Northwest residents might be thankful for a brief break in the rainstorms, if the weather forecast for today is correct.
“I would say about 90 percent of our models are showing Thanksgiving Day will really not be a bad day at all,” said forecaster Jay Albrecht at the National Weather Service office in Seattle. Skies should be mostly clear.
Rains bracketing the holiday could make travel difficult in places, especially for those driving over Cascade mountain passes where they might encounter snow. But it won’t be anything like Monday’s storm, which dropped a record 2.13 inches of rain at Sea-Tac Airport, flooded urban streets and knocked out power for 50,000.
The Northwest is still in line for a series of Pacific frontal systems, but it’s back to typical November bluster.
“Just kind of showery and blustery conditions but not high winds or anything damaging,” Albrecht said. “This time of year you can’t complain about that.”
SNOW: Weather Service forecasters expected 3 to 11 inches of snow in the mountains Wednesday, with the snow level down to 3,000 feet. The snow level was forecast to rise today, but there still was a chance of freezing temperatures in the mountain passes.
Another front Friday will bring more precipitation and the threat of rain and snow showers through the Thanksgiving weekend.
PASSES: The three open major mountain passes connecting Western and Eastern Washington reported no major issues Wednesday.
Snoqualmie Pass was bare and wet with snow and slush in places. Traction tires were advised, but not required. Both Stevens and White passes reported more snow and slush than Snoqualmie, but weren’t requiring traction tires or chains.
The snow level was forecast to rise today, but there’s still a chance of freezing temperatures in the passes.
Both the North Cascades Highway and Chinook Pass have been closed for the winter because of heavy snowfalls and slides.
The state Department of Transportation website has updates on conditions.
TRAINS: Train travel from Seattle northward was canceled on Amtrak and Sound Transit at least through today because of mudslides that hit the tracks near Everett earlier this week. Passengers ticketed on the trains are being provided alternate bus transportation.
Amtrak was providing updates on its Twitter account.
The BNSF Railway, on whose tracks the passenger trains operate, closes the tracks to passenger traffic for 48 hours after a slide, even though the tracks have been cleared. The delay is to ensure that the hillsides have stabilized.
Amtrak has scheduled 11 extra trains during the holiday period in the Seattle-Portland corridor to handle increased crowds. Most of those trains stop in Tacoma.
FERRIES: The state’s ferry system warned to expect significant waits for ferries Friday morning. Some ferries such as the Point Defiance-Tahlequah route will operate on a weekend schedule today. Other routes such as the Vashon-Fauntleroy and Vashon-Southworth routes will operate on a regular weekday schedule.
Capacity will be down on some routes because the 188-car Walla Walla is being repaired after a fire in the engine compartment during routine maintenance. That ferry could be out of service for months while the the propulsion system is restored.
The ferry system’s website has changes and details.
SKI RESORTS: Heavy snow in the Washington Cascades is allowing some ski resorts to open in time for the holiday weekend. Stevens Pass opened Tuesday. Crystal Mountain and Mount Baker opened Wednesday.