A tenth of an inch.
That’s all the rainfall we need between now and 11:59 p.m. tomorrow to officially make this month’s rainfall triple that of last December. Through yesterday, Seattle has recorded 6.62″ of rain–an inch above normal, and oh-so-close to three times December’s paltry 2.24″. (Edit: a brief look out the window, followed by a quick trip to the Seattle National Weather Service page, reveals that we’ve picked up .03″ in the past hour. Guess the rain has a vendetta against this blog…)
A thick blanket of gray clouds has hovered over Western Washington for much of the day, making the blue skies of yesterday a distant memory. Unfortunately, more gray is in store for the area tomorrow, and into the first part of next week, before we undergo a marked change in our weather midweek.
But first, enter the rain.
Ah, the 50s.
After spending more than two weeks with temperatures stuck in the 30s and 40s (not to mention lows in the mid-20s), Western Washington will finally return to the plus side of normal this week. Temperatures on Wednesday are expected to reach the 50-degree mark–two degrees above our average high of 48–for the first time since Jan. 8 (back when Seattle’s snowfall for the winter stood at zilch). Of course, to get to such a balmy threshold, we’ll have to bring back a familiar mid-winter friend: good old rain. (Didn’t we just spend all weekend with this chum?)
While today’s snowfall was definitely less than originally predicted–the 6.8″ of snow measured at SeaTac Airport today fell short of the eight-plus inches recorded downtown in December 1996–it was more than enough to allow Seattleites to claim bragging rights over their East Coast brethren in one important category: winter 2011-2012 snowfall.
That’s because, as of 5 p.m. today, Seattle has officially received more snowfall than Boston and New York combined this winter! That’s right, the Emerald City–constantly mocked by East Coasters whenever the topic of snow is broached–has seen 9.3″ of snow this winter, more than Boston (2.9″) and New York (2.9)” together.
After several days of widely varying scenarios concerning Wednesday’s storm, forecast models have finally arrived at a general consensus regarding snowfall totals for Wednesday’s upcoming storm. Their prediction? Anywhere from eight to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow–in other words, the definition of an epic snowstorm for Seattle!
The fun will begin shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, as a surface area of low pressure makes landfall around Astoria and heads northeast. As it does, cold air bottled up in British Columbia will flood southward into Western Washington, drawn toward the low like bees to honey. Simultaneously, moisture from the low’s associated front will stream northward, resulting in a collision between warm and cold that will make Wednesday the snowiest day in the Seattle area since Dec. 29, 1996.
Clearly, Mother Nature must have a heart.
How else to explain this afternoon’s snowfall, which blanketed nearly all regions of the metro area that missed out on snow yesterday? From Downtown Seattle, where two inches of snow fell from the heavens (making this author’s prediction of no accumulating snow downtown outright laughable), to Burien, Renton, and Issaquah, where heavy snow whitened lawns that had been barren 24 hours earlier, Mother Nature made sure to spread the wealth. This, of course, came after an earlier bout of snow that gave roughly an inch of snow to many in the Seattle area, before the mid-morning melting commenced.
After today’s strong Puget Sound Convergence Zone, which decorated areas along and north of a U-District-to-Highway 520 line with a slushy inch or two of the white stuff, the focus turns to tomorrow morning’s expected snowfall. Unlike today’s snow, which focused mostly on the northern half of the metro area, tomorrow morning’s snow is expected to affect the majority of the Seattle metro.
A little more than 48 hours before the season’s first snowflakes are set to fly, models are reaching more of a consensus on how this weekend’s wintry weather will play out.
While the devil truly is in the details–and the details will certainly fluctuate as we get closer to Sunday–this much is certain: a strong cold front will barrel through the area Saturday afternoon, enveloping the region in a chilly rain. Temperatures will start out in the low 40s, but will quickly plummet into the mid-30s by Saturday evening (oddly enough, it will likely be warmer Saturday night than it was last night, when SeaTac fell to the freezing mark before the nine o’clock hour).
A couple days ago, I noted how a few weather models were “hinting” at some arctic air sneaking into Western Washington sometime around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Now, just two days later, both the European model and the main American model (the GFS), in addition to the Canadian model (the GEM), are all in agreement that a very cold air mass will infiltrate our area sometime over the long holiday weekend…with moisture from the Pacific Ocean lurking close by.
We all know what that means–a chance for snow across the greater Puget Sound region!
Yet another relatively bland week of weather is on tap for Seattle, as a ridge of high pressure will set up shop over the Pacific Northwest come Tuesday, leading to several days of morning fog and afternoon sunshine.
The most active day of the week will actually be tomorrow, with .25″ of rain or so possible for most of the metro area in the earlier part of the day. By tomorrow night, showers will come to an end as high pressure moves towards us, cutting off our precipitation chances for the rest of the week. Temperatures, which will be quite mild tonight and Monday (highs around 50, overnight lows only a couple of degrees cooler), will also nosedive into the lower- to-mid 40s as the night and morning fog sets in mid-week.