How much snow will we get? Will it stick around? When? Where?
Here’s the dilemma of modern weather forecasting: There’s plenty of information and lots of data, but none of it can actually predict the future when there are multiple moving factors in play, as we’ll see in Western Washington this week.
Cold air from the Fraser River Valley in Canada will bring temperatures down to snow-friendly levels, but it also tends to bring drier air, said Carly Kovacik of the National Weather Service in Seattle.
At the same time, winds from the east and another low-pressure system from Canada are headed toward us, and both carry drier air.
That system from Canada “will try to steal some of the moisture from the Pacific system” that is working its way across the ocean toward the coast of Washington and Oregon, Kovacik said.
“Some models show it has success and others don’t,” she said.
If that wet weather system from the Pacific veers north to us and is not drained dry by the arid winds, we could get snow — maybe even a lot of it, Kovacik said.
However, right now the soggy system is looking more like it’s going to veer toward southern Washington and Oregon, Kovacik said.
“There’s still a lot of discrepancies on how much snow falls and where,” she said. “The one that carries the moisture we need for snow is expected to move more into Oregon.”
Even with some of the most advanced weather forecasting technology in the world, sometimes it seems to come down to an old-fashioned wait and see.