Blame it on rain? Go ahead, it’s coming

Herald staff

The unseasonably clear, blue days of recent weeks may have fallen victim to clouds and rain.

That could make for treacherous driving on mountain passes this weekend. But there’s a silver lining there for people with lung ailments or an itch to start skiing.

Blustery, wet weather blew away the cold front that had kept the Puget Sound region bathed in sunshine and frost.

The region is now expected to settle into a more typical early-winter weather pattern with several days of alternating rain and intermittent showers, said Dustin Guy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

"Expect plenty of rain," he said.

That’s good news for skiers, but potentially bad news for people trying to drive through the Cascade Mountains at the end of the busy weekend.

The National Weather Service on Friday predicted rain in the North Cascades, with 3 to 5 inches of snow on higher passes by this morning, and more snow Saturday night.

Friday morning, the Stevens Pass Ski Area reported 4 inches of new snow with a base of 9 inches. The area generally needs 30 to 36 inches of snow to open, according to the resort. The Mount Baker and Crystal Mountain ski resorts, which are usually some of the earliest to open, remain closed Friday.

The new weather fronts also banished rising pollution levels that prompted a temporary ban on lighting up wood stoves and fireplaces.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency rescinded the eight-day ban Thursday, just in time for people to light up their fires to warm Thanksgiving gatherings.

Particulate levels in Lynnwood, the only Snohomish County monitoring station listed on the agency’s Web site, on Wednesday rose to levels where it could prove unhealthy for people with respiratory problems, the elderly and children. It then fell off significantly for Thanksgiving Day, and remained low Friday, according to the agency.

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