SEATTLE -- Seven days. Five wind storms.
We are all familiar with the drill now -- a strong storm is heading our way, bringing potentially damaging winds to parts of the coast and north interior, and gusty winds to the rest of the region.
But this storm has a few new wrinkles, in that it's actually two storms, plus it'll bring very heavy snow to the mountains.
What's Going On?
Let's talk about the set up first instead of the warnings because this is quite complex and the warnings will make more sense if you know what's going on.
We actually have two storms coming in almost simultaneously -- one going in just north of Vancouver Island; a second a short time later into the central coast of Washington. It'll cause some atmospheric confusion, as I'll call it, because the wind will have to decide which storm it wants to rush toward.
Here is a snapshot of this evening.
Saturday evening and early night as the first storm approaches Vancouver Island, southeast winds will roar through the Northwest Interior and central coast. That should last to about midnight, although perhaps a few hours shorter.
As we get toward midnight, this second storm intensifies and heads right for Hoquiam, crossing right over Seattle around 4 a.m. and then into the north-central Cascades. That might sound bad for Seattle, but the storm center is actually one of the less windy spots -- it's just to the south and, to a lesser extent, the north of the storm that gets the bulk of the wind.
That means southwestern Washington and perhaps up to Olympia and Tacoma, you could see strong winds with this second storm as it cuts across the heart of Western Washington. Meanwhile, up north, you'll likely get a lull around midnight, then the wind will swing around and you'll get strong *northwesterly* wind in the pre-dawn hours to chase after this second storm, although not as intense as the southeasterlies.
Got all that? OK, then let's run down the warnings:
The Wind Warnings
In the Northwest Interior, a High Wind Warning is in effect until midnight, then a lesser Wind Advisory picks up and remains in effect until 10 a.m. Before midnight, southeast winds gusting to 60 mph are possible. After midnight, northwest winds are possible to 45 mph.
The exception here is the Admiralty Inlet area (Whidbey Island/Port Townsend) where the High Wind Warning just stays on until 10 a.m., as both the southeast and northwest winds could gust to 60 mph.
On the Central Coast, it's a High Wind Warning through 10 a.m. Sunday. Southerly winds to 60-70 mph possible with Storm No. 1 through midnight, a brief lull, then northwesterly/westerly winds to 60 mph with Storm No. 2 early Sunday morning.
(Now, those of you in Forks and the North Coast might be wondering: "Where's my warning"? Wind gusts here are expected to be lesser to 45 mph, and that's too low for a High Wind Warning, and the "Wind Advisory" doesn't exist for the coast because as the National Weather Service says, 45 mph is so common over there in the fall and winter it doesn't warrant any kind of advisory.)
For the greater Central Puget Sound area (Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton, Bellevue), there is little wind effect from the first storm (southeast gusts to 25 mph (pointing to Storm 1), then a period of east winds of 10-15 mph (starting to point toward Storm 2), and *then*, after midnight, it's a lesser Wind Advisory in effect from midnight through 10 a.m. Sunday with the second storm for west/southwest/northwest winds gusting as high as 45-50 mph. (Wind direction dependent on storm track.)
For the North Puget Sound area (Everett, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mukilteo), it's somewhat similar to the rest of Puget Sound area except the southeast gusts could get up to 35-45 mph this evening toward Storm 1. You then pick up the Wind Advisory after midnight for gusts to 50.
For the Southwest Interior/Lower Chehalis Valley (Olympia, Shelton, Chehalis, Longview, etc), it's no effect from Storm 1, but a greater High Wind Warning from midnight to 10 a.m. here for Storm 2 for southwesterly winds as high as 60 mph.
No warning for Port Angeles, a Wind Advisory for Sequim to 45 mph. I think that covers everyone.
Yes, there will be a quiz.
Oh yes, gobs of snow too
Another difference from the quartet of storms earlier this week, this one is much cooler -- so instead of 5-10" of rain in the Olympics and 3-6" in the Cascades, it's dozens of inches of snow.
A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for all the mountains -- until 4 a.m. Sunday for the Olympics and until 1 p.m. Sunday for the Cascades.
In the Cascades, we are looking at 12-30 inches of snow by Sunday afternoon with 10-20 of those inches coming overnight. In the Olympics, it's 1-2 feet of snow up at Hurricane Ridge with up to 30-40" of snow on the south-facing slopes of the Olympics.
Those trying to get over the passes should monitor the conditions up there frequently (you can call 511 for latest pass conditions on the road) and perhaps drift any pass travel plans to later Sunday, although it'll still be snowing at times.
For the rest of the area, we all calm down Sunday afternoon.