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Winter storm brings heavy rain, high winds and mountain snow to the Northwest

A pedestrian walks along a sidewalk as windblown waves crash at high tide Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in Seattle. Another winter storm is passing through the Pacific Northwest today and into Friday.
Elaine Thompson
/
The Associated Press
A pedestrian walks along a sidewalk as windblown waves crash at high tide Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in Seattle. Another winter storm is passing through the Pacific Northwest today and into Friday.

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.”

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. 

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Kari Plog is an award-winning reporter covering the South Sound, including Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties. Before transitioning to public radio in 2018, Kari worked as a print journalist at The News Tribune in Tacoma.