Enjoy it while it lasts. Snow fell on Capitol Hill Thursday night in what looks likely to be the heaviest snowfall the area has seen since 2013 — like we reported earlier this week, the low bar is 7/10ths of an inch. The moment the heavy flakes first fell just before 8 PM likely put a few smiles on the face of local meteorologists. The weather folks took a decent social media beating in the wake of predictions of an October windstorm that fell far short of the headlines and continued criticism this week as forecasted snow totals for the Seattle area fell from 4 to 5 inches to 1 inch or even none. Tonight’s snow is predicted to give way to rain overnight and a sloppy but snow-free morning commute — but we’ll see.
A dozen or so things to know when it snows — even an inch — on Capitol Hill
In the meantime, we’ll collect a few pictures and notes here on the novel night. With La Nina around, this might be the first of many snow nights this winter but, for now, we’ll give the return of more serious #seasnow a little extra attention.
There is a good chance we’ll get one entire inch of snow on Capitol Hill Thursday night. It’s been a while. The last time the Hill got that snowy was December 2013 when a whopping 7/10ths of an inch blanketed Central Seattle on a Friday morning. Here are a few things you need to know if, indeed, the forecasts hold true. If not, you’re ready for a La Nina winter of snowy predictions around the Pacific Northwest.
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- UPDATE: The National Weather Service now predicts the snow will begin “late” Thursday in Seattle and has lowered its predicted snowfall totals. “The most probable scenario at this time is that precipitation will being as snow this evening, then gradually transition back to rain some time late tonight.”
- Driving: If you’re going to drive, check out the SDOT Winter Weather map. It shows which routes have been recently been de-iced or salted. There are also a few notorious streets to avoid including John between Broadway and 15th and E Aloha. Commenters will probably know more. You can also check the CHS Street Cams page before you head out. And the CHS Weather page has the latest reports from local observations. Continue reading
A snow morning on E Pike circa February 2011 (Image: CHS)
It’s time to admit it. The final pilot of the Pike People Street program is cursed. Though if the last weather-related cancelation is any indication, you won’t actually have 2 to 5 inches of Seattle snow to worry about Thursday afternoon.
Forecast models for Thursday are going a little nuts but there is the possibility for three to five inches of snow up and down the I-5 corridor — including Seattle. The storm could also bring high winds and freezing rain. UPDATE 8:50 PM: The situation has now been escalated to a National Weather Service “Winter Storm Watch” —
A WEATHER SYSTEM WILL MOVE FROM SOUTH TO NORTH OVER WESTERN WASHINGTON ON THURSDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHT. COLD AIR WILL BE IN PLACE AT THE SURFACE WHEN PRECIPITATION BEGINS. THE PRECIPITATION IS LIKELY TO BEGIN AS SNOW…THEN CHANGE TO RAIN. AROUND 12 HOURS OF SNOWFALL IS POSSIBLE AT MOST LOCATIONS IN THE INTERIOR LOWLANDS. FOUR INCHES OR MORE OF SNOW IS POSSIBLE. THE HOOD CANAL AREA…WHERE STRONG EAST WINDS WILL ADD AN UPSLOPE COMPONENT TO THE SNOW…COULD GET SEVEN INCHES OR MORE. THE NSET OF SNOW…AND THE CHANGE TO RAIN…WILL BE EARLIER IN THE SOUTH AND LATER IN THE NORTH. BY FRIDAY MORNING IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT SNOW WILL HAVE CHANGED TO RAIN EVERYWHERE.
While SDOT’s coordinator for the pedestrian pilot program Seth Geiser is hoping for a “little winter wonderland” to accompany Thursday’s Capitol Hill Art Walk-coordinated street closure in the heart of Pike/Pine, the Spokane native is ready for a cancellation if his department needs to swing into action for a serious storm. Continue reading
UPDATE 8:20 AM: Snow started falling on Capitol Hill and across the Seattle area just after 8 AM with temperatures hovering around 33 F. For now, sticking mostly to parked cars, grass, and trees, the snow hasn’t yet completely snarled the morning commute. Metro reports “normal” operations at this time. Have pictures? Let us see.
Here are a couple CHS pages you might find useful this week:
UPDATE: 2:50 PM: There’s a chance Tuesday morning could be cold and messy:
Forecasters say we could see a more significant snowfall later this week before it all turns to rain by Thursday afternoon:
- Wednesday Night: Snow likely, mainly after 4am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
- Thursday: Rain and snow likely, becoming all rain after 10am. Cloudy, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
How bad will forest fires be in the future? Will the snowpack be enough for the ski season, and will it supply enough water to last the summer?
Diana Gergel, Graduate Fellow, Northwest Climate Science Center, will speak on global warming impacts on snowpack and forest fire risk in the Western United States. This talk is part of a climate change series by Cascadia Climate Action.
Cal Anderson, mostly empty Friday morning except for a few intrepid joggers and loyal dog owners (Image: CHS)
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What was already likely to be a quiet Friday before Christmas on Capitol Hill and across the rest of the city is even more muffled — and lovely! — after the predicted blanket of snow did, indeed, settle across the Puget Sound beginning early this morning just before 4 AM. Seattle is expected to receive up to four inches of snow before melting rains begin later in the day. Get outside and enjoy the rare strange look of the neighborhood — and send us pictures :) We’ll continue to update this post as the day progresses. UPDATE: About 7/10ths of an inch has fallen on Seattle — a thin blanket, if that. Forecasters say the snow should be tapering off before 9 AM.
(Image: Jacob Olson for CHS)
Most Metro routes are performing just fine.
But there are a few trouble spots. Here a route 43 detoured onto E Madison got stuck at 19th Ave.
Fortunately, there are other ways to get around
Though they haven’t plowed the Broadway Bikeway!
Below, more notes on what’s going on out there. Continue reading