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Snow moves into Cascades, as ‘Arctic express’ arrives in Western Washington

Glacier Peak. (National Weather Service in Seattle)

After rumblings of possible snow at Mt. Rainier’s Paradise peak, it looks like the weekend will see it appear elsewhere across Washington state as well.

Seattle could be primed for ‘very active winter’

“If you live in Western Washington, you might want to check that your heating system still works. If you live in eastern Washington on the slopes of the Cascades, you might want to make sure you have a snow shovel,” University of Washington climate scientist Cliff Mass said in a Thursday blog post.

That’s backed up by reporting from the National Weather Service, which calls for two to three inches of snow at White Pass, Stevens Pass, and at Hurricane Ridge, and under an inch at the Snoqualmie Pass. By Sunday, as many as six inches could accumulate at 4,000 feet, with campers advised to prepare for “winter-like conditions.” Mass even predicts possible snowflakes in Spokane.

Snow won’t likely be seen in the lowlands in Western Washington, but the region will see significantly colder weather, due to what Mass calls an “unusually early and intense Arctic express.” Starting late Friday, that will have us experiencing a 60 to 70 percent change of below-normal temperatures, with eight straight days of lows in the 40s in Seattle.

As for whether records will be broken, that’s where the NWS and Mass aren’t quite aligned.

“These are pretty low snow amounts and fairly typical for the first early season snowfall in the higher Cascades,” the NWS said on Twitter.

Western Washington should expect ‘Wet-tember’ to continue

“I suspect there will be some daily temperature and daily snowfall records broken in some locations during the next few days,” said Mass.

Where they both agreed on in terms of potential record-breaking weather is for Montana, where parts of the state could see upwards of a foot of snow.

All this could very well be what the precursor to what Mass predicts will be a “very active winter” for Western Washington.

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