MYNORTHWEST WEATHER

Any chance of a White Christmas in Western Washington?

Dec 18, 2023, 6:54 AM | Updated: 9:10 am

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No white Christmas for Seattle. (AP)

(AP)

The week before a Christmas holiday weekend is always busy with college students returning home, schools ending classes for the holiday period, Boeing employees beginning their holidays late in the week, shoppers making their final rounds, and delivery drivers rushing to reach all their destinations. At least the weather is going to cooperate for the most part through the holiday weekend.

During the week in the lowlands, rain is only expected tonight into Tuesday, and again Friday into Saturday. Seahawk fans attending tonight’s game again the Philadelphia Eagles should be prepared for some wet weather. High temperatures in Western Washington this week will tend to be a bit warmer than average, ranging from the mid-40s into the lower 50s. Lows will also be milder than normal, in the mid-30s to mid-40s.

More weather news: WA still fighting drought despite recent downpours of rain

For the holiday weekend, the best bet for rain will be on Christmas Day. Temperatures are anticipated to be a bit cooler by then with highs in the 40s and lows in the 30s. Those cooler temperatures also mean mountain snow levels will finally drop to at or below the passes, welcome news for snow-starved skiers and snowboarders as at least some new snow is expected on a well below average snowpack.

White Christmas?

For those hoping for a White Christmas, that will not be the case for Western Washington. Going back more than 100 years, there is a less than 5 percent chance of a White Christmas in the region. The last good White Christmas was in 2008 when a number of locations had a foot or more snow on the ground and it snowed on Christmas morning. This year for snow on the ground, the mountains and parts of Eastern Washington will help create that festive feeling on the holiday.

Holiday Travel

AAA reports that the anticipated 115 million holiday travelers will begin their journeys this week, up about 2 percent from last year. About 7 and half million will fly through New Year’s weekend, thanks in part to lower airfare prices compared to last year.

SeaTac Airport expects this Friday to be the busiest day at the air terminal with about 174,000 travelers, up about 10 percent from last year. Thursday will also be a high-traffic day with about 164,000 people moving through the airport. As always, plan ahead and be sure to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours ahead of scheduled flights.

More from Ted Buehner: Anniversary of Puget Sound storm that brought 100 mph wind gusts

Across the nation after today’s storm battering the Northeast, the weather will be rather tranquil, good for air travelers. The next significant weather system to impact the nation is expected Friday and Saturday, encompassing the southern plains and southern Rockies.

AAA also reports that about 104 million Americans will drive 50 miles or greater for the holidays. Motorists in Western Washington can expect decent driving weather through the holiday weekend.

Cascade snow levels are expected to remain primarily above the highway passes this week before dipping to at or below the passes this weekend. Cross Cascade drivers should have good conditions across the passes during the week. By the weekend though, motorists should be prepared for winter weather driving conditions.

Gas Prices

The news about gas prices keeps getting better. Gas prices are down about 75 cents compared to earlier this summer, and also the lowest since 2022. Some stations in counties like Skagit, Chelan, Yakima, and Spokane are selling regular gas at less than $3.50 per gallon.

Wherever you go this week and during the holiday weekend, be safe and enjoy the holidays with friends and family. At least the weather will cooperate.

Ted Buehner is KIRO Newsradio’s meteorologist

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