Snow, maybe heavy snow, forecast for Saturday

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File photo Snow – maybe a lot of it – is forecast to be headed our way this weekend.

MOSES LAKE — According to the National Weather Service it’s going to get pretty ugly out there this weekend.

“It’ll certainly be a fairly significant winter storm,” said Tom Dang, meteorologist with the NWS in Spokane. The snow is forecast to arrive late Friday night and stick around all day Saturday.

The storm is moving south from Canada, Dang said, and “it’s bringing down a fair amount of cold air with it.” That means all the precipitation coming down will be the white stuff. “An all-snow (weather) event,” he said.

And there could be a lot of precipitation before it’s all over. Depending upon the location, snow totals are projected to be between two and seven inches. Saturday in particular could bring “medium to heavy snow” with it.

“The key message, again, is pretty significant winter storms.” And nobody in eastern Washington will escape. “Everybody should get at least some snow.”

And it’s not just the snow — the winds will be increasing Friday afternoon, “fairly strong and gusty, continuing into Saturday as well. The snow will be blowing around.” Heavy snow and strong winds will mean poor visibility and snowdrifts.

All that means Saturday might be a good day to stay home.

“We’re hoping we don’t get all that, but you never know,” said Roy Echavarria, working foreman for the city of Quincy. That sentiment was echoed by Ephrata city manager Wes Crago. “Hopefully we are over-preparing and the Weather Service is wrong,” Crago wrote. But cities are preparing just in case that forecast of heavy snow is right.

“We’ve got our snowplows all ready to go,” said Mike Moro, Moses Lake public works superintendent. The snowplow crews will be concentrating on the main streets, hills and the most popular routes around town (called arterials). City officials have a contract with an outside company to plow residential streets. “We’re not calling them at this time,” Moro said, since no one knows how much snow will fall. “Monday morning, we’ll see where we’re at,” he said, and determine if the contractor will be needed to plow the unplowed streets.

Quincy crews start working on the main streets when the snow depth reaches two inches or if snowdrifts start forming, Echavarria said. Plows start on the residential streets when the snow gets three inches deep.

In Ephrata, “normal plowing will not begin until the storm is over on Sunday,” Crago wrote. Crews will start on the main streets followed by arterial streets, intersections on Basin Street, school access, then residential streets, he said.

The Washington Department of Health has a series of recommendations to combat cold weather. “Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing,” the DOH website said, and people should wear mittens rather than gloves. “Do not drive unnecessarily.”

Pets should be brought inside during cold weather, it said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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