Winter Storm brings heavy snow to Snoqualmie Valley

[Article by Robert Nelson of Snoqualmie Valley Weather]

Just as we started to feel confident about hitting the roads in the valley and finding our way back to work and school, another storm looms on the horizon. Weather nerds have been salivating since last Friday about the storm that will be impacting us on Friday afternoon. This system has been consistently picked up by the two most reliable forecasting models, both suggesting a direct hit for Western Washington, but each with varying snowfall totals.

Typically our snow events are borderline, either not cold enough, but with plenty of moisture, or freezing without a cloud in sight for hundreds of miles. This system brings together both of the necessary ingredients to provide a potentially significant and memorable event. The timing now looks to be moving up from previous runs, suggesting that snowflakes begin flying between Friday afternoon around 1pm to 2pm in the Central Puget Sound (I can already hear the mass exodus of vehicles leaving work and getting home before the first flake touches the ground).

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for our area running from noon Friday, February 8th, through 4PM Saturday, February 9th. – calling for heavy snow with accumulations of 4-6 inches.

There are still some variables that could alter our snow totals: one being how long the low pressure system sits off our coast and sends bands of moisture in. Current models suggest anywhere from 4-6″ in the Snoqualmie Valley. If the system stalls at all our snowfall totals could rapidly jump, sending us closer to nearly a foot(!) of snow. Another thing to monitor is the possibility of a drying east wind in the foothills. These winds can destroy snow forecasts, as the dry air eats up all of the available moisture before it reaches the ground, although recent models suggest this won’t be an issue, but it still remains a small possibility and is worth the mention.

Snowfall will ramp up as we enter Friday night, with snowfall rates becoming heavy at times throughout the evening and into the early morning hours. Expect for snow showers to last through Saturday morning before tapering off in the early afternoon as the low pressure system sags to our south, pulling the moisture along with it.

This will not put an end to our cold and snowy weather, as it appears at least 2 or 3 more systems will bring snowfall chances to the lowlands in the next four or five days. Some models suggest snow totals from the next few systems reaching absurd totals, but we can’t believe it until we’re closer to our next weather system. Taking a quick peek at the long range forecast models, there are currently no indicators for a pattern shift back to our typical winter weather. This could truly be a cold snap we reference for many years to come.

According to the National Weather Service: “A winter storm warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”

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