The approach of a warm, wet storm prompts concern about flooding on the Olympic Peninsula and in Northwest Washington.
A warm and wet — but relatively brief — weather system is packing the potential for up to 6 inches of rain in the Olympics by Thursday evening and prompting a flood watch there, as well as in Snohomish, Skagit and Thurston counties.
Snow levels are forecast to rise to about 8,000 feet as the storm hits, with 3 to 6 inches of rain expected in the Olympics, 2 to 4 inches in the North Cascades and a little more than an inch in the Seattle area.
The system comes as Western Washington experiences an unusually warm January. Wednesday’s high temperature of 58 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport matched the record for the date, set in 1952.
In the last three weeks at Sea-Tac, 16 days have had higher-than-normal high temperatures, while only three have been below normal.
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Through Tuesday, Sea-Tac had 5.78 inches of rain this month, compared with a normal 5.57 inches for all of January.
Art Gaebel, weather-service meteorologist, said the heaviest rains in the approaching storm likely will end by Thursday evening, with a typical showery pattern resuming.
The Seattle area is forecast to have at least a chance of showers each day through Tuesday, with high temperatures dropping below 50 by the weekend,
Although the higher snow level means rainfall in the passes during this storm, it is not expected to wash away the copious amount of snow there. By Friday evening, snowfall is expected to resume in the mountains.