Environment Canada issues snow warning

freezing temps from fraser valley outflow as seen on NAM model graphic 2018-01-11
Freezing temps from the Fraser Valley outflow represented on a computer weather model graphic.
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There is no doubt by any weather forecast, the Ferndale area and much of western Washington is going to be doused by a very wet Pacific weather system that came ashore this morning. The Ferndale area is expecting upwards of an inch or more of precipitation in the next 24 hours.

Environment Canada has recently issued a snowfall warning for the Fraser Valley and areas west in British Columbia. They warn of “quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions” as temperatures are expected to drop to the freezing level due to a cold Arctic front that is expected to stall above the Fraser Valley. The initial snowfall warning was for higher elevations but this morning it was expanded to include lower elevations to the west, including Abbotsford (20 miles NE of Ferndale).

Computer weather models are not in agreement regarding whether a cold blast of Fraser Valley outflow is to be expected in the Ferndale area. The Global Forecast System (GFS) model and the European Center for Medium range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) model do not show temperatures dropping below 35° near the Ferndale area but the North American Model (NAM) does show temperatures dropping below freezing today in the path of the outflow through Whatcom County and staying below freezing until midday Friday.

GFS model temp forecast for 2018-1-11 0100 to 2018-1-12 1200 GIF
GFS model temp forecast for 2018-01-11 to 2018-01-12 (blue indicates freezing temperature). Looping animation
NAM model temp forecast for 2018-01-11 to 2018-01-12 (blue indicates freezing temperature). Looping animation

According to a weather station located near Ferndale High School, the temperature has dropped from about 38° at midnight to 34° at 6am. It has remained at about 34° between 6am and 8:30am, when this story was being written. Winds have stayed light from the north-northeast.

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As of 8:30am, National Weather Service forecasters had not mentioned any possibility of frozen precipitation in western Whatcom County.