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FEATURE NEWS

SKY VALLEY TO GET LONGEST COLD STREAK IN 18 YEARS
December 14, 2008



(SKY VALLEY) -- The Sky Valley area, as well as the rest of western Washington, is in for some very cold weather the next few days. The National Weather Service says “the longest streak of cold weather since December 1990 is on the way.”

The possibly record breaking cold temperatures were predicted to start hitting Western Washington last night and today. Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing for about seven days.

If that happens the cold snap would be the longest stretch of cold 1990 when there were six days in a row of temperatures below 32 degrees in Western Washington. Since record keeping began in then 1940’s the absolute longest cold snap was in 1969 when there were ten days of subfreezing temperatures.

While the possibility of lowland snow showers is in the forecast at times over the next few days it is the frigidly cold temperatures expected over the next week that could have the greatest impact on western Washington.

In weather statement issued yesterday afternoon the weather service said “an Arctic air mass will stream into western Washington Saturday night and Sunday (today) in the wake of an Arctic front moving south through the area.”

AN ARCTIC AIR MASS MOVES IN

Temperatures will fall below freezing across western Washington overnight Saturday to this morning with many spots dipping into the lower to mid 20s. Most of the region will remain below freezing today with afternoon highs only in the mid 20s to lower 30s. In addition windy conditions will accompany the arrival of the Arctic air mass especially in the north interior of western Washington.

Snow showers Saturday night and Sunday could produce local accumulations of
1 to 3 inches, creating slippery roads and sidewalks. Roadways and other surfaces that are already wet will quickly become icy and dangerous. The frigid weather could also burst outdoor pipes and endanger pets as well.

Wind chill is another thing that cannot be ignored, says the weather service. In the northwest interior of the state the combination of sub-freezing temperatures and windy conditions will create apparent temperatures – i.e., the “wind chill effect” - near zero degrees Fahrenheit, low enough to cause frostbite to exposed skin.

The weather service says temperatures will drop further on Monday as very cold air
continues to funnel through the Fraser River valley of southern British Columbia and into western Washington. By Monday daytime highs will generally reach only the 20s with nighttime lows in the teens or lower. The cold air mass will sit over the region for the rest of the week with most all of western Washington remaining near or below freezing even during the daytime.

In addition, says the weather service, a weather system on Wednesday could interact with the stubborn cold air mass to produce a renewed threat of accumulating snow across the western Washington lowlands.

IN THE MOUNTAINS, FROSTBITE TERRITORY

Over the Cascade Mountains temperatures will fall into the teens and single digits at night and remain very cold for much of the week ahead. Wind chill values of 20 below zero can be expected at times in the mountains, which means frostbite to exposed skin could occur in only about 15 minutes.

Enough snow has already fallen in the mountains that Mission Ridge and Crystal Mountain ski areas were scheduled to open over the weekend, although Crystal was expecting limited operations. The Mount Baker ski area in Whatcom County and 49 Degrees North near Spokane announced plans to open today.

The weather service statement advises all residents to be prepared for an unusually prolonged and intense period of cold winter weather.

In case there are power outages residents should be prepared with enough food on hand for themselves and their pets, medicines, blankets, battery powered lights, battery powered radios and a good first-aid kit.

Make sure outdoor water pipes are insulated, disconnect all garden hoses and make sure all outdoors faucets are insulated from the cold. Letting a faucet drip overnight also can help keep pipes from freezing.





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