Update II

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The more I look at the forecast models, the more snow I see. Well, at least those who like a white holiday won't be disappointed.

As I mentioned earlier, tomorrow morning will be icy...but no new accumulations. It was bad enough when I took the bus home from the UW---buses sprawled on roads, abandoned on the sides. One almost hit a pole while I watched. It will be worse in the morning at some locations. (I better watch myself..I will end up sounding like a TV reporter!)

A Pacific occluded front will approach the area on Wednesday morning. Snow will start after midnight and it will certainly be snowing during Wednesday commute time. But as the occluded front makes landfall it will bring warming aloft and increased onshore flow...the question is what that will do to precipitation type. My colleagues in the National Weather Service believe that precipitation will remain snow. I am not so sure. I think there is a good chance we will see a change to rain or VERY wet snow during the late morning and early afternoon. Cooler temperatures will follow and there will be a switch to snow later in the afternoon. Accumulations by the end of the day--1-2 inches at low levels near the Sound, 2-4 inches at higher elevations.

The fun doesn't stop there. A low center from the Gulf of Alaska moves in Thursday morning...hugging the coast. Having a low over SW WA is a classic major snow threat....it can draw down cool air over NW WA and the Sound...and drive moist air over it...occasionally with large snowfalls. Take a look at the forecast situation for Thursday at 4 AM (plot)...not a perfect position, but close. Several inches of new snow could easily occur over the lowlands...and maybe more.

If you want to want to get an idea of snow totals over the area...I have included below the 24-h predicted snowfall ending 4 PM Wednesday and Thursday.

More Snowplow Musings:

A number of you comments on my "editorial" regarding a lack of snowplows in Seattle. A few additional ideas:

1. Although we have less events than say Denver, Minneapolis, and NY, ours are more serious.
First, we have the hills, which GREATLY magnify the problem. Second, our snow often falls on relatively warm ground and starts out as slush, which then hardens later into very slippery ice. Third, our snow and ice are generally relatively warm (just below freezing) and thus are more slippery.

2. We have a major snowfall (like this year) every 5-8 years and significant snowfalls 4-8 inches every other year or so. Each year we generally have few 2-3 inch snows, but some years only get a dusting.

3. I checked around on Ebay...snowplow blades are availabe for trucks for around $2000. Ok, this is Seattle....lets make it $10,000. So we could get 50 blades for 500,000 dollars--half of what those fancy automated bathrooms cost.

4. I am no economist...but image if the city had 3x more snowplows and could keep the roads in far better shape. What is that worth? Tomorrow the UW is closing for a second day. Image the cost of that in lost productivity...certainly tens or hundreds of thousands of productivity lost. What about the loss of business to retail? Any reasonable analysis should reveal that better snow removal capabilities would be a extraordinary investment.
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