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    Western US weather expert

    Big Northwest Storm Friday Night Into Saturday

    1/10/2014, 5:47:15 AM

    While the weather stays high and dry in the drought-plagued areas of central and Southern California for as far as the eye can see, one strong storm will move into the Northwest. While it will rain at times in the Northwest into tomorrow, the strong storm will arrive from later Friday afternoon and night into Saturday.

    This storm will bring everything a big winter storm usually does - heavy rain at the coast and to the western Cascades and Olympic Mountains, a period of strong winds and building high surf that causes dangerous conditions along the coast along with coastal flooding concerns.

    Here is what to expect.

    Heavy rain will spread inland later Friday and Friday night with the heaviest rain later Friday night into the first half of Saturday. Expect widespread 2-4 inches of rain from northwestern Oregon to northwestern Washington with local amounts in the Olympic Mountains and west-facing slopes of the Cascades getting 5-6 inches of rain. Snow levels will become quite high, rising to 5,000 to 6,500 feet. Farther south, rain amounts will be less, generally 1-2 inches in the rest of western Oregon. From the GFS here is total precipitation from Thursday morning to late in the day Saturday.

    Strong winds push ashore later Friday night into Saturday with winds along the coast rising to 30-60 mph with the I-5 corridor having 25- to 40-mph winds in Washington. It will be somewhat less windy farther south, but about 10 mph or so.

    The strong winds and large fetch across the Pacific will create building surf peaking Saturday afternoon and evening. From the Wave Watch III model, here are the forecast waves by Saturday evening; 20- to 30-foot breakers will probably survive to the portions of the Washington and northern Oregon beaches. Obviously, boating is highly discouraged this weekend.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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    Western US weather expert