By Christine Clarridge / The Seattle Times
You could see a few wet snowflakes and flurries Friday morning, especially in places like the Issaquah Highlands, Maltby and Clearview in Snohomish County and Everett near Paine Field, but those aren’t the snowflakes the National Weather Service in Seattle is worrying about now.
That snow will dissolve into rain by morning, the weather service expects.
The thing to prepare for, says meteorologist Mike McFarland: a modified Arctic front on its way to the Puget Sound region that will bring bitter cold early next week, along with “our first chance of real problematic snow.”
Emergency winter-weather shelters were set to open in Snohomish County Thursday night.
By next week, the weather service is forecasting high temperatures around 30 degrees and lows in 20s and upper teens near Seattle. Lows could reach 10 degrees near Bellingham on Tuesday, which is predicted to be the coldest day next week.
If there’s enough moisture and precipitation, there’s a chance of snow in the lowlands. But meteorologists with the weather service will not be able to say with certainty until this weekend, or even early next week, if there will be enough precipitation to bring snow.
“A typical Arctic front will give us an inch or two, but the question is whether it will dry out or not as the cold comes down,” McFarland said. “It could be wetter farther south or north. It’s just too early to say.”
He said the Arctic air is above Alberta and British Columbia now, will leak through the Fraser River Valley by Monday and Tuesday, then will blast through Bellingham and spread through the straits.
That cold air will also lower the snow level to sea level, McFarland said. That means, if there’s enough moisture and precipitation in the air, Seattle will get snow and it could stick around.
Residents of Bellingham and the San Juan Islands are likely to feel the brunt of the system, with temperatures that drop dramatically on Sunday.