Series of Big Storms Ready to Slam Into Northwest
A series of potent storm systems could bring hurricane-force wind gusts and up to a foot of rain to parts of the Northwest, starting on Thursday and lasting through the weekend.
The first system arrives on Thursday and into Friday, with strong winds, heavy rain and high surf expected from Seattle, Washington all the way down to Chico, California, with perhaps some light showers reaching San Francisco and the Bay Area on Friday afternoon. Rain totals of 2-5 inches are possible in these locations, with some locally higher amounts in west-facing mountain locations.
Wind watches, warnings and advisories are in place across the West in anticipation of the storm. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Seattle also warned on Wednesday of the potential for 30 foot waves along the coast with the stronger of the two storms on Saturday.
On Saturday, the stronger of the two storms arrives, with the potential for widespread 60-plus mile-per-hour (MPH) wind gusts possible, including Seattle and Portland, Oregon. This storm is the remnants of Typhoon Songda, which spun mostly in the open waters of the western Pacific Ocean. Widespread power outages are possible and any outdoor items should be brought indoors immediately to help prepare for these storms. Heavy rainfall on top of what will have already fallen could lead to enhanced flooding issues as well.
Two more bouts of unsettled weather are expected early-to-mid next week before conditions could settle towards the end of next week across the Northwest, but they’re generally expected to be weaker than the initial bout of stronger weather.
The series of storms is partially due to a so-called ‘atmospheric river’ of energy, or a narrow corridor of moisture-rich air transported horizontally across the earth. Its origins lie in the tropics, allowing heavy rain to be lifted poleward through these small channels of air. Every year, they impact the U.S. west coast with important bouts of heavy rainfall during the winter months (they’re also known as the ‘Pineapple Express’ in California), but they can also bring strong winds and the potential for flooding.
Stay with WeatherNation for the latest on this series of storms.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi