Forecaster warns farms, public to be ready for possible major winter storm

snow pic

Could it be? Could snow be on the way to Whatcom County?

Meteorologist Rufus La Lone tells Dillon Honcoop the long-range weather forecasts continue to show snow is more and more likely. 

La Lone says an “arctic outbreak” will occur starting next Saturday, Jan. 11. 

“(An arctic outbreak) is basically continental air that moves down the northwest from inland Canada with origins up in the north pole and the arctic,” La Lone explained. “We’ve seen these events many times over the years up in the northwest and it’s not unique for every 10 years to get an outbreak of cold air, but what’s unique is when it arrives it will stick around for 7-10 days.”

La Lone says the storm will be so big and heavy that it could take another storm to move it out of the way and the only type of pressure system he can see hitting after next weekend just adds more snow to the formula.

La Lone says the first punch will be a west coast event. He says according to the weather models he’s seen, snow could be from Whatcom County all the way down through the Sacramento Valley in California. 

He says on top of the potential of snow next weekend in Whatcom County more snow is predicted Monday night, Jan. 13.

“The 13th of January, the snow will pick back up again,” La Lone says. “And then by Wednesday and Thursday, another round of cold arctic air comes down, slams through the Frasier gap. This time the winds could be as high as 70 mph gusts — which you guys have experienced in the past — but it’s just going to add more cold air to the cold air that’s already there.”

La Lone says according to the current predictions, the temperatures could get as low as the low teens, especially out west of the Cascades. 

Then La Lone said if the models stay as they are, another bout of snow is predicted to hit Jan. 17 and 18. 

“It shows bringing snow to you guys and more snow, especially down in Oregon,” he said. “But it’s still cold air for you up north.”

LISTEN TO RUFUS LA LONE TALK ABOUT THE STORM BELOW

La Lone says the event isn’t definite, but the models he trusts have shown the event for almost two weeks now.

“Folks need to be ready for this just in case, because once it turns on, it’ll be very challenging to get around and do things people would normally do in the middle of January,” he said. 

La Lone said models aren’t always accurate, so this could just be a regular wind and rain event, but worst case scenario, the models suggest the amount of snow in the Puget Sound could be significant. One of the most recent models was showing 1.5 to 2 feet of snow in the Puget Sound. 

La Lone says he doesn’t want to be an alarmist, but people in the agriculture community should be prepared in case this storm comes as predicted, protecting any crops, greenhouses and livestock. And everyone should weatherize their homes so their pipes aren’t affected by the freezing temperatures. 

You can check out Rufus’ blog, the WxCafe™️ at ovs.com.