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Fox News Weather Center

Coastal rain and wind to batter West; Feet of mountain snow to disrupt travel

A series of low pressure systems will bring more windswept rain and snow to the West, leading to treacherous and tricky travel during the holiday week.

Those taking to the road during one of the busiest times of the year will be greatly affected and likely face slow travel and delays each day.

"Every day through Wednesday, a storm will barrel into the Northwest with rain and interior snow," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

Stormy barrage for the Northwest

Rain will soak the western coast through the middle of the week while heavy snow will bury mountainous areas inland. In addition, strong wind gusts will sweep through the area.

Rain and wind to batter coastal Washington, Oregon, California

It's no secret that December has already been a wet month and little will change this week as a series of storms bring more heavy rain and gusty wind.

While one storm system departs the West on Sunday, another one will quickly arrive Monday, helping to unload another soaking rainfall.

Rain will be found anywhere west of the Cascades from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Santa Rosa, Calif., Monday and Monday night. While any of this rain could be locally heavy, there is an area at a higher risk for heavy rain and flooding issues.

"The heaviest rain and greatest threat for flooding will likely come with the Monday into Monday night storm in western Oregon and northwestern California, where there can be 2 to 4 inches of rain ," said Pydynowski.

In addition to flooding, mudslides will be a concern as well due to the combination of an already wet December and this round of heavy rain adding to it.

Travelers will need to use caution and give themselves extra time to avoid being late to their destination. Wet travel and low visibility can be expected for those traveling on Interstate 5 and other local highways.

Strong wind gusts will also be an issue through midweek, especially along the coast and across higher terrain. Wind gusts up to 60 mph will be possible at times which could cause some damage.

No relief from the rain is expected through Christmas Eve with a persistent storm track going through the Northwest, but shortly afterwards is a different story.

"A break in the storm train will come later in the week for Christmas Day as the storm track shifts farther south," said Pydynowski.

Feet of snow to dump on Cascades; Pass travel to be affected.

While rain will be a problem for areas west of the mountains, the mountains themselves will face more heavy snow over the next several days.

While snow levels will rise some late Monday into early Tuesday, they will largely be below 3,000 feet before and after.

"Snow levels should stay below the pass levels in the Washington Cascades through most of the time," said Pydynowski.

Over the next several days, the Cascades will likely see several feet of snow while the Blue, Bitterroot and Sierra Mountains will see up to a couple feet as well.

"People traveling by vehicle in the mountains of the West will want to consider packing tire chains and a snow shovel with them," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Travel through the passes will be treacherous and lane closures are possible. The wind will be gusty at times which will lead to blowing and drifting snow, adding to the travel misery.

Additional snow will continue to add to the base at ski resorts over the next several days, satisfying those planning on hitting the slopes.

The storm track will shift deeper into California on Christmas Eve and Christmas which will lower snow levels and bring periods of rain farther south.

Unsettled weather will likely round out the month across the West with more opportunities for rain and snow.