ADVISORY: Next Storm Will Have Snow, Wind & Sleet

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A big new winter storm is barreling towards us, and will strike sometime Saturday, Dec. 20th, possibly around “dinner time,” possibly earlier.

I heard a live broadcast on the radio thingy this afternoon from a spokesman for the National Weather Service, and what he said made me drive to McLendon’s and buy a kerosene heater. He used phrases like “major event” “up to 75-90 mph gusts” and this clincher: “possible life-threatening situation in places.”

Then I harkened back to two previous winter events: one in 1995 when power was out for about a week, and the other from two years ago when it was out for 4-1/2 days.

I have a feeling I’ll be thanking McLendon’s come Sunday night.

Here’s the latest winter weather advisory (as of 3:59pm 12/19/08) courtesy the National Weather Service:

… Winter Storm Warning in effect from 4 PM Saturday to 4 PM PST Sunday…

The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Winter Storm Warning… which is in effect from 4 PM Saturday to 4 PM PST Sunday. The Winter Storm Watch is no longer in effect.

A major winter storm is on tap this weekend. Heavy snow is expected to develop along the coast on Saturday afternoon and then spread into the interior of western Washington early Saturday evening. Heaviest snow will occur on the Kitsap peninsula… along Hood Canal… and from Olympia and Chehalis west to the central coast near Ocean Shores. 10 to 18 inches of snow is expected close to Hood Canal. Other locations within this area should get 5 to 12 inches of snow.

Along the I-5 Corridor North of Tacoma… including Seattle and Everett… storm-total snowfall of 4 to 8 inches is expected. Western Skagit and Whatcom counties should receive about 3 to 5 inches of snow. In general… lighter amounts will occur near the Cascade foothills with heavier amounts further west along the shores of Puget Sound. Some parts of eastern King County… where wind is a big threat… will receive 1 inch or less of snowfall.

Late Saturday night and Sunday morning… locations from Tacoma on south through Lewis County and west to the coast are expected to mix with sleet and freezing rain. Freezing rain is most likely in Grays Harbor County and the lower Chehalis valley. If more precipitation occurs in the form of freezing rain than snow… then an ice storm would be possible with ice accumulations in excess of one-quarter inch. This is not a certainty but should be kept in mind. Ice storms are capable of causing power lines and large tree branches to snap and cause major travel disruptions.

Precautionary/preparedness actions…

Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow… sleet… and ice are expected or occurring. Strong winds are also possible. This will make travel very hazardous or impossible.

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