Snow falls in some areas around Western Washington

By: KIRO 7 Chief Meteorologist Morgan Palmer

Updated:

As winter events have turned out much of this winter, our brief flirtation with wintry weather isn't likely to cause widespread problems in Western Washington, but in a few spots, travel could be dicey early Friday.

Snow was falling in the North Sound, especially in Snohomish, where schools were closed because of the weather.

Related: StormTracker Doppler Radar

Related: School delays, closures

A chilly and bone-dry airmass in place now will remain firmly set. 

This cold wind is actually working against the chances of a more substantial wintry weather event for much of Western Washington.  That's because as moisture from a warmer Pacific storm moves in overnight and early Friday, some of the precipitation that falls into the very dry surface air will simply evaporate before hitting the ground.

Some freezing rain more likely far south 

Still, the spots more likely to get raindrops to reach the surface and potentially freeze will be south of Tacoma and Olympia early Friday morning (overnight hours into the morning drive).  Temperatures during the nighttime hours could well be cold enough that raindrops could freeze on contact with mainly elevated surfaces (bridges, overpasses) and also on some rural, untreated roadways.

Possibility of mixed precipitation around Western Washington Thursday night through Friday morning.
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Above about 1,000 feet in elevation (that will vary) some light snow could actually fall.  Don't expect much accumulation, if that happens at all.

The above goes for the Tacoma area south, including Olympia.

For Seattle and vicinity, chances of icing and snow are less

The farther north one goes in Western Washington, the lesser the chance of any ice accumulation from freezing rain Friday morning as we could well be into the early daylight hours before precipitation occurs.

Plus, temperatures of roadways could well stay above freezing which would mitigate any threat of ice in most places.  This includes the Seattle area.

Still, temperatures will be "marginal" and so will the moisture, so it'll be something we'll watch.  Higher foothill locations mainly above 1,000 feet elevation could also get some light snow and pass travel will likely become difficult Friday morning through the remainder of the day.

Chance of snow actually a little better farther north

Farther north through Everett to the Canadian border, there's a little better chance for some light accumulations of snow Friday morning and even into early Friday afternoon across the far north.  However, heavy snow (if snow falls at all) isn't expected.

By Friday afternoon, the atmosphere will have warmed enough to bring most of the chance of wintry precipitation to an end.

Potential accumulations

Overall, any ice accumulations (one-tenth inch or less) Thursday night and Friday morning should be light, spotty and largely confined to bridges and overpasses and mainly across Mason, Thurston, Lewis and southern Pierce counties.  However, definitely remember to use caution areawide as a light glaze of ice on any road could be difficult or impossible to see.

Snowfall -- if it occurs anywhere in the lowlands -- is likely to only accumulate above about 1,000 feet in elevation and away from large bodies of water.  Expect only a dusting to maybe a couple inches, if even that.  A slightly better chance of accumulation of a couple inches down to sea level will be across the far north, including the Bellingham area.

The coast should stay all rain.

More significant icing expected from Portland south

Once again, our friends in extreme southern Washington and into Oregon are likely to get hit harder with snow, then some ice beginning Thursday afternoon and continuing into Thursday night.

If you are planning to travel south, be aware that problems could rapidly pile up and travel could be quite difficult into Friday.

Mountains and farther east

We'll get healthy snowfall in the mountains starting Friday and lasting through the weekend, as rain falls in the lowlands west of the Cascade crest.  There could be a period of freezing rain on Friday we'll be watching for.

East of the Cascades, several inches of snow will fall Thursday night through Friday.  The best shot will be along and south of Interstate 90.

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