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Fox News Weather Center

Heavy Rain, Fierce Winds Heading for the Northwest

Waves of rain and snow are forecast for the Northwest into this weak, but a powerful system promises to add fierce winds to the mix by Saturday.

Winds on the ridge tops of the Cascades, Bitterroots and northern Rockies will easily blow in excess of 80 mph with gusts over 100 mph.

These winds will get funneled through some of the passes and create hazardous driving conditions, especially those oriented west to east or southwest to northeast.

The powerful winds will rush down the lee of the Cascades and Rockies and create wind gusts in excess of 75 mph. Chinook winds can locally gust in excess of 100 mph in northern Montana, specifically along U.S. Highway 2 just east of Glacier National Park.

The howling winds will impact drivers on Interstates 15, 90, 84 and 25. High profile vehicles such as RV's and tractor trailers will be especially vulnerable to powerful crosswinds on north to south roads.

The winds can also down trees and power lines and create power outages.

Rain will be heavy at times across western Washington and Oregon. The greatest amount of rain will be found in the Foothills of the Cascades and along the coast, where rainfall amounts on Friday through Saturday can exceed 4 inches.

There is a risk of localized flooding in some low lying and poor drainage areas.

Folks in Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., can see downpours at times on Friday into Saturday along with wind gusts to 40 mph.

Snow levels on Friday will be at 3,000-4,000 feet, then rise to around 6,000 feet on Saturday. There can be some snow accumulation in the higher passes which can cause slippery roads.

Unfortunately for drought-stricken California, this storm will pass to the north and fail to give the state some much-needed rainfall.

Strong winds will spread into the northern Plains later on Saturday and into Sunday with gusts topping 50 mph.