Snow will give way to rain and warmer temperatures this weekend

As the temperatures warm up this weekend into the mid-40s and the snow gives way to rain the National Weather Service is warning area residents to be aware of potential urban flooding.

Snow kept falling in Covington and Maple Valley in the morning while a rain/snow mix in the afternoon Thursday turned the inch or so that had accumulated on the roads into slush.

Relief is coming nearly two weeks after the first snow fell and the initial system came through dropping the temperatures into the teens as weather expert Cliff Mass, meteorologist at the University of Washington, posted to his blog today that a major weather system was approaching quickly.

This will bring in a warm front tonight and cold front Saturday morning.

“You will be able to tell when the warm Pacific air hits tonight,” Mass said. “The system will be wet, but not a pineapple express. Temperatures tomorrow will get back to normal, into the mid 40s, and most streets should become passable by late tomorrow.”

According to the National Weather Service Web site the high for Maple Valley and Covington on Saturday will be 43 degrees with rain predicted early in the morning and showers continuing through the rest of the day. High temperatures will be in the mid-40s all week long with the exception of Monday which will be 39 degrees.

A flood watch was issued by the NWS in Seattle, as “a strong and wet Pacific storm will finally scour out the cold air mass that has been in place for nearly a week,” according to the NWS site.

Melting snow combined with rain could result in some urban flooding, “especially in those areas where a foot or more of snow is still on the ground.”

This could clog storm drains with snow and ice which could cause flooding of streets and possibly homes or businesses.

Residents are encouraged to clean out storm drains around their homes to prevent flooding in neighborhoods as the snow melts and rain returns.

Kyle Ohashi, spokesman for Fire District 37, said Friday morning that there had been no significant incidents in Covington and surrounding unincorporated areas.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, King County Executive Ron Sims declared a local emergency due to the prolonged, severe winter weather conditions.

This proclamation allows county departments to be flexible as staff work with contractors to deal with snow and ice covered roads as well as other weather related impacts on county residents.

It also allows the county speed up the process of getting resources it needs such as sand or equipment to deal with issues created by snow and ice.

County departments will continue to monitor the situation and respond as needed to ensure public safety.

Crews from the Maintenance Section of the King County Roads Services Division have worked around-the-clock shifts since Dec. 13 to respond to road emergencies and keep roads safe for drivers.

As of Monday road crews had plowed more than 10,000 lane miles of road and sanded 12,500 lane miles. Their focus remains on highly traveled arterial roads in unincorporated areas. Those have been plowed many times due to snow and wind.

This year the county officials said they stocked up before winter started by doubling its supply of anti-icing equipment as well as more widely distributing those supplies among Roads Maintenance stockpile sites. This ensured faster response times and more efficient operations.

Washington State Department of Transportation officials want to give residents a glimpse into a day in the life of a snow plow driver by posting photos to Flickr at

State snow plows have manual transmissions and most of the road clearing is done at speeds below 35 MPH. They were out over the holiday clearing roads to continue to keep roads safe for travelers.

County officials also reminded residents that in the event of power outages do not bring generators, charcoal grills or gas powered heaters inside for warmth to avoid potential fire and carbon monoxide poisoning hazards.