Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Snow in Bellingham and Elsewhere


The cold front has moved through and cooler air is now spreading over western Washington. Northeasterly winds have pushed through the Fraser River Valley and associated cooler, drier air has made its way into Bellingham and vicinity. Cold enough that snow is occurring at Bellingham Airport. (Look at the attached figure showing observations at Bellingham..time is in UTC (GMT). You can see the change from rain to snow and falling temps as the wind shifted to the NE.

Snow is also falling at Quillayute on the coast. Right now it is still to warm for snow over Puget Sound, but that will change by this evening. A big problem is that the NWS weather radar at Camano Island is down and won't be back up until tomorrow at the earliest...thus, we are somewhat blind to local precipitation details. The KING 5 radar is up and available on their web site.
The million dollar question is lowland snow. The temperatures will be cold enough for snow everywhere by this evening. The only question is moisture. The problem for snow lovers is the things will dry out tomorrow morning after the upper trough over us now noves through. The winds approaching the coast are now southwesterly...leaving much of the central sound rain shadowed right now, with the convergence zone over Whidbey Island into Bellingham (see Canadian radar image). So at this point the focus of snow will be north of Everett...and later as the trough and associated low moves south tomorrow the focus of the snow will be south of Olympia. There could be some snow showers around Seattle, but no more than an inch. And lots of snow in the mountains. The 24-h snow forecast from the high resolution model is attached.

I really wish I had a coastal radar now to see more into a band that is now making landfall.. perhaps in the future.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cliff, how is it that KING-5 has its own radar? And my husband wants to know why the local FOX affiliate appears to have something out at Neah Bay?

Thanks. Love your work, and you were awesome on KIRO the other night.

Josh said...

Can you post an updated snowfall 24 hour forecast map cliff? Please?

Cliff Mass Weather Blog said...

Yes...KING-5 bought their own radar...mind you it is not as good as the NWS radar (less power, less resolution, less range)...but it is certainly valuable in times like this. KCPQ has a radar at Neah Bay... a cheapo radar that is often broken, and too far north.

Map posted..

WeatherNerd said...

Josh

I'm attaching the link, hopefully it won't get cut off. This is for the next 36 hours. Sounds liek the experts don't think as much snow will fall as this model shows which is from 4AM today.

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/mm5rt/data/current_gfs/load.cgi?images_d3/ww_snow24.36.0000.gif

Josh-B said...

Snow starting to stick in Downtown Bellingham. Dew point down to 30 at the airport.

andycottle said...

Cliff...do you know why the NWS radar is down or what caused it to go down? Maybe some faulty glitch?

Brian said...

Is there any way to see the cold air and where it is at? Like, how far it has made its way down, if at all?

Thanks.

WeatherNerd said...

This gives you a bit of an idea...
http://www.komonews.com/weather/maps/22070219.html

Anonymous said...

What will this be, the seventh time this winter we've been screwed by the snow shadow?

Pray for a CZ!

Jody said...

Snowing in Port Townsend at 4:30 pm

Anonymous said...

A couple radars in B.C. One at Vancouver and one near Victoria show a bit of the big picture. I personally haven't watched them enough to know what I'm seeing as they aren't nexrad, but it is something.

Anonymous said...

Bellingham hasn't had squat since December, so we were due for something to develop up here. It's definitely a winter wonderland right now.

Anonymous said...

The convergence shows nicely on the 4:00 vis Sat showed the convergence over Whatcom quite well.
web cams at
http://wwc.instacam.com/instacamimg/ANCTS/ANCTS_l.jpg
and
http://www.bellcold.com/bhambaycam.html
show what it looks like. That near white out is pretty close. less than .3mi visibility from my WWU office window. TJOlney

Bill said...

Cliff, just started snowing in Coupeville. Temp is 36 deg. We'll see what tonight brings.

Thanks for the time and info you send our way.
Bill

Anonymous said...

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Bellingham/I5_SmithRd_S.htm

Really starting to become snowy in Bellingham - WSDOT Camera

Anonymous said...

If there's two places in Western Washington that don't deserve more snow, it's Bellingham and Everett. No surprise, then, that Bellingham is getting pounded right now. I'm sure Everett's turn will come later on.

Brian said...

Where is this band you are talking about Cliff? Up north, I presume.

Anonymous said...

Bellingham at 400 ft. We have an easy inch on the deck with lots more coming down. Sticking on the roads a bit too.

Anyone wanna bet on no school tomorrow?

Josh-B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Anon at 5:55PM: Can you send a bit down here? Let us in on all the fun?

Currently its cloudy on Union Hill in Redmond, maybe a little drizzle/mix. Temperature is around 34* with a dew point of 32*.


Is that a surprise convergence zone I see in our future? Or is that just a thing called hope? :)

Scott K said...

I'm guessing this is a typo?

"...through and cooler air is not spreading over western Washington."

NOT spreading or NOW spreading?

Anonymous said...

Snowing hard in South Hill Puyallup. starting to stick to the grass.

Anonymous said...

It's gorgeous and sticking everywhere here in Bellingham. I went to an indoor soccer game for an hour and came out to three inches of snow on my car. Side roads are white...may have to get the sleds and snowpants back out!! Woo-hoo!!!!

Weatherfreak said...

Could this be the Feb. surprise??? Lt. snow started here in SE Auburn around 6pm. Temp dropped from 37 @ 6pm to 33 now @ 6:50pm. Wish SEA radar was up but from looking at PDX radar there is quite a bit of precip. moving up from the SW. Should be a fun night for weatherlovers! Let it snow!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Snowing in west Olympia!

Anonymous said...

Is there any chance of snow in the central sound, or will it probably remain blocked by the Olympic mountains? Also, is there any chance of a convergence zone forming?

Thank you.

SnowLover said...

I predict that Sammamish will wake up to stories of snow everywhere but here. Dang.

Anonymous said...

Around 8pm near Marysville it snowed a little bit. We are just 100 feet above the water.

Anonymous said...

Snowing in Enumclaw! Roads are clear but everything is white....my driveway, grass is covered etc....about half an inch.

Anonymous said...

33 degrees and snowing pretty hard in Olympia. By the high school, there is snow sticking in places but not on the roads yet. Hopefully the roads will freeze some so the snow can stick.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps with Gary Locke heading Commerce (NOAA overlord), we will finally get radar.

Brian said...

NWS updated their forecast discussion and said that the focus should now start turning to central and south sound as the area '"starts to fill in".


You know what I wish?

I wish this band of precip., or whatever, lasts all night and then we get a good convergence zone going in the morning.

Ha, who am I kidding? ;)

Joseph Ratliff said...

Like most of these "snow blips", we might get 1 - 2 inches tops...and it will melt by the next day.

Typical late winter snow in Washington IMHO.

Anonymous said...

We had dinner at the Cloverleaf in Tacoma with our daughter; no pptn, some stars showing. Still nothing here at Olalla at 9:50 pm.

- Pete

mainstreeter said...

It snowed during the Skywarn class tonight but nothing stuck. Down to 34 currently in Olympia. Got a snow board and gauge courtesy of Ted.

mle_ii said...

Just started snowing lightly here on Education Hill in Redmond.
Elevation 325'.
Temp 35.6F, Dew 29.1F, Humid 77%.
Click on my name for my weather station on WeatherUnderground.

Cliff Mass Weather Blog said...

Yep..a typo..not should have been now...sorry..fixed..cliff

Anonymous said...

Bothell 300 feet -- light snow just started, but it looks like it could pick up and actually cover the ground. We'll see.

Kind of unbelievable really.

Anonymous said...

It's 32 at 400 feet in West Seattle. Looks like a good band of snow should develop over the central sound sometime tonight according to NWS and a reliable friend who is a meteorologist. May to see 1 to 2 inches out of this. Keep your hopes up!

Brian said...

Snowing on Union Hill ('600) in Redmond finally!

Big, wet flakes that are sticking to everything-even the roads.


Hope we can all wake up to lots of snow in the morning! What a surprise it would be! :)

Good night.

Jim said...

Just started snowing and 32 deg. F here at Vaughn Bay, Key Peninsula, Pierce County. Like little ball bearings.

climo man said...

I know that everyone is focusing on the possible snow event for the Greater Seattle Area, but it`s interesting to watch the advance of the Arctic air in Eastern Washington. It is south of Omak, but whether it stalls or makes it past Wenatchee-Moses Lake-Spokane is in question. Should be a significant snow event along the boundary, wherever it ends up.

On a lighter note, regarding the (current lack of) radar: If we can`t get full funding for a WSR-88D, maybe we can scrape together enough to buy an used mobile unit from one of the storm chaser outfits in Oklahoma.We can staff it with grad students(they work cheap) and drive the truck to where it`s most needed during times like this! :)