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Puget Sound region in ‘wait and see pattern’ for snow by end of January

Snow in Seattle in early 2020. (MyNorthwest photo)

Anyone checking the weather app on their phone may have noticed a snowflake appear on their long-term forecast for the end of January. So, what are the chances that prediction comes true?

As of publishing, the chance of snow in the Puget Sound region ramps up around Friday, Jan. 22, with projected lows sitting around 31 degrees for that day. After that, snow showers are forecasted for the following Sunday and Monday, before tapering off into rain on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

But according to the National Weather Service, it’s not exactly that simple, given the volatility of long-term weather projections, especially when it comes to snow.

“Based on the fact that models are not yet on a consensus for the weather system on Tuesday [Jan. 19], we cannot have high confidence in what they are forecasting for day 7 onward,” it cautioned in its long-term forecast.

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Despite that uncertainty, there’s still a high likelihood that temperatures will begin dropping by the end of next week, “which is a good sign if you are wanting the more wintery precipitation,” says the NWS.

Whether or not we get snow will depend on “a positively tilted trough setting up over the state of Washington” that various models agree will likely arrive sometime before the end of the month. That would bring in north and northeasterly winds that typically precede winter weather conditions.

Or to put it simply: Snow is still far from a sure thing, but the conditions will be primed for the possibility. To put a more specific number on it, the NWS says the probability for lowland snow in the Puget Sound region within the next 10 days “is below 50%.”

“With all that said, we are still in the wait and see pattern,” it notes. “Things should become a lot clearer in the coming days.”

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