It is going to get wet here in Western Washington this week—we are talking atmospheric river wet! This weather pattern moving in for the week is going to bring heavy rain, high snow levels, rising rivers, gusty winds and large surf. This week is going to pack a punch!
When we see this set up of the atmospheric river moving into the Pacific Northwest, it acts like a fire hose being pointed right at us. These warm and heavy moisture systems bring steady heavy rainfall, and creates rising snow levels. This is important because with the warmer moisture the snow levels will be higher creating more rain runoff, which can lead to increased river levels and flooding. For snow levels, Monday morning starts off relatively normal--- about 3500′-4500′, which means snow at our passes. As our next round of moisture moves in later today, the snow levels are going to rise even further—5000′-7000′. What is most likely with this scenario is that we will still see heavy snow fall at locations like Stevens Pass as cold air lingers and the moisture moves in. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 1 p.m. Monday through 4p.m. Tuesday above 3000′. The heaviest snow is expected at Stevens Pass and Mount Baker with 12″-24″ of snow! Great news for the ski resorts at those locations, not so great for Snoqualmie skiing, looking at more rain and warmer conditions especially for Tuesday.
It is going to be a wet few days for Western Washington after already seeing so much rain to start the month. Periods of heavy rain are expected Monday night through Tuesday afternoon and then again Tuesday night through Wednesday morning. We are looking at 1-3″ of rain in the lowlands for this period, with even more for the mountains 3-6″. This rain on top of the already saturated soil increases the potential for river and urban/small stream flooding. We are still watching the threat for landslides as well. The saturated soil does not stay in place well, so watch areas that are prone to sliding. A Flood Watch is in effect from Monday evening through Wednesday due to these concerns.
Winds are expected to pick up again with the several strong systems moving in the Pacific Northwest. Strongest winds are expected tonight into Tuesday and then again Tuesday night into Wednesday, similar to the rain waves. Both rounds of wind will pack a punch with the highest gusts along the coast and the north interior. The strongest gusts are looking to be around 25-40 mph and other spots around the Puget Sound in the 25-mph range. Tuesday night does look to be a bit stronger, with winds peaking around 40-50 mph for coast and north and 20-35 around the lowlands. The winds could take down tree branches and powerlines creating power outages.
The last concern we are watching we will be along the coast. The storm systems moving in along the coast in the next few days will coincide with the King Tides. Watching the beaches Monday through Wednesday for large storm surge, higher than normal tides, flooding and beach erosion. A Coastal Flood Advisory is in effect through Wednesday afternoon.
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