Bulk of snow has fallen in Western Washington; expect hazardous, icy driving conditions Wednesday

The Highlights
  • Most of the snow is done, though pockets of light snow remain possible overnight
  • Refreezing of standing water will create hazardous, icy driving conditions in spots through Wednesday
  • Some snow returns late Thursday before a brief, but impactful icing event with freezing rain Friday morning

WESTERN WASHINGTON — While the bulk of the snow has fallen in Western Washington, a few more inches of snow are possible mainly in the south Cascades into Tuesday night.

The Winter Storm Warning continues for the Cascades into Wednesday morning for snow that continues to cause difficult to impossible pass travel into tomorrow.

We have a convergence zone with light to moderate snow around the central and north Puget Sound and across the far north now. That should dry up by Wednesday morning, but another dusting to one inch of snow is possible during this time.

>> Snow, ice causes spinouts, road closures and dangerous driving conditions

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Morning temperatures Wednesday will range from the 20s across the south, to the upper teens to mid 20s around the Everett/Seattle/Tacoma corridor and plunge to the lower teens from the Islands and the Strait to Skagit County.

Single digit morning temperatures can be expected in Bellingham and Whatcom County with wind chills there below zero. Wind chills across the rest of the area by morning will be in the single digits and teens.

>> School delays, snow routes

Some sunshine could emerge but highs on Wednesday will remain below freezing except at the south coast.

The coldest morning since 2010 is expected for Seattle on Thursday morning with a low temperature of 16 degrees. However, this wouldn’t even set a new daily record low for Dec. 22 as that was 14 degrees set back in 1990.

Still, morning lows in the single digits and teens around Western Washington will be very dangerous, with wind chills will be in the single digits to below zero and we’ll continue to have icy conditions on some roads. East of the Cascades and through the passes, morning temperatures will be below zero Thursday morning with some highs barely breaking zero.

Wind chills in the eastern part of the state could be colder than -20°F on Wednesday night and Thursday – some of the coldest conditions in years in places like Spokane.

>> Businesses, offices & services delayed or closed due to snow

>> Download the KIRO 7 Weather App to track the snow

We won’t warm much Thursday with highs in the 20s for Seattle but it stays dry for much of the daytime hours.

Then moisture moves back into the area late Thursday and into Friday. This will initially be some light to moderate snow which could accumulate a little around the area.

But overnight Thursday into Friday morning, the precipitation type will change to freezing rain or sleet as warmer temperatures aloft will produce liquid precipitation that will then fall into the subfreezing airmass and freeze on contact with surfaces.

Ice accumulation amounts of 0.10″ and greater are more likely southwest of Puget Sound Friday morning, where tree damage and power outages are more probable. Elsewhere, including Puget Sound, ice accretion looks to be a little less but still will cause hazardous travel and some power outages and tree damage. Stay tuned as this forecast will be fine-tuned.

The good news is that we will quickly warm in most spots on Friday afternoon and it’ll be just rain, bringing the brief icing event to an end. Highs could touch 40 on Friday. But travels will be snarled, both on the roads and in the air as icing conditions could possibly be too hazardous for some flight operations beginning Thursday night and lasting into Friday.

Saturday into Christmas Day, it’ll be much warmer with highs near 50 and just rain. Lows will be in the 40s. This will cause urban flooding problems and even flooding around some homes where rainfall can’t drain past snow and ice. Try to clear a path for water to drain around your home, if possible, by the holiday weekend when the rains get heavy at times.

Heavy rain continues at times through the weekend and beyond Christmas, and some river and urban flooding concerns will take the spotlight heading toward the new year with a number of possible atmospheric river events.

But all indications are that wintry weather will be left in the rear view mirror for quite a while starting this holiday weekend.