North Olympic Peninsula communities got a mixed bag from this winter’s first snowstorm — from a dusting in Forks to enough snow to close schools in Port Angeles to a two-hour class delay in Brinnon — and forecasters say more could be on the way.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Michalski said an average 4-inch snowfall blanketed the Port Angeles area by Monday, an accumulation recorded on East Lauridsen Boulevard, and piled higher, to 4.8 inches, near Black Diamond Community Center.
“Four inches, generally, is pretty consistent,” Michalski said mid-day Monday.
Michalski said Port Townsend received traces to 1 inch of snow.
The Sequim area averaged 2 inches, while Forks recorded a dustworthy .1 inch.
“We got a little dusting, nothing much at all,” Clallam County Fire District 1 Chief Bill Paul of Forks said.
“We’re hoping we don’t get any snow [today].”
Matt Stewart, road maintenance superintendent for Jefferson County Public Works, said his crews saw 6 to 8 inches overnight with the higher amounts in the Thorndyke and Coyle areas.
Brinnon Fire Chief Tim Manly said Brinnon at sea level saw about the same snowfall as Port Townsend but that higher elevations saw about 5 to 6 inches.
No mishaps were reported on highways in Clallam and Jefferson counties, State Patrol spokesperson Trooper Chelsea Hodgson said.
Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Torri Middlekauff said no wrecks were reported on county roads as of Monday afternoon.
The only weather related vehicle mishaps in Clallam County and Port Angeles were five non-injury incidents in Port Angeles through mid-day Monday.
One of the five non-injury mishaps in Port Angeles partially blocked traffic on the Eighth Street Bridge over Valley Street when a car slid onto the sidewalk, Deputy Chief Jason Viada said.
“Conditions on the bridge are very slick,” he said, adding a general note of caution for owners of four-wheel-drive vehicles.
“Four-wheel drive makes it easier to go but it doesn’t make it easier to stop,” Viada said.
Weather conditions were severe enough for Port Angeles Schools Superintendent Martin Brewer to cancel classes for the day.
Spokesperson Jennifer Sperline said school officials were checking schools and roads at 3:30 a.m. Monday before Brewer declared the first snow day of the winter.
Both Sequim and Brinnon school districts operated on a two-hour delay Monday.
Michalski said little to no snow is expected for the Peninsula today, with accumulations potentially reaching up to a half inch.
Today’s daytime temperatures are forecast to continue in the 20s and dip into the teens, with continued cold weather expected Wednesday before another possible round of snow late Wednesday and into Wednesday night, Michalski said.
Snow could continue into Thursday in Clallam before temperatures start warming up, he added.
“Some areas south of [U.S. Highway] 101 could see another 2 to 4 inches, maybe higher Wednesday night through Friday morning before we warm up again.
On Wednesday, places in south Jefferson County near the Hood Canal such as Brinnon and Quilcene may start to see heavier snowfall in the morning Wednesday.
On Wednesday night, heavy snowfall is possible throughout Jefferson County, and high winds are expected starting in the afternoon and going through the night.
Port Townsend is expected to get less snow than southern parts of the county Wednesday night, but will get hit hardest by winds.
“The Peninsula warms up on Friday, with temperatures back into the lower 40s.”
Michalski said Hurricane Ridge could see another foot of snow Wednesday through Friday.
As of Monday, the Waterhole SNOTEL site near Hurricane Ridge recorded 57 inches of snow at the sensor.
Jefferson County Public Utility District reported only one minor outage near Coyle and no other snow-related outages.
One house served by the Clallam County PUD reported an outage “like a branch on the line,” PUD spokesperson Nicole Clark said.
“We’re really fortunate right now,” she said. “We’re just keeping our fingers crossed.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].