Train of Snow, Rain, Wind Storms Aim for the Northwest

December 21, 2011; 6:10 AM ET
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The pattern through next week will bring yards of snow to the high country in the Northwest. (OKsana Perkins /

The train of storms will deliver a foot of rain in some coastal areas but yards of snow to much of the high country.

The northern Pacific storm track will shift southward into the new year sending multiple heavy precipitation and wind events into the Northwest.

The first storm, albeit relatively weak, will push through the Northwest United States Thursday night/Friday. A second storm will roll in over Christmas weekend.

The first couple of storms through Christmas will deliver snow down to pass levels in Washington and northern Oregon and will impact travel through these vital east-west arteries as a result.

As we progress through next week, the storms will become stronger and warmer.

The stronger storms next week will pack rounds of powerful and potentially damaging winds, raising the risk of downed trees and power lines in the I-5 corridor.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "The combination of a strong jet stream and the alignment of surface winds will bring episodes of strong winds next week."

The ongoing rainfall and rising snow levels next week will bring a progressively greater potential for flash flooding and mudslides in lower elevations and a heightened threat of avalanches in the high country.

The pattern is not favorable for snow in Seattle and Portland.

"A flow off the Pacific rather than from the colder inland areas should prevent snow in the pattern at sea level cities," Anderson said.

The first few storms have the potential to deliver substantial snow to inland areas such as Spokane and Pendleton. Later next week, the warmer pattern should switch precipitation away from snow and more to rain for these lower elevation inland areas.

Bouts of heavy snow and gusty wind will reach into the Bitterroots and northern Rockies as well along I-90.


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