UPDATE at 4 PM: The low center has moved north of us and wind have increased greatly...some locations are getting 40-50 mph gusts! No snow anywhere in the lowlands.
PS: Several people have asked me about how we can get snow in the lowlands...if you have my book I have whole chapter on it (chapter 3).
The bottom line: the low appears to be going further north than yesterday's model output suggested...making snow much less likely today and this evening. Cold is still coming tomorrow and Sunday. The National Weather Service (NWS) will have to amend their forecasts.
This is a perfect example of why we need a coastal weather radar. The big issue...where is the incoming low and how intense is it. This low only formed last night and was forecast to develop very, very rapidly. These are the circumstances that the models can make major errors...either in intensity of position. During the past few days the models have had varying solutions...and the location of landfall has varied. Two days ago it looked like it was going north...giving us strong winds and less lowland snow. Yesterday they went south...and the NWS went towards lowland snow. I hate to say it...but the new model runs, initialized with the latest data, and recent satellite pictures suggest the northern route will be it (see satellite picture--the low is in the center of the hooked shaped cloud). If we had a radar on the coast we would know without any doubt what would happen today and be able to provide you with an excellent and confident forecast...so tell you congressman and senators you want one (see my web site for
The precipitation shield of the system is now upon us (see radar). Looking at the pressure changes along the coast...the greatest falls are on the north-central Olympic coast. The low should move over the N. Olympic Peninsula and be just north of us around 4 PM. Winds will pick up from the south this afternoon over Puget Sound...so be ready for 20-30 mph winds. Then a strong westerly surge will occur the Strait...that will effect Mukilteo, Everett, and Whidbey Island. (good night to have dinner at Ivars in Mukilteo for you storm watchers). Virtually no snow in the lowlands...but there could be some snow just to the SE of the Olympics (much less extensive than the earlier forecast).
Then as the low moves east, northernly winds down Georgia Strait will increase and then overnight strong winds will pour out of the Fraser River valley into Bellingham. There could be some upslope snow on the NE side of the Olympics Saturday morning.
A positive thing of this change is more snow in the WA Cascades...the skiing industry needs it.
And did I mention the strong southeasterlies over NW Washington this morning and afternoon and the very strong winds on the coast!