One of the largest snowstorms in more than 20 years could pummel the Tacoma-Seattle area this weekend with up to 8 inches, forecasters said.
A winter storm watch issued by the National Weather Service warns of 5 to 8 inches of snow falling Friday evening to Saturday morning, as well as 20 to 35 mph winds and freezing temperatures.
The storm is moving south from British Columbia and will most likely hit the Tacoma area at 1-4 p.m.
It will possibly start as a rain and snow mixture before turning to all snow.
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“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the Weather Service said.
The heaviest snow will fall overnight Friday and start to taper off Saturday.
“There is going to be a major snow event over much of the Pacific Northwest,” Cliff Mass, a University of Washington meteorologist, wrote in his blog.
This weekend’s storm is expected to be larger than the one that brought about 2 inches of powder to Tacoma on Sunday and Monday.
Some models show 4 inches falling over the greater Seattle area by early Saturday morning, with a half-foot possible by the end of the day.
The northern part of the Olympic Peninsula could receive more than a foot of snow. Southwest Washington could receive a little less, more in the 2 to 4 inch range.
Although forecasters aren’t yet sure, it’s possible a third snowstorm could hit Sunday night through Tuesday morning.
That would make it “one of the greatest snow events in decades,” Mass said.
This week is being compared to December 1996, when 21 inches fell in the Seattle area.
The record for most snowfall in one day in the Seattle area is 21-1/2 inches on Feb. 2, 1916. The same date holds the record for two-day snowfall with 29 inches.