Blog: A White Christmas for some parts of Western Washington

by: Morgan Palmer Updated:

The forecast continues to be of great interest for Monday night and early Christmas morning as temperatures will support frozen precipitation as a moisture-laden front moves in from the west.

Most of the area will see a rain/snow mix or all snow Christmas morning, though accumulations are going to be spotty in the lowlands around Seattle, Tacoma and Everett.

The set-up

Temperatures will cool over the lowlands into the middle 30s by early Christmas morning as the approaching front begins to spread precipitation in at the coast.  Easterly wind will dry the atmosphere across the lowlands somewhat ahead of the precipitation, delaying the onset of snow.  

Forecast models continue to show precipitation -- falling as snow -- beginning before dawn over Hood Canal, and south/west of Olympia before spreading farther inland after 7 a.m.

Some of the trends I'm watching show a slightly later onset of precipitation across the Seattle area and other lowland locations, which will likely limit accumulation threats near the water.  

However, on higher hills, a few inches of slushy snow could accumulate in the few hours after dawn before snow or snow/rain mix turns over to rain.  

For most of us, this looks like a similar situation to Wednesday when a few spots around the metro got more persistent snow that stuck and briefly turned things white.  

Right now, we are not looking at a major lowland snow event along I-5 and metro areas from Tacoma to Seattle and north, but it will still bear close watching as an earlier onset of precipitation well before dawn will create a greater hazard.

A better chance of accumulating snow does reside in higher hills near Olympia and south/west, and possibly closer to the water in the South Sound.   

Seattle, on average, has a seven percent chance of seeing an inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day.  It probably won't happen this year.  It last occurred four years ago.


Hood Canal once again looks to get slammed

The major attention looks to be be -- once again -- across Hood Canal and areas of Kitsap and Mason Counties.  

In fact, Tuesday could serve up an even more significant snow event in some spots than what was seen there last week.  

Snow will begin in these areas by 4 a.m. and linger well into the morning.  

Maximum snow amounts will be in the 6-10 inches range with isolated higher totals mainly along  Hood Canal, especially the closer to the Olympics. 

Much of Kitsap County except right on the water will pick up a few inches of accumulation.  This also goes for low-elevation areas from Olympia south and west.  Accumulations will be higher above 500 feet.


More fresh powder for the mountains

Santa couldn't have served up better snow for the resorts the past few weeks (though we've had travel troubles).

While we'll see light snow on Sunday and little or no snow Monday, the mountains will get plenty more dumpage starting Christmas Day.

Upwards of 1-2 feet of new snow remains forecast in the Tuesday-Wednesday time frame with some drying by late next week.

Avalanche danger will remain high.