Snow may cause travel problems

lpemberton@theolympian.comDecember 25, 2012 

In some parts of South Sound it could be a toss-up today whether folks wake up more excited to see if Santa came – or if it snowed.

On Monday, the National Weather Service predicted early morning snow for parts of Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor and Jefferson counties, especially in higher elevations.

“Some places could see up to 3 or 5 inches possible,” said meteorologist Johnny Burg. “Some amounts could be locally higher in places that are above 500 feet.”

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for the state’s southwest interior and lower Chehalis Valley through this afternoon. Among the areas that could likely see 3 to 5 inches of snowfall: Montesano, Elma, McCleary, Pe Ell and Rochester.

In addition, residents in the Hood Canal area – including Shelton, Belfair, Brinnon, Seabeck and Hoodsport – can expect larger amounts of snowfall that could continue through this afternoon, according to the winter storm warning.

“They could look at 5 to 10 inches possible, with higher amounts closer to the Olympic mountains,” Burg said. “People who are planning to travel should be aware there could be snow and it could create some hazardous driving conditions.”

Heavy snow also can cause tree branches to snap, and pull down power lines.

“There could be some local power outages possible as well,” Burg said.

The snow isn’t expected to stick around for very long, especially in the Olympia-area, where the forecast calls for rain and snow mix this morning, and a high temperature of 40 degrees with rain this afternoon, Burg said.

Wednesday’s forecast calls for more rain showers with a high of 41 degrees.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com

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