Snow possible, near-freezing temperatures certain through next week in Tacoma, Olympia

Steve Bloom/

Heavy snowfall in the mountains might trickle down to coastal areas up and down the Puget Sound in the next few days, bringing freezing temperatures and a wild breeze, forecasters said over the weekend.

Rainy, snowy conditions will roll through the Cascade mountain passes Saturday, with the heaviest precipitation expected through late Sunday.

The National Weather Service in Seattle anticipates snow to hit as low as 3,000 feet tonight “before falling well below pass level Sunday morning.” Holiday travelers attempting to cross Snoqualmie, Stevens and White Pass might encounter closures.

“This storm is going to be a doozy,” the Washington State Department of Transportation said on the Snoqualmie Pass Twitter feed Saturday around 11 a.m. Overnight, crews estimated over a foot of snow on the road. Posts urged drivers to be prepared with tire chains, fresh wiper blades and full tanks of gas.

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You’ll want a winter coat elsewhere, too, because from Olympia to Tacoma and Seattle to Bellingham, snow is a real possibility through next Thursday, Dec. 1.

Thanks to southward winds from the northern islands, expect gusts of up to 50 miles per hour tomorrow, the worst of it near Bellingham and San Juan County. The rest of the region will encounter a decent breeze with bursts around 20 to 30 miles per hour.

On Monday, that wet and wind will likely shift to a rainy, snowy mix mingling with high temperatures dipping under 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Lows are even icier — potentially as chilled as sub-20 later in the week.

“Temperatures will fall on Monday and remain cold through Wednesday. Temperatures may be even colder Thursday and Friday resulting in high temperatures near freezing,” NWS wrote in its Black Friday evening briefing. “Rain/snow showers cannot be ruled out in the lowlands.”

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The combination of unusual snow accumulation near sea level and very cold nights could spell trouble for roadways and back-to-school trips. “Refreezing conditions at night are likely,” the agency said.

Which areas will almost definitely see snow?

The Kitsap Peninsula and Hood Canal should expect at least an inch between Sunday just before sunset and Wednesday afternoon, according to data based on 50/50 probability. There’s a 60 percent chance of up to 6 inches.

On the mainland, from as far north as Bellingham south through Tacoma and Olympia, there is only about a 20 percent chance of that much snow — but a dusting on city streets is likely mid-week.