The rainfall will build in intensity throughout the morning, peaking near lunchtime on Thursday. The same front rolling through the Puget Sound region is predicted to dump substantial snow on the Cascade Mountains and the higher passes.

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It’s not likely to be a record-shattering deluge by any means, but rain has been coming down “fast and furious” on Thursday in the Puget Sound area. Equally “fast and furious” has been the mountain snow, with Snoqualmie Pass closing to traffic multiple times because of so many crashes.

After a stretch of relatively mild weather in the Puget Sound region, a system moved into the area overnight Wednesday and will build in intensity through the day, peaking sometime between midday and late afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologist Dustin Guy said.

“By lunch, it will no doubt be coming down fast and furious,” Guy said.

He wasn’t kidding.

A total rainfall of about 1.5 inches is predicted, which is in line for the season, but has the potential to be the wettest day so far this year. The last time we had 1.5 inches of rain was on Dec. 29, and on Oct. 21, 1.61 inches dumped on the area, Guy said.

By early Thursday evening, the rain will be joined by a south to southwest wind that’s expected to blow in at about 20 to 30 miles per hour with possible gusts of 35 miles per hour.

Not surprisingly, the same front that brings rain to the lowlands will likely bring substantial snow to the Cascade Mountains and the higher passes.

A winter-storm watch will be in effect from Wednesday night through Thursday and anyone headed into the mountains should keep that in mind, Guy said.

Peaks and passes above 3,500 feet could see “substantial” snow, with 10 to 20 inches possible in many areas and 2 to 3 feet of snow in others. On Mount Baker and Mount Rainier, the snowfall will likely be measured in the feet and not inches, Guy said.

By Friday, the front will be to our east and a ridge will replace it, potentially bringing drier — if not sunnier — weather, Guy said.

“It’s a precursor to what looks to be a pretty dry weekend,” he said. “I’m not going to comment on how sunny it will be, but there will be a ridge over us and it looks pretty dry.”

Guy said Saturday will probably be sunnier than Sunday and both days are likely to be a few degrees above average, with potential temperatures in the low 50s, the forecast says.

The ridge weakens as we get into Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and next week “it’s back to our regular programming with a chance of rain from Monday through the middle of next week,” said Guy.