Weather

Wintry weather in Western Washington to change to sunshine by New Year’s Eve

A storm with a wintry mix of snow and freezing rain descended on Western Washington Friday, but it’ll be sun that ushers in the New Year.

A winter storm warning was in effect for Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass, which were forecast to get up to a half inch of ice on the roads and 8 to 12 inches of fresh powder.

“Plan on difficult travel conditions,” the National Weather Service warned.

The State Patrol and state Department of Transportation urged drivers to be careful as they set out on a busy travel weekend as people headed home from Christmas break or set out for New Year’s Eve festivities.

Avalanche danger was high throughout the state, except in the Olympics where it was moderate. Although conditions were expected to improve by Saturday, avalanche danger was still expected to be considerable.

Mount Rainier National Park chose not to open the road to Paradise on Friday, citing avalanche danger.

Rain was relentless on Friday, prompting a flood watch in several counties, including Pierce, Thurston, King, Lewis and Snohomish.

Rivers most likely to crest by Saturday include the White River at R Street in Auburn, Snoqualmie near Carnation, the Skokomish River in Mason County and the Newaukum River in Lewis County.

In a 24-hour period ending at 12:45 p.m. Friday, Paradise boasted the most rain in the state with 5 inches. Tacoma had 1.06 inches, Gig Harbor registered 1.36 inches, Lakewood received 1.52 inches, Greenwater was at 2.18 inches and Olympia was 1.40 inches.

Forecasters said the heavy rain would let up late Friday as a cold front moved through the region. The snow level was expected to rise to 5,000 feet.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hit more than 47 inches for the year and could soon be 10 inches above normal rainfall for the year, according to KOMO News. That will happen if the airport receives 47.49 inches.

By Sunday, the sun will come out and temperatures will rise to 42. Clear weather will stick around until at least Tuesday, when there’s a slight chance of rain.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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