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Ferndale area winter weather has been much milder than last year’s … so far

Crash scene on I-5 just south of Nooksack River bridge (December 27, 2017). WSDOT traffic cam

A year ago today, it was a deceivingly rainy day in Bellingham while, just a few miles to the north, the Ferndale area was dealing with snow and ice and the accompanying traffic challenges.

Compared with this winter when forecasters forewarned the northern interior lowlands of the possibility of snow or slush yesterday morning, that was the first indication of a possibility of snow in the area since February.

According to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, the reoccurring climate pattern known as “El Niño” was predicted back in October to form and continue through the 2018-19 winter. El Niño is expected to result in fewer storms and warmer and drier conditions in the northern United States.

By this date last year, the Ferndale area had at least a couple occurrences of frozen precipitation during December. Notably, black ice on the morning of December 6th was blamed for crashes on I-5 and rains changed to an afternoon snow event on December 19th, resulting in several vehicles sliding off I-5 around the Grandview Road interchange and one vehicle halfway submerged in an overflowing ditch alongside Portal Way.

Winter weather this year, while at times windy and rainy, has avoided reaching freezing conditions, especially during times of precipitation.

Another potential victim of frozen precipitation, the Ferndale school calendar, remains intact, so far not needing to extend the end of the school year in order to make up missed ‘snow days.’ It was only a year ago when this was a big concern in the 2016-17 school year when 11 days needed to be made up.

Sledders gathered behind Skyline school 2016-12-12
Sledders gathered behind Skyline Elementary School on one of 11 snow days incurred during the 2016-17 school year (December 12, 2016). Photo: My Ferndale News
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