Rain, wind and mountain snow are expected to hit Western Washington Monday and Tuesday. Winds could reach 65 mph Tuesday.
Update Tuesday, Nov. 17: A windstorm hit the Puget Sound area Tuesday. Details on power outages, flooding and mudslides here.
Original post: Another bout of rain and mountain snow hit Western Washington Monday afternoon, with strong winds expected to follow on Tuesday.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jay Neher said the wind is expected to be stronger than the weekend’s tempest, but the new system’s rainfall likely will be less heavy. There’s a high-wind warning for most of the region for Tuesday, and forecasters continue to watch rivers for flooding.
Stormy weather tips
“It’s coming right after a pretty strong system and the rivers are running high anyway,” National Weather Service meteorologist Kirby Cook said.
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A flood watch remains in effect for most of the region until Wednesday night, which means conditions are favorable for flooding, though it’s not necessarily imminent or occurring. None of King County’s rivers was overflowing as of 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Neher said Seattle and the surrounding areas could get 25 to 45 mph winds with gusts between 45 and 60 mph throughout Tuesday. The high winds could last into the evening, with the strongest winds in the middle of the day, according to the warning.
“The storm will die down Tuesday night, and by Wednesday, it will all be over,” Neher said. Wednesday’s forecast for the Seattle and surrounding area calls for a chance of rain, he said.
Because the weekend storm left the ground saturated, Cook said the risk of landslides is greater, trees are more vulnerable to being blown over and rivers may run even higher than they did this weekend.
“You can think of the weekend storms as priming the pump a little bit,” Cook said.
Monday night snowfall in the major Cascade mountain passes will likely turn into rain Tuesday morning, with a total accumulation of between 8 to 16 inches of snow in some areas, according to a winter storm warning for the area.
“This does look good for skiers — we’re going to get another bout of mountain snow,” Cook said. “Tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, the snow level will drop to 2,000 feet.”
Mount Baker Ski Area announced Monday that it will be the first in the state to open, this Thursday. It’s been pounded with a series of storms that have dropped 2 feet of snow.
The winter storm warning lasts through early Tuesday, with weather making driving hazardous or impossible. The state Department of Transportation is urging drivers to stay updated with changing road conditions on its website.
The state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced on Monday the seasonal closure of the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) on the west side of the mountains at milepost 134, east of Diablo, Whatcom County, and on the east side at milepost 171, 14 miles west of Mazama, Okanogan County.
Crews typically reopen the highway by early May, according to a WSDOT online news bulletin. The closure started on Nov. 24 last year, and the highway reopened on April 3.
Cook said the recent rains don’t indicate a change in the long-term forecast, which projects a drier winter.
“Typically, the El Niño signal here doesn’t kick in until the core winter months: December, January and February. We can have wet falls with El Niño,” Cook said. “This is not unusual.”