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Originally published January 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM | Page modified January 15, 2012 at 11:51 AM

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Expect some snow, slick roads, low temperatures til Thursday

Snow is forecast for the Seattle area for the rest of the holiday weekend.

Seattle Times transportation reporter

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As much as 2 to 5 inches of snow could fall in the Seattle area over the remainder of this holiday weekend, followed by a possible sprinkling of 1 to 3 inches Tuesday night, the National Weather Service predicts.

The forecast issued late Saturday calls for freezing temperatures and a 50 to 80 percent chance of precipitation the next three nights.

Daytime temperatures will stay in the 30s until Thursday, the weather service said.

Ski-resort operators hailed the arrival of snow after several weeks without a major storm. Even now, the state Department of Transportation says mountain snowpack is thin enough that no avalance-control closures of I-90 are expected.

But even in the lowlands, officials expect roads to become slick. Snow is most likely to accumulate where hills or valleys block midday sun, and in higher elevations, said weather-service meteorologist Johnny Burg.

On Saturday, about 2.3 inches fell near Puget Sound in north Edmonds, and 1.8 inches near Alderwood mall, according to Burg. About a half-inch fell just before 11 a.m. along I-5 at the King-Snohomish county line, slowing traffic. Burg said the snow resulted from the "convergence zone" effect. That often happens when wet clouds travel around the north and south of the Olympic mountain range and then reunite north of Seattle.

State troopers responded to minor-injury and noninjury crashes in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties, said Trooper Keith Leary. Typically, drivers are going too fast for conditions or following other vehicles too closely, he said.

There were three collisions on Highway 2 west of Stevens Pass, where snowplow drivers reported several spinouts. Snow fell there beginning east of Highway 9.

Chains were required on Snoqualmie Pass for five hours Saturday as 7 inches of snow fell. But crews cleared the road by late afternoon. A full crew will tend I-90 overnight, said Summer Derrey, Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

To help people out in the cold, the Rainier Room at Seattle Center opened Saturday night to serve adult men and women who need overnight housing. It will be open Sunday and Monday from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said.

The Union Gospel Mission in Seattle was planning to send emergency vans to downtown and to White Center on Saturday night to offer hot chocolate, blankets, clothing or shelter to homeless people. The mission has put out a call for blankets to be donated at 318 Second Ave. S. downtown.

Emergency shelter will be open in Lynnwood for those needing evening or morning meals or a place to sleep. Go to Lynnwood City Hall, 19100 44th Ave. W., by around 6 p.m. For more information, call Mark Waldin 425-419-7938.

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or mlindblom@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @mikelindblom.

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