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.
“People woke up with some light snow, light flurries and even some sticking above 500-600 feet,” he said.
The main source of this weather was an upper level trough that came into the region from the Northwest, Mass said.
“This is a classic La Niña pattern, where we get the lift and the cold from this upper level trough. It draws cold air from British Columbia down into western Washington and when we get some pretty good precipitation showers, it can drive the snow level down to the surface,” he said
That’s what happened Thursday night. Temperatures fell as northerly flow pushed southward from the Fraser River Valley, hitting Bellingham first and then the Puget Sound, bringing the snow near sea level.
“We’re not talking about very heavy snow over the Seattle metropolitan area,” Mass said. “You had to go into the eastern suburbs before you got even a whitening.”
But he says the hills of Bellevue at around 1000 feet above sea level, for example, people woke up to about an inch of snow. And there was already some snow in the Cascades, with a number of places there seeing 6 inches to a foot of the white stuff.
Snow Possible Saturday Night Into Sunday
Mass says expect more cold and unstable air but a break from the first snow of the season from Friday into Saturday, with temperatures in the upper 30s to lower 40s. But then it could snow again.
“Another disturbance will be coming in over Saturday night into Sunday morning. And that I’m more worried about,” Mass said.
“That’ll bring more precipitation. It’ll draw colder air down. There will be a surface low that will draw air from British Columbia down into western Washington.”
That means late Saturday night into Sunday, there could be some more snow getting down to near sea level.
“And right now the models suggest that particularly from Seattle southward, there’s the potential for maybe a quarter to a half an inch, maybe an inch as we get down toward Olympia,” Mass said.
“So, it's something we have to watch. There’s a lot of uncertainty with it, but the snow is not over at this point.”