County wakes up to scattered snow showers

  • Tue Dec 18th, 2012 7:06am
  • News

By Bill Sheets Herald Writer

Update: 7:00 a.m.: Parts of Snohomish County woke up to a dusting of snow Tuesday morning, but not enough to cause trouble on the roads. Most local schools were on regular schedules. (Check yours at schoolreport.org.)

A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the Puget Sound region until noon today.

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EVERETT — People could wake up Tuesday morning to as much as three inches of snow on the ground in Everett and other towns around Snohomish County, according to the National Weather Service.

A weather system was expected to hit the Northwest on Monday night, bringing hit-and-miss snowfall, said Art Gaebel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

“Precipitation that falls late this evening through Tuesday morning will most likely be in the form of snow,” according to an advisory issued by the weather service Monday.

How much snow falls depends partly on the strength of an anticipated convergence zone, Gaebel said. This weather condition, in which air moving up through Puget Sound meets air currents traveling down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, typically sets up over Snohomish County and produces rain or snow.

The higher the elevation, the greater the chance of snow and the greater the amount, Gaebel said.

Still, “one block could get a bunch and the next block could get nothing,” he said.

If snow does come, how long it sticks around will depend on how much falls, Gaebel said. A high temperature of 38 degrees is forecast for Tuesday in Everett.

A similar scenario is forecast for Wednesday. Neither episode is expected to be a large snow dump that blankets the area, Gaebel said.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, what was initially believed to be a hailstorm hit south Everett and started depositing ice along I-5, said Greg Phipps, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

“One of our engineers said it’s actually graupel,” he said, referring to wet snow pellets common to Western Washington.

Traffic was snarled in both directions in south Everett.

“There’ve been some stalls. The offramp to 41st, people have been taking it slowly, to say the least,” Phipps said. “Some people have been sliding around a little bit.”

A storm that came in late Sunday dropped 16 inches of snow on Stevens Pass, according to the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center.

Three minor one-car accidents had occurred as of early Monday afternoon on the pass, said Trooper Mark Francis of the State Patrol. Six other cars and trucks were disabled, presumably from having slipped off the road, he said.

The strong winds that contributed to some power outages in north Snohomish County early Monday are expected to die down, according to weather forecasts.

Roughly 1,000 homes were without power Monday morning, according to the Snohomish County PUD. Areas affected included Lake Goodwin, north Camano Island and Getchell Road near Marysville.

Some minor flooding was reported on the north end of Camano Island, but no major issues.

High tides mixed with heavy rains caused problems in the Davis Slough area between Camano Island and Stanwood on Monday morning.

A breached dike caused flooding on farmland north of Highway 532 and threatened to run over the highway on the west side of the bridge. Stanwood City Administrator Deborah Knight said officials were keeping an eye on the water.

No major flooding is expected for the next couple of days, said Gaebel of the weather service.

The transportation department provides several ways for drivers to check the latest conditions. Winter weather tips are located at www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter; traffic alerts at www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts, and the transportation department’s Twitter feed is at twitter.com/wsdot_traffic.

Herald reporters Rikki King and Gale Fiege contributed to this story.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.