Coldest day since Seahawks' Super Bowl parade on tap for Friday
SEATTLE -- Mother Nature has one last trick up her sleeve before surrendering this two week journey of below normal temperatures: One last shot of cold air.
Another deep pool of arctic air is sitting in British Columbia and will begin to push through the gaps in the Fraser River Valley Thursday night into Friday, bringing even colder air into the region -- some of the coldest air we've seen in a few years.
A Wind Advisory is in effect for western Whatcom County and the San Juan Islands from 2 a.m. to noon Friday for expected northeast gusts of 50 mph. Those winds will help bring low temperatures Thursday night into the teens to low 20s across the region.
By Friday, the arctic air will be entrenched, and even though it'll be sunny, the sunshine won't help much. Temperatures are expected to stay in the 20s all day, maybe briefly touching 30 or 31 in Seattle in the afternoon.
This will make it the coldest day in Seattle since...the cold snap that hit when Seahawks held their championship parade in 2014. (Maybe that bodes well for Thursday night's game?) The high on the parade day (Feb. 5) was 31 and it was 29 the following day. I think some of us are still thawing out from those days but if you need a frame of reference, at least it's a happy memory. We'll have the north wind along for the ride, likely keeping wind chills in the teens.
Speaking of the teens, actual temperatures will drop into the teens again Friday night (maybe low 20s in the heart of Seattle) for another hard freeze.
Cold weather hangs into Saturday with highs in the low 30s, and then we begin our transition back to normal. A weak weather system will move in Saturday evening into Sunday that may begin briefly as snow, but system will draw in milder, southerly winds that will rapidly warm us up above freezing and no forecast models have suggested any real accumulations beyond a dusting. Temperatures by Sunday afternoon will climb back into the 40s.
Next week it's back to Seattle reality -- rain and blustery at times. We'll have to watch for a some windy periods early next week but icy roads will be a thing of the past.
Or will it? Colder winter still the better bet
Even after our current cold snap passes, there are signs it might not be the only one. Despite the past few winters ended up quite mild, this winter seems to want to buck the trend, courtesy of La Nina conditions in the Central Pacific Ocean.
La Nina years tend to be cooler and wetter than normal, with December playing right along so far. NOAA's has just released their fresh 30- and 90- day forecasts for the winter and indeed, they paint better than average odds of cooler and wetter winter across Washington and the northern tier states.
It's great news for the ski industry whose operators still awake in cold sweats at night thinking about the record blank winter a few years ago. This year, snow packs are running about on par to a bit above normal with heavy snows coming next week:
The overall cooler trend looks like it'll fade once we head into spring with a shift back to likely warmer-than-normal conditions in the summer into the end of next year.