SEATTLE — A major storm carrying high winds, drenching rain and heavy snow is headed for the Pacific Northwest, according to weather experts.
The storm due to arrive at the end of the week will be the strongest seen in months, meteorologists with AccuWeather said Thursday.
Snow falling in the mountains in Washington state caused spin outs on highways and forced the closure of Snoqualmie Pass on Tuesday night for the first time this season.
Rain will fall along the coast and in Seattle and Portland late Thursday morning or early Thursday afternoon, the weather service said. Some snow may fall in the Cascades, they said.
But by Friday afternoon, the storm is expected to slam into the coasts of Washington, Oregon and Northern California, bringing heavy rain and high winds. Rain will turn to snow at higher elevations.
“This will be the first significant snowstorm of the season for the Washington Cascades,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll. “Snow levels will fall to pass level and travel on U.S. 2 and Interstate 90 could become dangerous due to the combination of heavy snow and blowing snow.”
Wind-driven rain and blowing and drifting snow will drastically reduce visibility.
“The concern is winds will be strong enough to down trees and power lines. Power outages are a risk for the Seattle and Portland metro areas,” Doll said.
Klamath Basin residents can expect a wet and windy start to the weekend. The National Weather Service office in Medford forecasts the system to begin moving through Klamath Falls early Friday morning, bringing some rain ahead of snowfall around 5 a.m.
Snow will likely continue throughout the morning until showers become scattered around noon. Overall, Klamath Falls should receive 1 to 2 inches of snow, along with wind gusts of 40 to 55 miles per hour east of the Cascades.
Anyone planning to travel between Klamath Falls and Medford via Highway 140 should prepare for wintry conditions and possibly downed trees. Mountain wind gusts could reach 75 miles per hour along with heavy snowfall: 12 to 18 inches at Lake of the Woods and up to 24 inches at Crater Lake and the high Cascades.