‘Atmospheric river’ bringing impressive rainfall totals to parts of Western Washington

SEATTLE — The steady rain is here thanks to an atmospheric river. Rain totals are already adding up and will be impressive by the end of the event.

Rain will continue through Friday, bringing the Puget Sound region moderate to heavy rain, but there could be periods of breaks.

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The heaviest rain will be west of Puget Sound over the Olympics and the Coast.

Generally, it will be a rainy day Thursday except on the lee side of the Olympics in the Admiralty Inlet into Skagit County. Highs will be well above normal in the mid-50s.

Anyone snow that was falling on the mountain passes will turn to rain. The warmer temperatures and snow/rain combination means high avalanche danger with an Avalanche Warning from the central Cascades to the Canadian border.

It will also be blustery at times, especially in the Cascade foothills.

Rain will keep going at times through Friday, though the Puget Sound region could see some breaks to end the work week.

Rainfall totals Thursday night through Friday should be in the range of:

  • Coast: 2 to 4 inches.
  • Olympic Mountains: 4 to 8 inches (Skokomish River expected to reach moderate flood stage).
  • Puget Sound region: 0.75 to 1.5 inches.
  • North Interior: 0.25 to 1 inch.
  • Cascades: 2 to 5 inches of rain below 5,000 feet (Cascade rivers will run high, but probably not flood).

While the rainfall will be long-lasting, the reduced forecast amounts should keep flooding problems pretty limited around the urban areas of Puget Sound. Still, drivers will want to exercise caution, especially at night.

By Saturday morning, rain remains around the area but should be more scattered in nature with possibly a few sun breaks. The same forecast is in for Sunday, with snow returning to the mountain passes at times.

Next week looks cooler with highs back in the 40s and unsettled at times.