We’ve been having a mild winter in Washington, giving every indication we’d have no meaningful lowland snow at all this year in the western half of the state. Even the mountains haven’t had much snow because it keeps warming up to above freezing after the storms move through.
Until now. Canada sent us a blast of arctic air and the Pacific Ocean sent us a low pressure system with moisture. They hooked up over Western Washington and had snow babies.
It started snowing in the afternoon on Sunday, but it was still slightly above freezing and the precipitation was fitful. So by late evening we only had an inch where I live in northeast Seattle.
But over night the temperature plummeted, the wind blew (gusting in the high 20s), and the snow continued off and on. At 7 am on Monday morning I had between 3 and 4 inches of the white stuff at my place, the temperature was 22 F (-5.5 C), and the wind chill brought it down to 12 F (-11 C). Brrrrr!
How much snow people found upon waking varied drastically by location, even within relatively short distances. Downtown Seattle hardly got any, Lynnwood where my friend lives a few miles north got 8″, and several towns got almost a foot. That’s a lot for lowland Western Washington!
The cold wind couldn’t stop me from heading out to play with my camera in the snow, despite the fact that I have no boots. I always figure I won’t be out long enough to suffer harm, my car heater works great, and wet feet and shoes dry out.
At a little before 8 am I drove south to see what was going on at Magnuson Park.
Unfortunately the wind had blown most of the snow off of a lot of the trees, but those in less exposed areas had still retained some. When I arrived at the park you couldn’t even see halfway across the lake.
The fun thing about the wind is how it makes patterns in the snow and blows it around objects.
I drove all around the park, stopping here and there, but never venturing far from the car due to inadequate footwear and plenty of nearby subjects.
At the Northshore Rec Area I enjoyed the sight of a frosty dock and ducks riding the choppy waves created by the north wind sweeping down the lake. The photo is of buffleheads (one of my favorites), but I also saw lesser scaups, Canada geese, and a double-crested cormorant. (I didn’t have my longest lens with me to get better pics.)
Done with Magnuson, I headed north to Hamlin Park in Shoreline. The park is mostly trees, so very pretty after a good snowfall. The path I took is down between two small hills so the snow-laden branches were protected from the scouring wind.
I found a log to rest on for a few minutes before going back to the car. Even after brushing the snow off as well as I could, and with my coat pulled down for protection, I got a damp butt. But it was worth it. Everything was so peaceful. I could hear the wind in the trees up on the hill, but it was calm and protected where I was. It was a magical wintery moment.
With wet and cold feet (and butt!), and having been out for about two hours, I decided it was time to call it quits. I drove out on the snowy tree-lined park road and headed for my favorite diner for a hot breakfast. The cheesy egg scramble and hashbrowns really hit the spot!
There is no end in sight to our cold snap. Usually they only last 2-5 days for the worst of it, but this one is expected to hang around into next week. Another storm is headed our way for late Friday or Saturday and meteorologists are saying it’s “potentially significant,” meaning heavier snowfall and stronger winds. That’s a bit jarring to read since this one seemed pretty significant! (For Western Washington that is.)