WeatherWatcher: Snow returns to the forecast, and a lot of cold

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Snow covered 10th Ave NE at North City Park
Photo by Carl Dinse, February 2019

I've been waiting until we got closer to this forecast to write about it. For the better part of the last 5-6 days some forecast models have been predicting a big arctic outbreak for the Puget Sound region. More forecast models are now starting to agree with the idea that at least some amount of arctic air is going to move in next week, and that this will be a relatively long lasting event.

So right now it's still really early and details are difficult to nail down. For this week, we have our first taste of frozen precipitation possible Thursday night or Friday morning in the form of a convergence zone.

At this time though it looks like this convergence zone will stay north of Everett, so Shoreline and Lake Forest Park will probably at best only see a couple of wet flakes fall in a shower or two. Even if the snow does fly here, it's still going to be pretty warm and is not likely to stick around long on pavement.

Friday another Pacific storm rolls in, bringing rain and wind, with high temperatures in the low to mid 40's. The rain is expected to continue overnight into Saturday before changing over to rain showers. Sometime Saturday night, likely late night, or during the day Sunday the cold air should start moving down. Some models show the cold air not arriving until late Sunday night or Monday.

Snowy NE 193rd St Shoreline
Photo by Carl Dinse, January 18, 2012

When the cold air does push in, a small arctic front is expected to form and bring some light snow through the area, or rain and snow mixed.

Current projections show the snow level hovering around 400-500 feet in elevation. 

Neighborhoods such as Hillwood, portions of Echo Lake, North City business district areas, and other inland higher hills could see trace amounts of snow accumulate.

Beyond Monday it's still really uncertain, with some models showing really cold weather, with lows possibly into the teens and highs in the 20's.

One model has been forecasting single digit lows, with high temperatures only making it to the teens, though most professionals do not think that will happen.

This model is relatively new and could be having some issues with handling certain variables.

The big snow makers are possible going into Tuesday, or Tuesday evening, and again late in the week, Thursday or Friday. 
We could see event totals from anywhere around 2-3 inches to 10-12 inches, or more. 

Bottom Line: Models are being consistent that cold air, and some snow will take place. They are not consistent on how cold, and how much snow.

Some models have forecasted little to no snow accumulation with temperatures marginally around freezing.

Most forecast models have been pointing to a typical cold snap, with highs in the upper 20's and low 30's with lows in the low-mid 20's. Some models have suggested much colder, and snowier. Most recent models I've seen tonight are leaning towards the colder idea.

I do believe it is more likely we will see some cold and snow, than not. In my experience when these models stick with a general idea like this for more than 2-3 days they generally get the idea correct. Details are not clear, so I will be watching this closely over the next couple of days and provide an update once it appears we have a better idea of what to expect.

On the longer range, it appears at this time the cold, however cold it gets, could continue well into February. It's looking like we could easily witness another noteworthy winter season before it's over.

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