PORT ANGELES — Stay home if you can.
That was the advice presented Tuesday afternoon by Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron as the North Olympic Peninsula looked down the barrel of another snow-laden winter storm.
“Our weather forecast when I went to bed last night was pretty dull, really. Kinda the same we’ve had; small amounts of snow over the next couple days,” Cameron said in an email issued Tuesday.
“Well guess what? That sure changed.
“Over a period of less than 12 hours, we went from a mild snow outlook to a possible Snowmaggedon 2 like we saw just about a year ago.”
The greatest amount of snow overnight Tuesday was expected in Port Angeles, so residents were expected to awaken this morning with an additional 4-8 inches, according to the National Weather Service, or up to a foot more, according to other sources. Snowfall is generally greater at higher elevations.
In Sequim, overnight Tuesday snowfall was expected to be some 2-3 inches. The West End was forecast to get 2-3 inches more and 1-2 inches were predicted in Port Townsend, while the foothills of the Hood Canal, including Quilcene and Brinnon could get between 4 and 6 inches of snow.
Tuesday’s storm system was predicted to move from west to east, hitting Forks, La Push, Clallam Bay-Sekiu and Neah Bay first and moving over toward Port Townsend during the evening.
Yet another storm is forecast to hit the Peninsula on Wednesday, bringing less snow but higher winds, said Kirby Cook, National Weather Service meteorologist, on Tuesday.
The strongest winds are predicted for the east and west sides of the Peninsula, with gusts as high as 50-60 mph in Neah Bay and 50 mph in Port Townsend, and 30-35 in Forks, 35-40 mph in Port Angeles and 45-50 in Sequim.
The good news is that by Thursday morning, the freezing Fraser outflow’s arctic breath will have weakened over the Peninsula as the storm system moves north into Canada, and winds will shift to being from the south-east, Cook said. Overnight lows are still expected to be near freezing but Friday will begin to see a warming trend, he said.
Said Cameron: “Who knows? Yesterday at this time, no one thought this forecast would occur. Maybe it won’t develop and things change yet again. But let’s not count on that and be ready.
“Stay home if you can. Stay warm and don’t forget your critters; they’re cold too,” he continued. “I’m bringing in the hummingbird feeders at night so the food is not frozen for them in the morning.”
Port Angeles and Sequim public schools were closed Tuesday. Port Townsend and Chimacum school districts each had a two-hour delayed start and the Brinnon School District sent students home an hour early.
Forks residents awoke to 2 inches of snow Tuesday morning after being spared the white stuff Monday, Forks Police Chief Mike Rowley said.
Rowley said Quillayute Valley School District initially issued a notice that school would start two hours late, then called a snow day and cancelled classes.
Rowley said Forks-area roads were “all snow-packed” Tuesday morning.
Matt Stewart, the road maintenance supervisor for Jefferson County Public Works, had teams plowing county roads throughout Monday night and Tuesday, and he was preparing for another front predicted for Tuesday night.
Stewart said he is expecting the southern parts of the county to see the heaviest snowfall.
Port Townsend Public Works had all five of its plow trucks out early on Tuesday and spread about 100 yards of sand, said Brian Reid, city operations manager for streets, stormwater and sewer. By the afternoon, much of the snow in Port Townsend had melted.
Ross Tyler, Clallam County Public Works director, said that crews were out all day plowing.
“I expect that most of the side roads have been hit at this point,” he said late Tuesday afternoon, adding that incoming snow would soon create a different scenario.
Trooper Chelsea Hodgson, State Patrol spokesperson, said that on Tuesday in Clallam and Jefferson counties were only two non-injury collisions, two disabled vehicles and one blocking debris reports.
Port Angeles and Sequim crews are clearing major arterials first. The Port Angeles snow removal map can be found at arcg.is/0mDyrK. The Sequim snow removal map can be seen at tinyurl.com/PDN-sequimsnowremoval.
The state Department of Transportation clears U.S. Highway 101.
School districts generally announce plans for closures by 5:30 a.m. Check your local district’s website or call its main number.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean and Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb contributed to this story.