A major storm carrying high winds, drenching rain and heavy snow is headed for the Pacific Northwest, according to weather experts.
The storm due to arrive at the end of the week will be the strongest seen in months, meteorologists with AccuWeather said Wednesday.
Snow falling in the mountains in Washington caused spin-outs on highways and forced the closure of Snoqualmie Pass on Tuesday night for the first time this season. The pass was open by Wednesday morning with compact snow and ice in places.
Rain will fall along the coast and in Seattle and Portland late Thursday morning or early Thursday afternoon, the weather service said. Some snow may fall in the Cascades, they said.
But by Friday afternoon, the storm is expected to slam into the coasts of Washington, Oregon and Northern California, bringing heavy rain and high winds. Rain will turn to snow at higher elevations.
“This will be the first significant snowstorm of the season for the Washington Cascades,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll. “Snow levels will fall to pass level and travel on U.S. 2 and Interstate 90 could become dangerous due to the combination of heavy snow and blowing snow.”
Wind-driven rain and blowing and drifting snow will drastically reduce visibility.
“The concern is winds will be strong enough to down trees and power lines. Power outages are a risk for the Seattle and Portland metro areas,” Doll said.