Cold Snap Ending With Possible Lowland Snow On Sunday, But It Won’t Last

Dec 16, 2016

With high temperatures predicted to remain below freezing in many places around the Puget Sound region on Friday, this weekend is starting with some of the coldest weather people here have seen in quite a while, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.  

“This is the coldest air that we’ve had over our region probably in the last three years,” said Mass, who is a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

He expects places near the water will get into the low 30s, just above freezing, but some places away from the water or near mountain gaps will stay much colder, especially on Friday.

“Today’s the coldest day and it’s going to be a sunny day,” Mass said. “There’ll be plenty of sun and that’ll make it seem a lot better.”

Cloudier Saturday

He says expect similar weather on Saturday morning.

“Maybe slightly warmer, but not much, so, back in the low 20s, some teens in Western Washington, colder up by Bellingham,” Mass said.

Then clouds will start rolling in later in the day.

“There could be a few snow showers mixed in there, but nothing serious, so I wouldn’t worry about it,” Mass said.

Snow Possible Sunday, But Not For Long

He says Sunday the weather gets more serious, when a Pacific weather system approaches.  

“It’ll be clouding up in the morning, there’ll actually be some snow showers and that’ll be in the coldest places – Bellingham for sure – and even some areas around the Puget Sound area,” Mass said. “But it won’t stay.”  

He says that’s because the same system that’s causing the precipitation that will fall as light snow in some areas is also bringing in warmer air.

“And that is going to end the cold and end any chance of snow in the lowlands,” Mass said.  

He says by later in the day on Sunday, the temperatures will be warming up.

“And certainly by Monday morning, it’ll feel like the old times again, where temperatures will climb up into the 40s and it will be all rain in western Washington up to like 1,500 or 2,000 feet,” Mass said.

“So we’re definitely going to make the transition to a more normal pattern,” he said. 

To hear the forecast along with Cliff’s discussion of why the threat of snow so often comes at the end of a cold period, with a swift transition to rain, you can click on the “play” icon at the top of this post.

The weekly knkx feature 'Weather with Cliff Mass’ airs every Friday at 9 a.m. immediately following ‘BirdNote’, and twice on Friday afternoons during ‘All Things Considered’. The feature is hosted by knkx environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp. Cliff Mass is a University of Washington professor of atmospheric sciences, a renowned Seattle weather prognosticator, and a popular weather blogger. You can also subscribe to a podcast of ‘Weather with Cliff Mass’ shows.