Potent storms from the Pacific to bombard British Columbia, northwestern US

Potent storms will begin to bombard British Columbia and the northwestern United States during the second half of October.

The northern Pacific storm season is starting a little early this year. Typically, storms and their impact on the Northwest ramp up during November, rather than the middle of October.

The storms that brought some rain and mountain snow to the region this week will likely pale in comparison to what lies ahead.

After a tranquil but chilly weekend, the storms will bring rounds of drenching rain, heavy mountain snow and strong winds starting early next week.

Static US Friday to Sunday

"A plume of moisture is setting up across the northern Pacific Ocean," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

"Storms are lining up like boxcars of moisture on a freight train," he said.

The bulk of the storms will focus from southern British Columbia to Washington. However, the storm track will fluctuate somewhat from north to south from storm to storm.

Static Northern Pacific Storm Train

"Storms also got off to an early start in the Northwest last year," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

"However, unlike last year, where the storm track shifted southward and focused on California, we expect the storm train to linger in the northwestern U.S. and British Columbia much of this winter," Pastelok said.

Some heavy rain, mountain snow and gusty winds will reach as far south as Oregon and part of Northern California as the pattern progresses next week.

Rainfall from the storms could help ease the dry conditions.

One of the storms may drop far enough to the south to bring a chance of rain to wildfire-ravaged areas near San Francisco, Sacramento and Santa Rosa, California, later Wednesday and into Thursday of next week.

Locally heavy rain, snow and wind are likely to extend well inland to the southern Canada Rockies and the northern Rockies of the U.S. during the second half of October.

Portions of British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and the western part of the Dakotas are experiencing conditions ranging from abnormally dry soil to exceptional drought.

Heavy mountain snow may help to get the ski season off to a fast start.

As with any potent storms or series of storms, too much rain may fall too fast and trigger flash flooding problems. At the very least, highway travel and airline delays will mount.

Winds from some of the storms may be strong enough to down trees and cause power outages.

As is often the case, temperatures and especially snow levels will vary with and within each storm. Snow is likely to dip down to the major passes during some of the storms.

"The varying snow levels and gusty winds will pose a great risk to hikers in the region," Anderson said.

"The risk of avalanches will increase."

Areas along the coast will take a battering from heavy seas and above-normal tides.

The details and timing of each storm will be revealed as the storms approach the West Coast.