As much as 6 inches of snow could dump on the passes, making things complicated for those traveling for Thanksgiving or for Friday’s highly anticipated Apple Cup in Pullman.

Share story

Marching bands and holiday floats won’t be the only thing on display this week in Seattle.

A “parade of storms” will move through the Puget Sound region as well, said Jeff Michalski of the National Weather Service.

“It’s an active week. There’s a little bit of everything: We’ve got rain, we’ve got a little bit of wind and we’ve got mountain snow,” he said.

It’s that mountain snow that looks the most menacing for drivers heading out to visit family on the east side of the state, or traveling to Pullman for Friday’s Apple Cup.

Michalski said 1 to 4 inches are possible at Stevens and Snoqualmie passes Wednesday.

“On Thanksgiving Day … it’s possible we could see up to 6 inches at the passes,” he said. Another storm on Friday will push snow accumulations even higher.

Unfortunately, that taste of winter wonderland coincides with most folks’ travel plans.

“Tomorrow is definitely the heaviest travel day,” said Nicole Daniels, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) on Tuesday.

Charts of previous years’ traffic predict that Interstate 90 traffic on Wednesday will be highly congested or stop-and-go from about 1 to 6  p.m.

“It’s weather-dependent. Our crews will be out there to do their best to keep roads open,” she said. “Leave early, leave late if possible.”

Or, consider traveling on Turkey Day itself. Although the snowfall may be heavier, traffic is typically lighter, according to WSDOT.

Either way, the agency is encouraging drivers to carry the essentials — traction tires, snow chains, warm clothes, a shovel and plenty of food and water.

“Keep emergency kits in the car. You never know what will happen,” Daniels said.

As winter whirls in the mountains, Seattle’s conditions will have a more familiar feel. The National Weather Service’s forecast calls for a chance of rain showers on Wednesday, as well as rain on Thanksgiving.

Temperatures will be about average for this time of year, with highs in the lower 50s.

Also, breezy winds up to 25 mph could wreak havoc on pickup football quarterbacks around the Puget Sound area on Thursday.

North Puget Sound will fare worse. On Wednesday night and Thursday, winds are expected to blow at 20-40 mph and hit 60 mph at their peak in the Admiralty Inlet area, the San Juan Islands, western Skagit County and Whatcom County. The weather service has issued a high-wind watch.

“Impacts could include (fallen) tree limbs, isolated power outages, things like that,” Michalski said.

Traffic in the Puget Sound area won’t be pretty, either. Daniels said WSDOT expects Interstate 5 congestion, particularly between Tacoma and Olympia, as well as delays at the Canadian border.

In downtown Seattle, the holiday parade and tree lighting will draw crowds on Friday and the Seattle Marathon will close roads Sunday.

“Leave early so you’re not rushed,” Daniels said.

Or, kick back, stay home and give thanks that you’re not braving the elements or the roadways.