Slow thaw begins this weekend

SEATTLE — After another blast of snow on Thursday, it will be cold and dry Friday, but that is going to be the last day of the big Arctic blast, and while we don’t warm up big-time, temperatures moderate starting Saturday but our chances for lowland snow do not totally go away.

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Morning lows will be in the 20s, except teens north of Everett, and in Western Whatcom County, winds will surge again with gusts over 30 mph into Friday. A wind chill warning has been issued for western Whatcom County, including Bellingham, for wind chills in the zero to 10 below range through early afternoon.

Elsewhere, as highs struggle to get to freezing, wind chills will be in the teens and 20s.

>>County-by-county snow plow maps and information


Saturday: New Years Day will start dry but we’ll start getting some showers to work through the region. Any precipitation on Saturday should be pretty light but will certainly be snow early, but then transition to rain or a rain/snow mix as temperatures warm to near 40 for highs during the afternoon. Right now, this doesn’t look like a significant situation but we’ll have to watch for slick spots.

Sunday: On Sunday, we actually get a weak atmospheric river to impact the area, and it looks like snow levels jump up to above 1,500 feet – meaning all rain in the lowlands. This rain on Sunday with highs in the 40s could be heavy at times. Normally, no big deal but we will still have lots of areas where snow has been plowed or is otherwise blocking drainages. Urban flooding could be an issue areawide Sunday.

>>KIRO 7 PinPoint 7-Day Forecast

Monday: We’ll turn a little cooler and continue some precipitation across the area. Right now, we could see snow levels drop below 1,000 feet and even close to sea level in heavier showers. But confidence is low right now about any significant lowland snow on Monday. It is a possibility, but we will just need to monitor in case temperatures look like they’ll trend colder than we currently expect.

Tuesday and beyond: Tuesday and beyond look showery but without any heavy precipitation. Snow levels will be low, but likely it’ll be warm enough for mainly rain except on the high hills. This, too, will need to be monitored as subtle temperature changes impacts the phase of precipitation (liquid vs. frozen) when we’re on the razor’s edge.