Editor’s note: This story was updated Friday morning to reflect the reopening of Mount Baker Highway.

Weather wizards may be able to distinguish among the four or more wet-weather systems lined up to promenade through the Seattle metropolitan area from Wednesday through the beginning of next week, but for most of us, it just feels like plain old rain.

That’s not horrible news for the still-parched region, said Courtney Obergfell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

“This is a typical winter pattern we are in, and it’s good because we have rainfall deficits,” she said.

However, the sometimes heavy rain, combined with warmer temperatures, raised the snowfall level in the Olympic and Cascade mountains from about 3,000 feet to about 6,000 feet by Wednesday night, unleashing the possibility of landslides and widespread flooding through Western Washington rivers, she said.

Those same factors contribute to avalanche danger that prompted the Washington State Department of Transportation to close Mount Baker Highway on Thursday. Because of that, the Mount Baker Ski Area was closed Thursday as well, the resort said on its website. The highway and ski area both re-opened Friday.


High daytime temperatures in the Puget Sound region are expected to reach the low 50s on Thursday and Friday, Obergfell said.

It could cool down a few degrees over the weekend, but it won’t be cold, she said. “It’s going to be pretty mild; that’s why the snow levels will be so high.”

The potential for flooding could linger into next week, she said, because no prolonged dry spells are in sight.

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