MAZAMA – Less than a week into autumn, snow hit several parts of Okanogan and Ferry counties last weekend as part of a larger weather system that dropped hail on Seattle and snow on Spokane and Pullman, and caused blizzard conditions in Montana.
The North Cascades Highway received snow most of the weekend. By Monday morning, Sept. 30, the state Department of Transportation reported compact snow and ice on the road, with more snow falling.
There were no travel restrictions on the state’s northernmost route through the Cascades.
Sherman Pass, between Republic and Kettle Falls, also had compact snow and ice on the road with more falling, as of Monday morning. Traction tires were advised and oversize vehicles were prohibited.
Loup Loup Pass also received snow on the weekend, but the road was bare and wet by Monday.
While higher elevations received snow – the white stuff fell on Omak Mountain and other peaks, plus areas such as Chesaw and Crumbacher Lake – the Okanogan Valley received weekend rain. By 4:53 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, more than a quarter-inch of precipitation had fallen at the Omak Municipal Airport weather station.
A power pole fire, related to the rain, occurred around 10 a.m. Saturday in the Duck Lake-John Peterson roads area northwest of Omak, said Sheila Corson, spokeswoman for the Okanogan County Public Utility District. Some customers were without power for a short time; others lost electricity for more than three hours while the pole was replaced.
Okanogan County Emergency Manager Maurice Goodall said he’s not aware of any other storm-related problems.
Temperatures also dipped, with the coldest being 39 degrees at 6:53 a.m. Monday at the Omak airport and 37 degrees early Monday morning in Winthrop, according to the National Weather Service.
As of Monday, a freeze warning was in effect for the Okanogan Valley and other parts of central and southeastern Washington. The forecast calls for widespread frost after 11 p.m.
The weather service warned that crops and sensitive crops could be killed by temperatures dipping as low as 29 degrees.
The night of Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 is expected to be the coldest of the week, although “more pockets of freezing early morning temperatures are possible” during the week, said the weather service.
According to the weather service, the official growing season for the affected areas runs through Oct. 15.
The storm hit the Puget Sound area with rain and hail on Saturday, although the Bellingham-Sedro Woolley area remained sunny and clear. Blewett and Stevens passes received snow.
Montana took the brunt of the storm. Up to four feet of snow was reported in some areas. Great Falls received 19.3 inches in two days, according to media reports.