Lately, Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction on Groundhog Day — that spring would come early — has been believable in the Pacific Northwest. But now the National Weather Service’s forecast for the first day of spring, Wednesday, includes rain, wind and a chance of snow showers at higher elevations in the Seattle area.
A midweek storm, a cold-air mass from Alaska and an unpredictable convergence zone could bring snow, hail and thunderstorms to the Puget Sound region Wednesday and Thursday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jay Albrecht.
An unstable air mass over the Seattle area Wednesday afternoon could create 40- to 50-mph-wind gusts and thunder. Later that night and Thursday morning, cold temperatures and erratic weather patterns could bring snow to Puget Sound areas as low as Seattle — but it isn’t expected to stick, Albrecht said.
But Albrecht, who lives in Everett, said with a convergence zone like ours, he’s always prepared for storms to bring something unpredictable.
“I’ve seen 8 inches of snow in late April with a convergence zone,” he said.
Chances of snow should dissipate Thursday by 11 a.m., but by the afternoon, the Seattle area may have to brace for another thunderstorm.
Mountain passes could get up to 18 inches of snow by Wednesday night. Temperatures at the 5,000 foot level are expected to be around 16 degrees.
The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center predicts high avalanche danger this week throughout the Cascades and Olympics.
Friday should be cold for the area as well and may bring some of its own snow showers as temperatures dip to the mid-30s in Seattle and low-30s in Everett.