Winter storm brings heavy rain, high winds and mountain snow to the Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is bracing for a winter storm today and tomorrow. Courtney Obergfell, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Seattle, talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what to expect.
After roughly a half inch of rain accumulated overnight, the wind is picking up around the region.
“Another batch of heavy rain moves in this evening into early Friday. The highest winds are looking to be along the coast and the north interior,” Obergfell said. “On the interior, we can see a few gusts of 30 to 40 mph. That may be enough to cause a little tree damage and localized power outages.”
Breezy to gusty winds will continue today, strongest along the Pacific coastline and north interior where a wind advisory remains in effect. Peak winds expected this afternoon. Local power outages and tree damage remain possible! #wawx pic.twitter.com/QDbByFEuFN— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) January 3, 2019
Early Thursday, the Mason County area experienced downed trees, while flood warnings were issued for the Bogachiel River near La Push and the Skokomish River near Potlach, according to the weather service.
“We are watching some of the rivers off the Olympics and north Cascades through Friday as that heavy rainfall falls,” Obergfell said.
The storm is also bringing mountain snow, she added: “We’re watching the passes closely.”
The north Cascades is under a winter storm warning, while the central and southern Cascades are under a winter advisory. The snow level will drop tonight as colder air moves back in, Obergfell said. “So, we could see some hazardous travel across Stevens and White Pass, as well as in the Mount baker area tonight and into Friday.”
Bellingham and Skagit County will see the highest winds, Obergfell said.
Showers will linger throughout the day tomorrow, with a bit of a break tomorrow night into Saturday.
The National Weather Service has continued to operate, despite an ongoing federal government shutdown.
@NWSSeattle will continue to operate 24x7 through the government shutdown to provide forecast and warning information. Our social media presence will remain, but we will be limiting posts and replies to subjects that are directly related to forecasts and warnings. #wawx— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) December 22, 2018