A white Christmas came early to the Tri-Cities.
You should be waking up to a few inches of snow Friday morning if you live in the Tri-Cities, according to the forecast of the National Weather Service.
Snow started falling Thursday afternoon, with more expected until as late as midnight. An inch to three inches were forecast both for Thursday and Thursday night.
It was expected to be the heaviest and steadiest snowfall of the next few days, said Mike Murphy, weather service meteorologist.
Check bit.ly/snowdelays for school delays or closures.
Thursday night the Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and Kiona-Benton City school districts and Christ the King school in Richland had all announced two-hour delays to the start of school Friday.
More snow may fall Friday in the Tri-Cities, possibly adding an inch or more to what is already on the ground, Murphy said. Because the front bringing the snow has warmer air aloft, there is a chance of sleet in the Tri-Cities even though the high is expected to be several degrees below freezing.
Friday night a 60 percent chance of snow is predicted, but any snowfall is expected to be light in the Tri-Cities, according to the weather service.
Temperatures will start to rise through the weekend.
More precipitation is expected Sunday, but with a high of 37 degrees possible, it should fall as rain. But more snow is possible Sunday night as the temperature drops below freezing.
Ice is starting to freeze on some small ponds and inlet waterways.
Don’t even think of walking on it, says Columbia Basin Dive Rescue. Wait until the ice is a minimum of four inches thick later this winter — and then don’t go out alone, and have a plan in case of an accident.
The Union Gospel Mission in Pasco had not turned anyone away as of Thursday afternoon, but was close to capacity and feared that could happen, said Andrew Porter, executive director.
“We can go up to 105,” he said. “We’ve been up to 102, 103 people.”
The shelter’s population normally rises by about 10 to 15 percent in the winter.
“We’re always having to sleep people on the floor in the men’s shelter,” he said.
If you are planning to head toward Seattle, be advised that a winter storm warning is in effect through Saturday afternoon. New snow accumulation of five to nine inches was predicted for Thursday night, with another four to eight inches possible Friday.
Chains were being required for vehicles over 10,000 pounds Thursday evening on Interstate 84 in Oregon from about Arlington to Hood River.
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