Snow in March? Winter is going out like a lion in the San Juans

Snow drops above Mullis Street in Friday Harbor, Monday afternoon.  - Jane K. Fox
Snow drops above Mullis Street in Friday Harbor, Monday afternoon.
— image credit: Jane K. Fox

Snow — sparse, and not enough to stick, but snow nonetheless — teased parts of San Juan Island Monday afternoon, as temperatures headed to below freezing.

The National Weather Service was predicting an evening low of 31 degrees with a chance of rain. Temperatures are expected to climb to the high 40s daytime and high 30s evening the rest of the week.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Department reported no weather-related vehicle accidents early Monday afternoon.

Snow was reportedly falling earlier Monday on Mount Vernon, according to weather reporter Jack Giard of Lopez Island.

Giard wasn't surprised by today's turn in temperatures — 12 days before the first day of spring.

"We've had a lot of March snow, and we've had it in April too," he said.

For those with short memories: On March 7, 2009, a half-inch of snow was recorded on Lopez Island. On March 9, 3 inches of snow fell, with temperatures as low as 21 degrees on March 10. "That snow stayed on the ground until the 14th of March," Giard said.

Giard recorded hail and sleet on March 20, 2008; snow flurries on March 2, 2007; and a half-inch of snow on March 9, 2006. A 2002 storm dropped an inch of snow on March 18, 1.5 inches on March 19, and 2.5 inches on March 20.

Orcas Island weather reporter John Willis said there was a light snow shower visible Monday from his Olga home, but it did not stick. "Winter lasts till the 21st of March," he said, adding that although rare, snow in March is not unheard of.

"I remember once the biggest accumulation of snow happened on the 5th or 6th of March, that was in 1955," he said.

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