Cliff Mass: Here’s where it will snow in Seattle area Tuesday

Nov 28, 2022, 6:06 PM | Updated: 6:19 pm
A pedestrian helps a driver in a vehicle stuck in the snow on February 13, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. A large winter storm dropped heavy snow across the region. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Winter weather is arriving in western Washington, starting Tuesday afternoon, with a significant chance that snow — or a rain/snow mix — will strike the interior Puget Sound lowlands.

Snow will turn to rain overnight Tuesday for most of the lowlands while, in the mountains, snow will become even heavier heading into Wednesday.

“There’s plenty of snow in the mountains. The question is the woodlands,” said Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, on The Jason Rantz Show.

“This is what’s going to happen. We have pretty cold air over us, it’s cold enough to snow down to maybe 300-500 feet right now. Tomorrow, the front’s going to approach and we’re going to have pretty cold air over us. And so where the precipitation is heavier, things will start out as snow first on the Olympics, and then, it’s going to spread across Kitsap into North Seattle, so it’s going to be quite interesting.”

Weather around Puget Sound will be a ‘doozy’ with chances of snow

As this front approaches Tuesday evening, some light snow north of downtown is expected, with heavier patterns further north towards Lynnwood and Everett.

“So there could be late tomorrow night – between 10 o’clock and 1 o’clock in the morning – there could be a few inches of snow, but it isn’t going to last,” Mass said.

The trouble is, when this cold front comes through, warm air is going to fall right behind it, turning the first snow in Seattle into rain by 4 a.m. Wednesday. The snow is expected to melt really fast alongside the warmer air and rain.

“So, some places may have a little bit of a slushy mess early in the morning on Wednesday morning, but that’s about it,” Mass said.

For all the noise this snowstorm has been making, the final predicted amount isn’t nearly the amount previously predicted.

“It did look more threatening about a week ago, and the pattern was much more beneficial for getting some snow that would stick around,” Mass said. “That changed about three or four days ago. Because to get snow around here, you got to get everything right. Things can change slightly, which affects the forecast.”

Mass also cited that one of the forecast models the National Weather Service was using was having technical problems, leading to all kinds of speculation.

Cold weather shelters starting to open across Puget Sound region

Lowland snow is ahead of schedule this year, as it usually hits the non-mountainous regions from mid-December until late January.

“Well, this is a La Niña New Year, a La Niña year is when the Pacific is colder than normal,” Mass said. “We seem to get more snow and colder conditions have been typical. So if you’re a betting person, you know this should be a decent year for snow, particularly in the mountains and probably also for the low ones.”

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Cliff Mass: Here’s where it will snow in Seattle area Tuesday