The low Monday morning in the Tri-Cities fell to 3 pm and residents woke up to a snowy skiff hanging from rooftops and cars – a preview of what lies ahead for the week.

The arctic air that moved over Mid-Columbia on Sunday evening is expected to linger until New Year’s Day.

With cold air, discovered pipes could freeze and burst, warns the National Weather Service.

People who spend time outdoors should dress in layers and be wary of frostbite and hypothermia, he said.

Hollows for Tri-Cities are planned being in their mid teens until New Years Eve, with Wednesday night possibly being the coldest of the week at 14 degrees, according to the weather service.

The weather channel says Friday night could be the coldest with a minimum of 10.

Highs should also be well below normal for the end of December in the Tri-Cities.

The weather service predicts highs of 22-23 through Wednesday, with a possible warming from Thursday to 28. Then highs could drop again to 24 Friday and 21 on New Years Day.

The normal average high for the end of December in the Tri-Cities is around 39 and the average normal low is around 27 – warmer than the highs forecast for this week.

More snow is possible Tuesday evening, with a probability of 30% predicted by the weather service.

The chance of snow increases to 40% on Thursday, with dry weather forecast for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Trip forecast

Travelers visiting West Washington or come home to the Tri-Cities the west side may want to plan their trip to stay off of Interstate 90 on Thursday.

The weather service is forecasting 7 to 11 inches of fresh snow that day at Snoqualmie Pass. More snow is also possible on weekends.


Thursday could also be the worst day of the week to head east Interstate 84 through Oregon of the Tri-Cities.

The weather service forecasts 2 to 4 inches in Meacham, Oregon. Snow is also possible on Saturday evening and Sunday.

Snow is also expected in Spokane on Thursday, but no more than half an inch is expected to accumulate. The probability of snow on Saturday evening and Sunday is 30%.

Prevent pipes from freezing

On colder nights, homeowners should consider measures to prevent pipes from freezing, says the Red Cross.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. With the doors open, however, make sure that harmful cleaners or household chemicals stored in them are out of the reach of children and pets.

Consider insulating water supply lines in unheated areas, such as under kitchen and bathroom cabinets or in the garage.

If you are going to be away in cold weather, do not set the temperature below 55 degrees.

Cars consume more gasoline

If you think your car or van uses more gasoline in cold weather, you might be right.

The Department of Energy recommends parking your car in the garage to increase the initial temperature of your engine and cabin.

Minimize idling to warm up your car, he says.

Most manufacturers recommend starting slowly after about 30 seconds. The engine will warm up faster while driving, allowing the heat to come on sooner, lowering fuel costs and lowering emissions, he said.

He also recommends using no more seat heaters than necessary.

Check your tire pressure. It can drop in cold weather, reducing fuel economy in addition to increasing braking time.

Cooler than usual temperatures will result in higher home heating costs.

The Benton and Franklin PUDs are part of Mid-Columbia’s electric utilities that offer discounts to qualifying low-income households with a senior or a person with a disability. Check with your local utility.

Radiator safety

If you rely on an electric heater for extra heat, it should be plugged directly into the wall outlet to avoid the risk of fire.

Consider purchasing one with an anti-tip safety switch, which automatically turns off the heater if it is tipped over.

Don’t be tempted to bring a generator into the house to power portable heaters in the event of a power failure, says UW Medicine at the University of Washington.

Small gas engines, camping stoves, charcoal grills, and other heat-producing devices can emit carbon monoxide, which is potentially fatal. The gas is odorless and colorless.

Symptoms include severe headache, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.

Too often, people fall asleep and don’t make it to a hospital emergency room in time to be saved, said Beth Ebel, UW Medicine doctor at Harborview Medical Center, during last winter’s cold snap.

This story was originally published December 27, 2021 11:54 a.m.

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Annette Cary, editor, covers Hanford, energy, environment, science and health for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for over 30 years in the Pacific Northwest.