After foggy break, November rains set to return with gusto

After foggy break, November rains set to return with gusto
Fog rolls over Seattle on Nov. 15, 2012. (Photo courtesy: Stephanie McCarthy)
SEATTLE -- Sometimes I wonder if the sole purpose of sunny days in the autumn and winter are just to let us check in and see that our mountains are, in fact, still there.

As of Thursday -- check, although many had to peek around patches of fog to find the snow-capped peaks. Thursday also marks the first day of this November that it hasn't rained at any point during the day.

But now that the mountains have checked in present during roll call, it's time to restart the rain train.

Four storms are set to roll through the Pacific Northwest over five days starting Saturday, bringing decent amounts of rain and occasional gusts of wind. It's a stormy pattern for sure, but overall, it's nothing out of the ordinary for late November.

A few showers will sneak in on Friday, but the main event begins Saturday with rain developing in the morning and sticking around through the day, changing to showers overnight. It'll also be breezy with gusts to 40-45 mph along the coast and North Sound and 25-35 mph in the interior -- as I said, fairly routine stuff.

The second storm rolls in late Sunday for another round of rain and wind -- again mainly coast and north interior with the central Puget Sound region in the regular 20-35 mph range. Some forecast models indicate this could bring a period of gusty east winds through the mountain passes and the foothill locations that typically get an east wind, but nothing severe (it's not cold enough in Eastern Washington get the big wind push they sometimes get.)

Storms No.'s 3 and 4 are set for Monday and Wednesday. Monday's storm itself is looking quite wet as it taps into some tropical moisture from the central Pacific (almost like a "Pineapple Express" but I like the name UW Atmospheric Sciences professor Cliff Mass suggested: "Teriyaki Express" since the moisture is coming from further north around Asia and not Hawaii.)

Current forecast models indicate the bulk of the moisture will be aimed at Oregon and northern California, leaving Washington with lighter rain. We'll have to keep an eye to make sure that forecasted track doesn't trend north.

The fourth storm comes in closer to home on Wednesday with another dose of rain and wind, threatening to snarl what's already among the busiest travel days of the year.

Snow levels through the period should be above Snoqualmie Pass but will occasionally be below Stevens Pass, especially Sunday/Sunday night and on Tuesday night/Wednesday.

Models indicate that by Thanksgiving, the Seattle area will have had about 2 inches of rain, with plenty more up in the mountains. But so far, the rain is spread out enough that the rivers should be able to handle it, aside from maybe the flood-prone Skokomish River.

Long range models show more rain lined up for Thanksgiving weekend into the first part of the following week. November is the rainiest month of the year, averaging over 6.5" of rain in Seattle, and while we're a little behind now, by the end of the month, we might have reached our lofty goals.

As for our mountains, they'll be going back into hiding for a while, but perhaps they'll update a Facebook status or send out a Tweet or something to let us know they're still there and doing well.