Brrr! Suddenly, it feels like winter.

Once we get through Friday’s rain and snow in the mountain passes and gusty wind from two directions — first from the south and then the north — we’ll be left with sunny skies but chilly temperatures.

Saturday and Sunday are expected to be clear and cold, with highs in the upper 40s and overnight lows that could hit freezing, said meteorologist Matthew Cullen of the National Weather Service (NWS) in Seattle.

The weather service has issued its first freeze watch of the season, which encompasses Seattle and most of the Puget Sound area, NWS meteorologist Maddie Kristell said later Friday. Late Saturday and Sunday morning are expected to be the coldest, she said.

The precipitation is on its way, having hit Bellingham around 6 a.m. Friday, Cullen said early Friday.

Snow is expected in the mountain passes this weekend, especially Stevens Pass and north, while Snoqualmie Pass is more likely to see mostly rain with some snow. Travelers should check pass conditions before heading out and practice putting on tire chains before having to do so on the side of the road in icy conditions, the Washington State Patrol advises.

Chains are required whenever road conditions are extremely poor. Not using chains when they’re required — unless you have four-wheel or all-wheel drive — can get you a $503 fine, Patrol Trooper John Bryant reminded his Twitter followers.

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Kristell added that drivers should be cautious on the road this weekend, watching for any potential black ice in areas it has been wet or rainy recently.

The Seattle area saw winds with gusts around 10 to 12 miles per hour Friday, though Tacoma and areas further south saw stronger winds around 25 mph, Kristell said.

By Monday, temperatures should rebound a couple of degrees and trend toward milder weather with temperatures in the mid-50s by the middle of the week, she added.

Make sure your pets have a warm area to be in, Cullen said.

He also recommends bringing any tender plants inside. Tomatoes, for instance, might be on the verge of dying if they’re in your yard.

If you have heavily laden stalks of cherry tomatoes to rescue, Seattle Times reader Dorothy Boe, 91, of Lynnwood, shares this tip to extend the season slightly: Cut the stalks, strip the leaves and place the tomato plant in a vase in the kitchen. The tomatoes will continue to ripen there, she says, having had great success with this method for more than five years.

Seattle Times reader Dorothy Boe, 91, of Lynnwood, extends her tomato season by cutting the stalks and placing them in a vase of water where they continue to ripen. (Photo courtesy of Dorothy Boe)
Seattle Times reader Dorothy Boe, 91, of Lynnwood, extends her tomato season by cutting the stalks and placing them in a vase of water where they continue to ripen. (Photo courtesy of Dorothy Boe)

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