National Weather Service forecasting colder and more snow than usual for winter
YAKIMA, Wash.- “Last winter was one of the snowiest winters we've had in over 20 years across the northwest,” said Action News Storm Tracker Mike McCabe.
McCabe grew up in Selah and said last year was one of the worst winters he remembers.
This was due to La Nina bringing cooler temperatures and he says he has gotten so many questions of what this year has in store.
The National Weather Service said last year was out of the normal, but you should have your winter coats ready.
"It looks like it is going to be below the average temperature for the Yakima Valley and just barely slightly above average on precipitation," said hydro-meteorological technician Robert Brooks.
He said the Yakima Valley has two main factors that keep the area cold.
Snow on the ground and clear days during winter.
"Snow on the ground is going to cool the air down and if it's combined with clear days you don't have that blanket of clouds to hold that temperature in after it hits the earth's surface," Brooks said.
Yakima got its first snow of the season this weekend and it was enough to cover some people's rooftops.
While most of its melted away already, the city is getting ready for more of it to fall this winter. They just finished putting up snow route signs to let people know that if it is forecast to snow, they can't park on this street because snow plows will need the space to clear the road.
This is an early step in Yakima’s snow plan to keep the city running during snowy conditions.
Randy Beehler with the city of Yakima said the plan dictates what areas the city will focus on once there has been at least three inches of snow.
"We are going to focus first on critical areas like police stations, fire stations, schools and medical facilities," he said.
Randy Beehler is Yakima's communication and public affairs director and he says the snow plan was re-established 5 years ago, but they tweak it year to year based on what works.
And after last year, he says there is no such thing as starting too early for winter.
"One of the lessons that we learned from last year is to begin the snow and ice removal a little bit earlier than we had in the past," Beehler said.
While it's almost impossible to predict what the weather is going to be like, it's safe to say that it's going to be cold and going to snow.