Powerful windstorm continues approach to Western Washington

Powerful windstorm continues approach to Western Washington
Clouds loom over Whidbey Island, where a High Wind Watch was issued Friday morning for a storm promising 40-60 mph wind gusts Saturday. (Photo courtesy: Skunkbayweather.com)
SEATTLE -- Mother Nature may be a lot of things, but "fashionably late" is not one of them -- at least this year. No, our traditional November storms are right on time as the first one of the month is set to bring heavy rain, strong winds and our first big dose of mountain snow this weekend.

A deep area of low pressure is forming offshore and is expected to make landfall across northern Washington or southern Vancouver Island during the midday and early afternoon hours Saturday -- a classic Western Washington windstorm pattern.

High Wind Warnings, which means wind gusts of 58 mph or stronger are occurring or imminent, are in effect from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday for the following locations:

The Washington coast, the Strait of Juan De Fuca (Pt. Angeles, Sequim, Pt. Townsend), Whidbey and Camano Islands, the San Juan Islands, Whatcom and Skagit Counties, the Hood Canal area, and much of Snohomish County, including the greater Everett area. Wind gusts are expected to reach 55-60 mph.

Wind Advisories, which are for winds of 45-50 mph, are in effect from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the rest of Western Washington, including the greater Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro areas, the Olympia area, and all of Southwestern Washington.

Rain will increase through the night with lows in the mid 40s. Wind will then increase on the coast early Saturday morning as the low makes landfall and remain strong through the day. Southeast winds are expected to increase in the Northwest Interior around mid-late morning while it'll take until Saturday afternoon for the strong southerly winds to reach the Puget Sound area. The peak 40-50 mph gusts for the greater Seattle area are expected to be around 2-7 p.m. but it'll remain windy through about midnight. (Factor in blustery conditions for the Sounders playoff game.)

It's during that Saturday evening time frame as the low moves into the interior of B.C. that a westerly surge of wind is expected to chase the low and its cold front into the coast and down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, buffeting Whidbey Island/Admiralty Inlet areas with fresh gusts of 40-60 mph -- only this time from the west.

The forecasted wind speeds are strong enough to topple some trees -- especially those still with leaves -- and perhaps trigger some scattered power outages. Meanwhile heavy rains combined with clogged street drains could cause areas of urban flooding.

Winds will die down as we progress through Saturday night, but colder air will move in behind the storm, making for our inaugural big mountain snow event of the season. Snow levels will drop to 3,000 feet Saturday night (along with still-blustery winds of 30-40 mph), then down to 2,500 feet Sunday meaning it'll even be snowing at Snoqualmie Pass.

In the lowlands, a cool shower-and-sunbreak kind of day for Sunday with highs only in the upper 40s. Extended forecast models show continued rainy pattern though the next week. Yes, November is here, right on time!