PORT ANGELES — The National Weather Service is predicting a strong possibility of back-to-back snowstorms that could bring significant snowfall across the North Olympic Peninsula.
The National Weather Service said the Port Angeles area could see 4 to 6 inches of snow while areas near Port Townsend could see 6 to 8 inches. Areas along the coast would see less, with up to 2 inches predicted in Neah Bay and up to 3 inches in Forks.
Reid Wolcott, warning coordination meteorologist in Seattle, stressed that there is low confidence in actual amounts of accumulation and that what is being forecast are the likely amounts — there could be more or there could be less.
“The models are all over the place right now,” Wolcott said. “The reasonable worst-case scenario is up to around a foot of snow. We are going to get some snow out of this.”
The impact on the North Olympic Peninsula could be more severe than other areas of the state, but it will be a statewide storm, he said.
Snow is expected to begin falling early in the afternoon today with snowfall becoming more significant late tonight into Saturday morning, Wolcott said.
The Fraser Outflow in British Columbia will bring a punch of Arctic air from the northeast across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, he said.
Winds along the Strait of Juan de Fuca could reach 35 mph, he said, potentially bringing the wind chill down to the teens.
The Port Townsend area could see winds up to 20 mph, he said.
Temperatures are expected to stay in the 20s into Sunday, when a second snowstorm is currently forecast to hit.
He said the second storm is possible Sunday night into Monday, bringing a few more inches of snow to areas along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but he said it was too early to predict specifics.
“This is a big question mark,” he said.
There’s a question about whether there could be multiple snow storms that begin Sunday or if a single larger storm would impact the region later in the week.
For now, people should get used to the cold and to the snow. Wolcott said the state will see similar patterns over the next couple weeks, meaning temperatures will stay low and that there is potential for more snow.
Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron is urging people to be prepared not only for the snow and cold temperatures, but also for the possibility of losing electrical power.
“One of the things I’m worried about is wind accompanying the storm,” he said. “If the power goes out, now we’ve got some real trouble.”
He said people should gather supplies and fuel before the storm hits — something many were doing at area stores Thursday. The county’s Emergency Operations Center is on standby if the storm proves to be severe, Cameron said.
In Jefferson County, Keppie Keplinger, public information officer for the Department of Emergency Management, said that staff will closely monitor the weather for next several days.
“We’re in contact with our partner agencies in the county and ready to activate if needed,” she said. “We encourage residents to prepare and stay home during the storm.”
Port Angeles city officials also are asking residents to limit driving, as well as to remove vehicles from the street to make clearing the streets easier.
Snow plows will focus on the main arterial roadways and around schools first before clearing the remaining streets.
The weather could impact delivery of the Peninsula Daily News’ Sunday edition. Carriers will do their best to make all deliveries, but there may be areas that are unsafe to reach.
Subscribers who are missed will have that edition delivered with the following day’s issue. Print subscribers also can read the PDN online for free after registering as a print subscriber at www.peninsuladailynews.com.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].