the Puget Sound lowlands, although the higher foothills may get a dusting tonight or Saturday morning.

The Associated Press

 OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire has asked President Barack Obama to declare a federal disaster area in 11 Washington counties for damages and costs suffered during January's snowstorm.

Last month's storm of snow, ice and freezing rain caused power outages, landslides, avalanches and fallen trees across Washington, creating $32.3 million in potential eligible damages, according to preliminary state and federal assessments.

Shannon Kringen / Flickr

That's the forecast as of Friday morning, from KPLU and UW weather expert Cliff Mass.

"I don't know if you'll wake up to it, but Sunday morning into Sunday, during the day there will be some snow showers," says Mass.

Adam DeClercq / Flickr

But not too much. 

"It's not going to be the big snow-storm," says KPLU weather expert, and UW professor, Cliff Mass.

The areas most likely to get a couple inches of snow are the so-called "convergence zone," between north Seattle and Everett, and in the Bellingham area. For everyone else, Mass says it will be "hit and miss" depending on so many factors that it's hard to generalize.

Evan Leeson / Flickr

Idaho isn’t the only state in the west that’s been dry for more than a month. Most of the Rocky Mountain region is experiencing lower than normal snowfalls and higher than normal temperatures.

The general lack of winter forced the cancelation of Idaho’s State Special Olympics Winter Games. Boise’s local ski area, Bogus Basin, isn’t even open yet. In 69 years, Bogus Basin has never seen such a snowless season.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

We're getting some beautiful sunrises and until we set our clocks back, we’re all up to see them!

Today and Saturday we’ll get some of those morning sprinkles, but the afternoons clear off with temperatures hitting around 50, and then starting on Saturday afternoon we get some “very interesting” weather for the Northwest, says KPLU’s weather expert Cliff Mass.

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