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Forecasters miss by hours and inches

Posted by Geeky Swedes on December 17th, 2008

10:15 p.m. update: Still no snow yet, but the latest forecast from KING 5’s Jeff Renner begins with the exclamation, “Not over yet!” The general consensus is 1 to 3 inches by Thursday morning. You may be a little skeptical, and for good reason. Facing a forecast of 2 to 5 inches of snow in the Seattle area — some of it predicted for this morning — thousands of people stayed home from work and Seattle Public Schools canceled classes for the day. But all it did was rain here and there, leaving Metro buses driving around at a top speed of 35 mph, sparks flying up from the chains on the wheels. Ballard High School looked eerily empty as Saturday night’s snow melted around it.

The school district defended its decision in the interest of safety, and forecasters pointed to our notoriously fickle weather patterns — specifically, the “rain shadow” effect from the Olympic Mountains which sent the snow north and south of us. “(It’s a) stark reminder of how much the weather can vary over a short distance in the Pacific Northwest,” explains KOMO 4’s Scott Sistek.

Many parents were forced to figure out how to care for their kids, many working from home. Others headed to the coffee shop (that’s Cupcake Royale at 10:30 this morning). And it became quite the conversation on talk radio as well as in My Ballard’s comments below. “Anybody from a part of the country that gets real snow in the winter is laughing at us wimpy Seattleites right now,” wrote Mike in comments. And both the SeattleTimes.com and SeattlePI.com ran the story, “Seattle paralyzed by chance of snow,” which cites the 1990 snowstorm as one of the reasons why Seattle is so afraid of snow.

Meanwhile, we’ll let you know if/when the snow begins to fall. And please email news tips, interesting observations and photos to tips@myballard.com.

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