Mountain snow and drenching rains across Western Washington are forecast, with an especially wet and windy day expected on Thursday.
The first big snowfall of the year in the major Cascade Mountain passes, followed by drenching rains with fierce winds throughout Western Washington, is on tap in the next few days, according to the National Weather Service.
The passes could get 12 to 18 inches of snow in a storm forecast to hit Tuesday evening and last through Wednesday afternoon, according to a “winter storm watch” issued by the weather service on Monday morning.
Drivers are warned about the likelihood of slippery roads, poor visibility and delays. More mountain snow could follow on Thursday, but precipitation is expected to switch to rain by Friday with high temperatures on Snoqualmie and Stevens passes climbing back into the 40s.
For current mountain-pass conditions, consult the Washington State Department of Transportation at wsdot.wa.gov.
Related video: The Northwest’s snowpack droughtThousands of Yakima basin farmers will be short of water this summer, in a year marked by a stunning lack of snow to feed a river that sustains crops worth more than $2 billion annually. Read more. (Steve Ringman & Lauren Frohne / The Seattle Times)
On Thursday, the weather service forecasts a major storm through much of Western Washington, with winds of 20 to 40 mph and gusts up to 50 or 60 mph.
River flooding, landslides and power outages are possible, according to a weather-service “special weather statement.” The storm could bring 5 to 8 inches of rain in 24 hours in the Olympics and North Cascades.
Large and powerful waves are expected on the Washington Coast, with the possibility of significant erosion on shore, particularly at high tides.