Spokane, WA

Cold Weather Forecasted for Washington State; Possible White Christmas in the Northwest

Bryan Dijkhuizen

Temperatures are expected to decrease throughout the holiday weekend, returning to more normal levels for this time of year. Snow showers will be plentiful over the weekend, with the possibility of isolated heavy snowfall in certain areas.

Weather will get much colder beginning Monday and continue through the week, with temperatures reaching their lowest levels in at least ten years.

From now until Saturday, the following will be observed: The chilly upper-level trough can be seen spinning out in the Pacific off the coast of Vancouver Island this morning when looking at the satellite image in its entirety.

In this particular airmass, the cloud pattern has a solid convective tendency, which indicates that the atmosphere is unstable, as shown by a large amount of convective activity.

We've been concentrating on the weather pattern for the next week when the prediction models predict that much colder air will encircle us here in the Inland Northwest, so we've been preparing. The weather pattern seems to have opened the door to Canada, allowing arctic air to travel southward across the country.

Because of the cold-core of the atmosphere, the lapse rates are relatively high. The instability of the atmosphere will enable any available moisture to be pushed out in the form of convective snow showers as a result of the storm.

Several shortwave disturbances are expected to pass across the area during the next several days. With the most significant likelihood of snow across eastern and northeast Washington as well as the northern panhandle of Idaho today, we'll be in for a treat.

The Cascades received a light dusting of snow overnight, and they will likely get several more inches by lunchtime today.

Further bouts of snow are expected to fall in these previously stated locations tonight into early Saturday due to another ripple in the weather pattern.

For the second time, the convective character of this trough formation will allow for intermittent snow showers that seem to flow into one another with no real beginning and ending points.

According to weather forecasters, people can anticipate snow to fall throughout sections of eastern Washington during the afternoon hours today and snow to fall across northeast Washington and the Idaho Panhandle during the later evening hours tonight.

Those living in the northeast and eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle have a reasonable possibility of seeing snowfall in the early morning hours on Christmas Day.

As for whether or not we'll get the one inch of snow on the ground that qualifies as a white Christmas, it's a difficult question to answer. Models predict at least 1 inch of snow by 12-18z Saturday, but with brisk south winds expected Friday evening into early Saturday morning, that will be a challenge to overcome.

We'll have to wait and see who made a wish for snow on Christmas Eve.

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