Will the Train of Storms End Across the Northwest US Next Week?

A series of storms will continue to produce heavy rain, heavy mountain snow and strong winds across the northwestern United States through the weekend.

Pacific storms have slammed the Northwest since the beginning of December as some locations have already received more rain in the first nine days of December than they normally receive during the entire month.

Both Portland, Oregon, and Seattle typically receive just shy of 5.50 inches (140 mm) during all of December. Through Dec. 9, Seattle has received 5.43 inches (138 mm) of rain so far this month. Portland has received 7.06 inches (179 mm).

"The short-run rivers to the west of the peaks of the Cascades will be very susceptible to flooding into the weekend," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

"The Skokomish River near Potlatch, Washington, has been hovering at major flood stage since Sunday and could approach record stage by the end of the week."

The Johnson Creek near Sycamore, Oregon, reached a record crest of 15.33 feet on Monday night. The old record was 15.30 feet set on Nov. 19, 1996.

Mild air has been in place across the region during the storms early this week causing snow levels to be well above pass level. On Wednesday, snow levels will begin to drop closer to pass level.

Rain and mountain snow will taper off during the day on Wednesday into Wednesday night as the storm system tracks into the Upper Midwest.

Snow levels are expected to be above pass level across the Cascades into Wednesday night. By Wednesday night, snow showers could mix with rain across some of the higher passes, such as Snoqualmie Pass.

The strongest winds on Wednesday will be concentrated across the eastern portions of Washington and Oregon with gusts up to 60 mph (97 km/h) possible.

Winds will also pick up across the northern Rockies with gusts to 60 mph (97 km/h) from Great Falls, Montana, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the Colorado Rockies. Gusts across northwestern Montana and southeastern Wyoming could reach hurricane force.

The next system will crash into the Northwest on Wednesday night through Thursday. This storm contains much-colder air, causing snow levels to drop near or below pass levels. The heaviest rain from this system will be confined across northern California and southwestern Oregon.

"Colder air will move into the Northwest on Wednesday night into Thursday, causing snow levels to fall across the Cascades," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.

Rain will continue to soak much of the lower elevations of the Northwest, but the intensity of the rain will be less compared to the storms earlier in the week. Snowfall could reach a foot across the Sierra Nevada.

"Snow levels could be as low as 3,000 feet (914 meters) at times on Thursday across the Cascades," Dan Pydynowski said. "This could impact travel with some snow down to pass levels, including Snoqualmie Pass."

Heavy Rain Brings Flooding and Landslides to Portland

Dan Pydynowski also added that snow levels will drop across the Sierra Nevada on Thursday and could impact travel at Donner Pass along Interstate 80.

"A few yards (meters) of snow will bury the high country of the western slopes of the Cascades by the weekend. This also includes Whistler Ski Resort, where the storm train will be an all-snow event," Kristina Pydynowski said.

Snow will be measured in feet across the Sierra Nevada.

"The snow could accumulate a couple of feet in the highest peaks of the central Sierra, the part of the range that needs mountain snow the most for ski resorts and water resources," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada.

Periods of rain will continue across the Pacific Northwest on Friday with snow across the higher elevations.

More storms are expected to pass across the Northwest each day this weekend before a break in the storms is possible early next week.

High pressure is expected to drop down from British Columbia and dry much of the western U.S. on Monday into Wednesday. While areas of rain or snow are possible during this period, significant rain and snow accumulations will be low.