It felt like winter arrived early in Washington Wednesday, as residents bundled up against cold temps and those on the east side of the state woke up to record-breaking snow.
“The temperatures (Wednesday) morning were certainly much cooler than we’d expect for the first week of October,” said meteorologist Dustin Guy with the National Weather Service in Seattle.
Temperatures will gradually rise over the next few days, though, as high-pressure system moves in, Guy said. By Friday, temperatures in the Seattle area should reach the 60s.
So what brought the cold snap? An upper-level, low-pressure system moved through the greater Puget Sound region on Tuesday and made its way over the mountains, delivering 11 inches of snow on Stevens Pass, almost 4 inches to Snoqualmie Pass and 6 inches to Mount Baker, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.
It then moved east and caused a record-breaking early snowfall, according to the weather service. The 3.3 inches of snow at Spokane International Airport broke the daily record previously set in 1981, according to the weather service’s Spokane office.
The snow also caused leaf-laden branches to snap, downing power lines and leaving more than 60,000 people without electricity, The Spokesman-Review reported. Spokane Public Schools were closed Wednesday.
While not as dramatic as the scene in Spokane, Western Washington’s cold overnight lows were remarkable as well, according to the weather service in Seattle.
The low of 37 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport marked the first time in 29 years that overnight temperatures dipped below 40 degrees in the first 10 days of October, and it tied for the second-coldest low on Oct. 9 since measurements began, the weather service tweeted Wednesday.
Guy said the next couple of days are expected to be sunny and dry but chilly. Overnight lows that could dip down into the 20s for some interior areas such as Olympia.
The Puget Sound region will likely see “the return of some more unsettled weather” this weekend, with cloud coverage and a chance of showers, Guy said.
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Seattle Times reporter Asia Fields contributed to this report.