7 weeks to summer…and here comes another storm

7 weeks to summer…and here comes another storm
Updated late Sunday night to tweak wind warning times

SEATTLE -- It's like showing up to the world premiere of the summer blockbuster… when the closing credits are rolling.

We thought when a wind storm blew through on April 2 that it was a late bloomer, but just as we approach Mother's Day weekend, weather's mom (Mother Nature) still has a few winter tricks rattling around in her arsenal.

A relatively strong storm (by May standards, by which we mean, anything windier than 20 mph) is barreling into the Northwest Sunday night and Monday morning, bringing our old winter friends gusty winds, heavy rains and mountain snows along for a visit.

A myriad of wind advisories and warnings are in effect for the lowlands, while winter storm warnings are in effect for the mountains.

The storm itself isn't all that potent by traditional storm-measuring standards -- central pressure estimates are around 998-1005 milibars which is typically pretty paltry. But forecasting models do show enough of a difference in pressure behind the front for some good gusts in spots.

Winds were already picking up a bit in the North Sound areas Sunday evening, and will increase and spread across the region as we get into Sunday night and early Monday morning. The ensuing wind warnings/advisories are broken down into three areas.

The spot expected to have the greatest wind speeds is along Admiralty Inlet which would include Whidbey Island, Port Townsend, and the coastal areas of Snohomish and Skagit Counties (including Edmonds, Mukilteo, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon and Anacotes). A High Wind Warning is in effect here from 5 a.m. through 9 p.m. Monday.

Here, we have the possibility of a 1-2 punch of winds, but the second punch has the potential to be greater than the first. First up are the southerly winds reaching gusts of 35-45 mph in the overnight hours, and then a secondary, stronger punch of west winds after the front passes in the morning into the afternoon, with potential gusts of 35-45 mph, maybe a rogue 55-60 mph gust (highest gusts along the western shores of Whidbey Island).

The second area is for everyone else from Olympia to Bellingham outside the aforementioned warning area: You are in a lesser Wind Advisory from 11 p.m. Sunday through 7 p.m. Monday. (This would include Seattle, Tacoma, the Eastside and Bremerton.)

Here, southerly winds are expected to gust from around 30-40 mph, with perhaps a few gusts to 50 mph in the exposed areas near water and along hill and ridgetops, mainly in the late overnight hours Sunday night into Monday morning. So not too strong on the November/December wind scale, but pretty darn blustery for a storm that comes after Boating Season began.

We could see gusty west winds in the late morning/early afternoon for spots to the north of Skagit County, but the greater Seattle-Tacoma area is typically protected by the Olympic Mountains from a westerly wind surge.

The third area is along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where the southerly winds aren't much of a factor due to the blocking effects of the Olympic Mountains (except for the far eastern areas like Port Townsend, and far western areas right along the mouth to the Pacific). But this area is susceptible to the westerly wind surge. Here a Wind Advisory doesn't go into effect until 6 a.m. Monday and remains in effect until 7 p.m.

West winds could range from 25-35 mph gusting to 45-50 mph in spots. The Hood Canal area is also lumped into this advisory.

Winds die down all areas Monday afternoon into Monday evening.

Mountain Snow:

This storm will also bring a late season dose of snow to the mountains. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Monday through 6 a.m. Tuesday. Snow level will be around 5,000 feet Sunday night, but will drop to 2,500 feet Monday morning.

We could see 6-12 inches of snow by Monday night, with greatest amounts above 3,500 feet. Gusty winds to 35-45 mph are possible during the day Monday up there making blowing snow a concern as well.

Just be sure to check the mountain pass reports before you head up there. (You can call 511 for road information for free. I just used it last week on a trip through the mountains. Works great!)

Snow levels will remain low into Tuesday with snow showers continuing in the mountains.

Quick Recap

Just to summarize since we've tossed a lot of weather information out there, wind will pick up later tonight, with potential gusts 35-45 mph first, then a second surge of west wind possible with potential for a few 60 mph gusts in isolated spots, along Admiralty Inlet/Whidbey Island and Everett/Mount Vernon. A few gusts to 35-45 mph with maybe a few 50s are possible across much of the rest of Western Washington.

Winds die down late Monday. Heavy snows are expected in the mountains with 6-12 inches expected to fall from Monday morning through Monday night.

Active Tuesday too

The main rain and wind will be done with Monday evening, but with a very cold air mass in place on Tuesday, it's a recipe for heavy showers roaming around with potential for thunderstorms with hail and/or ice pellets. A Convergence Zone is also a good bet for Tuesday morning in the usual Everett to Northgate area, bringing a higher chance of thunderstorms there.

The zone could also slide south into Seattle during the day or afternoon, so keep an eye to the skies Tuesday as well.

By Wednesday, we start getting back to some semblance of normal with calmer weather the rest of the week-- which would be nice to have a Mother's Day without so much Mother Nature :)