Cold Air Surge Expected This Weekend


Craig Oswald, Field Meteorologist, 509-786-9256
Joe Zagrodnik, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Summary:

A potent cold air surge looks to move into Washington state from the north/northeast beginning Friday afternoon/evening. An arctic airmass of this magnitude is highly unusual for mid-March and the impacts to emerging perennial crops will be especially severe as a result of the recent stretch of mild early-spring weather and warm winter in general. The combination of cold, dry air and strong winds on Friday and especially Saturday night will make it challenging to mitigate cold damage. Cold overnight temperatures will persist into early next week before slowly rebounding through mid week.

More specific timing details are as follows. Precipitation will begin Friday morning and move across the state from the northwest. Cold air will begin filtering in from the north Friday afternoon behind the leading edge of the precipitation. This looks to turn lowland precipitation over to snow during the evening and into the overnight with a chance for elevations down to 400 to 500 feet to see snowflakes in the air. Northerly winds will increase abruptly on Friday evening as the arctic front passes through. Friday night temperatures look to dip into the mid 20s for southern Washington, near 20 for northern Washington, and the low 30s for western Washington. Precipitation will taper down on Saturday except for a few lingering snow showers in southern parts of the state through Sunday. Northerly winds will remain elevated through Saturday night. Dew points will drop to the single digits to mid-teens for most of eastern Washington by Saturday evening. Saturday night will the coldest night with temperatures dropping to the upper teens to low 20s across southern and central Washington. Sunday night will likely be cold as well, although a more typical radiative cooling night is expected with calm winds, clearer skies, and higher dew points than Saturday night (teens to mid 20s).


South Central Washington
  • Wind: N/NE and light Friday becoming breezier Friday night with gusts around 30 mph. Remaining N and windy Saturday and Saturday night, 20-25 mph, gusts around 40 mph. N/NE and calming through Sunday, calm to light and variable Sunday night.
  • Precipitation: Snow and lowland rain Friday afternoon transiting to snow Friday night. Precip becoming scattered and tapering down through Saturday. Lingering light snow showers Saturday night and Sunday. Trending dry Sunday night. A few inches expected with more in upland areas.
  • High Temps: Low 50s Friday, mid 30s Saturday, upper 30s Sunday, mid 40s Monday.
  • Low Temps: Mid 20s Friday night, near 20 Saturday night, upper teens to low 20s Sunday night.
  • Dewpoints: Mid teens Friday night, low teens Saturday night, upper teens Sunday night.
  • Sky Cover: Mostly cloudy Friday, overcast Friday night, overcast Saturday, mostly cloudy Saturday night, partly sunny Sunday, partly cloudy Sunday night, sunny Monday.

North Central Washington
  • Wind: N/NE and light Friday becoming breezier Friday night with gusts around 30 mph. Remaining N and windy Saturday and Saturday night, 20-25 mph, gusts around 35 mph. N/NE and calming through Sunday, calm to light and variable Sunday night.
  • Precipitation: Upland snow starting Friday morning with mixed rain/snow in lowland areas transitioning to snow Friday evening. Precip becoming scattered and tapering down through Saturday. A few lingering light upland snow showers likely Saturday night and Sunday. Trending dry Sunday night. A few inches expected in low land areas and several to a foot expected in upland areas.
  • High Temps: Near 40 Friday, low 30s Saturday, upper 30s Sunday, mid 40s Monday. Cooler through higher terrain.
  • Low Temps: Low 20s Friday night, mid teens Saturday night, upper teens Sunday night. Cooler through higher terrain.
  • Dewpoints: Low teens Friday night, mid single digits Saturday night, mid teens Sunday night.
  • Sky Cover: Overcast Friday, overcast Friday night, overcast Saturday, Mostly cloudy Saturday night, mostly sunny Sunday, mostly clear Sunday night, sunny Monday.

Eastern Washington
  • Wind: NE and light Friday becoming breezier Friday night with gusts around 30 mph. Remaining NE and breezy Saturday and Saturday night, near 20 mph, gusts around 35 mph through the Palouse. NE and calming through Sunday, calm to light and variable Sunday night.
  • Precipitation: Snow and low land rain Friday late afternoon transiting to snow Friday night. Precip becoming scattered and tapering down through Saturday. Scattered light snow showers Saturday night and Sunday. Trending dry Sunday night. A few inches expected with more in upland areas.
  • High Temps: Mid 40s Friday, mid 30s Saturday, mid 30s Sunday, upper 30s Monday.
  • Low Temps: Mid 20s Friday night, mid teens Saturday night, upper teens Sunday night.
  • Dewpoints: Near 10 Friday night, upper single digits Saturday night, upper teens Sunday night.
  • Sky Cover: Overcast Friday, overcast Friday night, overcast Saturday, mostly cloudy Saturday night, partly sunny Sunday, partly clear Sunday night, mostly sunny Monday.

Western Washington
  • Wind: N/NE and light Friday becoming breezier Friday night with gusts 30+ mph near Puget sound and the coast. Remaining N and breezy Saturday and Saturday night, 20-25 mph, gusts around 35 mph again near Puget sound and the coast. N/NE and calming through Sunday, calm to light and variable Sunday night.
  • Precipitation: Snow and low land rain Friday morning becoming more scattered in nature by Friday night. Precip continuing to taper down through Saturday and Saturday night. Mostly dry Sunday and Sunday night. Several inches expected at pass levels.
  • High Temps: Mid 40s Friday, mid 40s Saturday, mid 40s Sunday, low 50s Monday. Much cooler through the Cascades and Olympics.
  • Low Temps: Low 30s Friday night, 20s Saturday night, 20s-low 30s Sunday night.
  • Dewpoints: Low 30s south to upper single digits north Friday night, mid 20s south to lower single digits north Saturday night, upper 20s throughout Sunday night.
  • Sky Cover: Overcast Friday, overcast Friday night, mostly cloudy Saturday, partly cloudy Saturday night, mostly sunny Sunday, mostly clear Sunday night, sunny Monday.

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Washington State University