“Steady rain. Showers. And steady rain again.” The National Weather Service says get ready for another “atmospheric river” of moisture.
Another atmospheric river is headed for Western Washington, bringing warmer temperatures and heavy rain and threatening to raise some rivers close to flood level.
The soggy system is expected to smack the region Sunday afternoon, with the brunt of the moisture initially headed north to Vancouver Island. By Monday, though, the fire hose could swing south and drench communities north of Seattle, according to the National Weather Service.
Even in Seattle, a half-inch or more of rain is expected by early Tuesday.
On the Olympic Peninsula, between 1 and 4 inches of precipitation is likely. Parts of Skagit and Whatcom counties could get 1.4 to 3.6 inches.
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“It won’t be one, prolonged rain event,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Art Gaebel. “It’ll be: Steady rain. Showers. And steady rain again.”
And that’s on top of a series of systems that already has left the lowlands soaked and the mountains snowbound.
Since Jan. 23, the Mount Baker ski area had received 73 inches of snow as of Saturday afternoon, Gaebel said. During the same period, Snoqualmie Pass got 43 inches and Stevens Pass got 37 inches.
Sunday will be mostly showery before the storm rolls in, Gaebel said.
Depending on where the heaviest rain falls, some rivers and streams could be pushed close to flood level, particularly the Skokomish River in Mason County, the weather service warned Saturday. And the added moisture will boost the risk of landslides.
On Saturday afternoon, a slide dumped mud and trees onto the Burke-Gilman Trail between 42nd Place Northeast and Northeast 125th in Seattle.
Highway 101 north of Hoodsport, Mason County, was temporarily closed Saturday when a larger slide slammed into a semitruck and spilled debris across the pavement. The driver escaped injury.
Wind gusts up to 40 mph flared across the Puget Sound region on Saturday, triggering small power outages in Seattle, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Bainbridge Island, Vashon Island and elsewhere. In Tacoma, the winds sent a large tree toppling onto a house near Wright Park. Residents were home, but no one was hurt.
Gusts up to 50 mph were recorded in Mason County.
By Tuesday the heavy rain will abate, to be replaced by the normal status quo of showers and more showers.
“For now,” said the NWS forecast discussion for Saturday afternoon, “there is at least a chance of rain each day (next week) although precipitation totals look light.”