Shannon Kringen / Flickr via Compfight

The weekend forecast includes chances of snow, but nothing's for certain, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

"This is a hard one," said Mass. “There’s a lot of uncertainty here. I’ll tell you that right in the beginning.”

Tim Durkan

This weekend will bring heavy rain, strong winds and snow in the mountains, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“You can expect everything this weekend,” said Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Kael Martin / University of Washington

Quick quiz: In springtime, does snow melt faster out in the open or in the shade? 

You might figure it melts faster in the sunshine, and that seems to be the case for cold climates. But in places with temperate winters, like the Pacific Northwest, it might be just the opposite.

Tim Durkan

"Today is the calm before the storm," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

The first big storm of the season will hit the Northwest on Saturday, and it's expected to produce winds strong enough to cause power outages and trigger snowfall in the mountains at elevations low enough to cover the passes.

roceanpatel / Flickr

A group of Seattle professionals are gearing up this week to try and break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest snowball fight, and they’re doing it in a place where, typically, there is no snow: Seattle Center.

So how exactly do you get 162,000 pounds of snow into the shadow of the Space Needle? Organizer Neil Bergquist says, you just go to the mountains and get it.


Snow in the Cascade mountains is the deepest in America these days, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, and the weather pattern is likely to stay the same well into next week.

And, as for the dusting of snow, ice and sleet around portions of the Puget Sound lowlands, that should all melt off by this afternoon, says Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.


The weather pattern has shifted, and that means less rain, more chills, says Atmospheric Scientist Cliff Mass, of the University of Washington.

The pattern is giddy news for mountain ski areas, all of which should be open with light, fluffy snow this weekend, he says.

Don't worry, though, the snow should stay away from the Puget Sound lowlands, although the higher foothills may get a dusting tonight or Saturday morning.

The Associated Press

 OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire has asked President Barack Obama to declare a federal disaster area in 11 Washington counties for damages and costs suffered during January's snowstorm.

Last month's storm of snow, ice and freezing rain caused power outages, landslides, avalanches and fallen trees across Washington, creating $32.3 million in potential eligible damages, according to preliminary state and federal assessments.

Shannon Kringen / Flickr

That's the forecast as of Friday morning, from KPLU and UW weather expert Cliff Mass.

"I don't know if you'll wake up to it, but Sunday morning into Sunday, during the day there will be some snow showers," says Mass.

Adam DeClercq / Flickr

But not too much. 

"It's not going to be the big snow-storm," says KPLU weather expert, and UW professor, Cliff Mass.

The areas most likely to get a couple inches of snow are the so-called "convergence zone," between north Seattle and Everett, and in the Bellingham area. For everyone else, Mass says it will be "hit and miss" depending on so many factors that it's hard to generalize.

Evan Leeson / Flickr

Idaho isn’t the only state in the west that’s been dry for more than a month. Most of the Rocky Mountain region is experiencing lower than normal snowfalls and higher than normal temperatures.

The general lack of winter forced the cancelation of Idaho’s State Special Olympics Winter Games. Boise’s local ski area, Bogus Basin, isn’t even open yet. In 69 years, Bogus Basin has never seen such a snowless season.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

We're getting some beautiful sunrises and until we set our clocks back, we’re all up to see them!

Today and Saturday we’ll get some of those morning sprinkles, but the afternoons clear off with temperatures hitting around 50, and then starting on Saturday afternoon we get some “very interesting” weather for the Northwest, says KPLU’s weather expert Cliff Mass.


Updated 9: 21 p.m.

Avalanche danger, heavy snowfall and spun-out vehicles have kept Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass closed for hours as a winter storm buffets the Washington Cascades. Eastbound lanes reopened late this afternoon, and westbound lanes later Monday evening.

Transportation officials closed the pass late Monday morning due to eight inches of snow that had fallen since 6 a.m., plus poor visibility and spinouts.

@Brycej / Twitpic

This statement might surprise you. It sure surprised us. 

Pemco Insurance makes the claim, based on a survey it did of Washington drivers. Most polled (58%)  say they feel 'comfortable' behind the wheel when driving on snowy roads.


The brunt of an arctic cold front is expected to hit Western Washington this afternoon, bringing wind and 2 to 6 inches of snow.  National Weather Service meteorologist Art Gable says temperatures "will drop below freezing and remain below into Thursday morning." A winter storm warning remains in effect through 10 a.m. Thursday.

KOMOcommunities video

Several inches of snow are on the way to Puget Sound's lowlands. Exactly which areas will get the greatest accumulation is something forecasters say is tough to predict, but a number of sources say their models show anywhere from two to six inches in the Seattle area, and up to eight inches or more in Snohomish County and northward.

Gary Davis / KPLU

Predicted snow fell across western Washington on Tuesday evening, largely sparing the evening commute. This morning people are waking up to rain, thick slush and closed or delayed schools.

A driver in Tukwila slid down a hill and onto the tracks of Sound Transit's Central Link light rail. The car landed on its roof. The driver received minor injuries, according to KING-TV.  Those tracks were closed for a time, with service resuming before midnight.

Gary Davis / KPLU

Updated 3:58 p.m., Mon., Jan. 10th

The latest weather foreceast shows much less snow may fall than had been predicted, and warmer temperatures will bring rain and wind on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service office in Seattle has eased off forecasts of larger amounts of snow for western Washington, as the latest models show warm air pushing in faster than expected. 

“We feel pretty confident the system will stay on the warmer side, and we will not see large amounts of snowfall” in the lowlands of western Washington, says Dennis D'Amico of the NWS Seattle office.

Tom Banse / N3

Idaho’s Tamarack Resort is once again alive with skiers and snowboarders. But the happy scene didn’t come easy.

Tamarack is one of the most glaring casualties in the region from the bursting of the real estate bubble. Homeowners at the bankrupt resort are bootstrapping the once heralded ski area back into business.


The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is preparing for the next snowstorm in the Puget Sound Region with the addition of eight new "mini-sander" pickup trucks.  The trucks are being turned into sanders with the addition of hoppers and equipment mounted on the tailgates.


The lights are back on for thousands of Puget Sound Energy customers this evening. The largest outage area, Kitsap County, saw power restored to all but 13,000. PSE expects many of them to be back online before midnight Wednesday. 


Our icy roads continue to make for reduced Metro bus services. Snow routes will be observed again Wednesday, as the agency copes with tough driving conditions and the cold temperatures keeping the ice frozen solid.


Updated 5:30 am, Wed.

More than 39,000 Puget Sound Energy customers are still without power after Monday's snow and winds toppled main transmission lines. PSE reports  most were in Kitsap County. That's where main transmission lines were brought down by trees and strong winds.

Forecasters say freezing temperatures will be with us through Thanksgiving morning, with the coldest lows of this winterly blast expected tonight. 

Courtesy of Mt. Baker Ski Area.

For the region’s ski areas, this week’s snowfall may be too much of a good thing. More ski lifts are starting up soon, but lowland snow (in Portland, the Seattle area, etc.) could keep urban skiers at home. 

Justin Steyer/KPLU

Temperatures plummeted quickly Monday evening, freezing wet roads already dusted with snow. It's added up to a nightmare commute for many trying to get home.

Liam Moriarty/KPLU

Nearly two years ago, heavy snow and ice from an unusual mid-December storm and cold snap left roads and sidewalks treacherous for a week or more. Road and transit agencies in Seattle say the hard lessons they learned during the big snowstorm of 2008 are showing up in their response to this snowfall.