This won’t be the best weekend to try and get out and enjoy the outdoors, as a strong and wet weather system blows in tomorrow. The Weather Service says that we should expect heavy rain over the weekend, with a warm front stalling near the Washington-Oregon border. As the Jet Stream runs parallel to this front, an “atmospheric river” is trained on the Pacific Northwest, dumping large amounts of rain. They say that we could get 4 to 8 inches of rain in the higher hills, 3 to 6 inches on the coast, and between 1 and 3 inches on the valley floors. Rain in this area is expected to be heavier than the Willamette Valley and areas to the south.
We could see some localized urban flooding out of this system, as storm drains are plugged by leaves and other debris. Flooding of the mainstem rivers is not expected, but areas that have been burned by wildfires could be prone to flash floods and debris flows. Smaller streams like the Grays River in Wahkiakum County could also see some flooded areas. There is a Flood Watch up for Lewis, Grays Harbor and other western Washington counties, with the most rain expected from Stevens Pass southward. The Flood Watch is up from tomorrow afternoon through Sunday afternoon.
There’s also a High Wind Watch coming up for the coast, starting tomorrow morning and going until late tomorrow night. Sustained winds of 30 to 40 miles an hour are expected on the beaches and headlands, with gust to 65 miles an hour. Coastal communities should see winds of 25 to 35 miles an hour, with gusts of up to 60. In the higher elevations of the Coast Range, winds of 25 to 35 are predicted, with gusts of 50 to 60. These winds could damage trees and could cause power outages. Driving could be a challenge.
In the Cascades, there’s a Winter Weather Advisory up until 5 pm today, saying that heavy snow is falling in the mountains. The snow level is at about 4,500 feet, and they expect between 3 and 7 inches of snow falling at the pass levels. Between 8 and 15 inches is expected at elevations higher than that. Visibility is expected to be extremely limited during these storms, so be ready for challenging conditions if you’re heading over a mountain pass.