5 things to know about frigid air, possible New Year's snow

Updated:

Washington weather is about to take a turn to the cold. Here’s five things to know ahead of the frigid air and possible lowland snow to come.

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1.    The coldest airmass in years will arrive

The coldest airmass seen in quite a few years will arrive along with the new year, and as we usually contend with when arctic blasts move in, there will be a chance for lowland snow.

We have had several of these episodes so far this fall and winter, but this magnitude of the cold air coming warrants preparation of home and vehicle regardless of whether snow accumulates.

2.    Rain will turn into snow over the New Year’s weekend

Some light snow or flurries, or just cold light rain, is expected for the remainder of Saturday afternoon.  This will be insignificant.

The snow level looks to drop Saturday evening into early Sunday morning, leading to some snow reaching lowland elevations before dry air wins out and precipitation comes to an end during the morning daylight hours Sunday.

3.    Snowfall will be sporadic

Lowland amounts of a trace to three inches look to be a probable range for locations that see snow.  Most lowland spots like Seattle would see a trace to an inch.  As is usually the case, the higher in elevation one is, the better the chance of accumulating snow.  Best amounts for more than two inches will be above 500 feet close to the Cascade foothills and in the north Interior. 

Many lowland locations south of Seattle will get little to no accumulation.

As snow falls, ground temperatures will be relatively warm, so snow initially will melt on contact with road surfaces.

Sunday night and later, however, we'll have to watch for icy spots from moisture on roadways that freezes as the polar plunge continues and temperatures fall well below freezing.

4.    Bundle up for very cold air in the first week of the New Year

While the chill arrives for the new year, the coldest temperatures could well be in the mid-week time frame next week, after residual cloudiness clears out and winds diminish.

for the bulk of the time the cold air is in place during the Jan. 3-5 timeframe, we might expect overnight lows in urban locations to fall into the teens and 20s and outlying locations to be in the teens with even the colder spots in the single digits at night.

5.    Prepare your home for the cold

Go ahead and think about what needs to be done to properly winterize your home and vehicles.

With the impending cold snap, there is concern about frozen pipes and ultimately burst pipes.

Beacon Plumbing owner Bill Cahill said persistent cold can freeze a pipe, and if left frozen the ice that forms inside a pipe can rupture it.  Sometimes the water stops flowing.  Other times homeowners may not even know there is a problem until the pipes thaw and water goes everywhere. Click here to read Cahill’s top 10 tips to protects your pipes.

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