Winter Storm Warning: Rain, High Winds, Snow Headed To Western WA

SEATTLE — A winter storm is on its way to Western Washington.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Cascades running from 10 p.m. Friday through 4 p.m. Sunday. During that time, forecasters say to expect heavy snowfall above 3000 feet, possibly dumping as much as 28 inches on the mountains and passes. Drivers are being advised to avoid heading over the mountains, or to pack an extra flashlight, food and water if they must travel through the snow.

(Image: National Weather Service)

While the storm warning for the Cascades is definitely the most dramatic part of the forecast, it won’t be particularly calm in the lowlands either, which are likely to see gusty winds, heavy rains, and even some slight chances for snow over the next few days.

Forecasters expect blustery weather to move in starting Friday night, which should stick around at least through Saturday afternoon. In Puget Sound, that means gusts of up to 30 to 35 mph in the Seattle area, or 25 to 30 mph in Tacoma and Olympia. The northwest will be hit even harder, and a high wind advisory has been issued for the San Juans and Admiralty Inlet. A high wind warning means residents should “avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches” and stay in the lower levels of their homes, if possible.

Coasts will also be slammed with high winds, and have received a slightly-less-severe wind advisory, asking drivers to use extra caution and warning homeowners to secure any outdoor objects or decorations. Off the coast, winds are expected to reach between 34 to 47 knots, so forecasters recommend all but the most experienced boaters to stay in for the weekend.

Snow in the mountains will mean that Puget Sound can expect heavy rain. Forecasters say Friday night’s rain will continue through Saturday and Sunday, peaking sometime midday Saturday. Winds will also peak area-wide Saturday morning, forecasters predict, but breezy winds will linger through the evening.

If you were hoping to get outdoors this weekend, Sunday is likely the best bet, as the storm front is expected to slide south and out of the region Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon will be largely dry, though the chance for some shattered showers remains. Don’t stay out too late though, as come Sunday evening cold air is expected to start flowing into Western Washington, dropping overnight lows into the mid-30s and even bringing a slight chance of late night snow, though it may be mixed with rain.

Monday will bring another chance for a rain/snow mix, at least for King County, as the front slides back north over the Sound. Even if it does snow, however, forecasters say it likely will not accumulate, though temperatures will be cooler with highs in the low to mid 40s.

If all of this sounds like a hassle, and you’re getting tired of these dreary winter weather forecasts, take heart: winter solstice is just a few days away, after which days will start getting longer and we’ll finally, finally get closer to some warmer, sunnier skies.

Source: Bellevue Patch