Rain, snow and wind targets western US this week
AccuWeather meteorologists say the stormy weather pattern is likely to bring a host of travel disruptions across the western part of the country.
All modes of weather, including snow, are forecast to spread across the West this week, AccuWeather forecasters say.
The first of two major storms to cross the western U.S. began on Sunday. Rain and snow showers moved across Oregon and Northern California and ushered in a wave of colder conditions; cold enough to allow for snow.
Nearly 20 inches of snow was reported near White River Snow Park in Oregon early Sunday morning. Farther to the east, 7 inches of snow was measured near Cooke City, Montana.
Into Tuesday, rain and snow will continued to expand inland. In addition to the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada mountains, the higher peaks of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nevada all received snow.
Through this week, even though snow won't fall at the lowest elevations, temperatures will be well below normal. Seattle only manage to climb to 55 F on Monday, temperatures more typical of early November. The average high in the Emerald City in early May is 65 F.
Unfortunately, no precipitation is in the offing for locations farther south, including Southern California or other locations in the Southwest, where both a short-term and long-term drought continues. Instead, the storm will produce gusty winds across this region of the U.S.
These gusty winds could create a number of hazards, including making for dangerous cross-winds for motorists driving at higher speeds on highways such as Interstate 40 and Interstate 70.
"The strong winds, combined with the dry air in drought-stricken areas will make for an elevated fire threat even into Wednesday and Thursday," explained LoBiondo.
The locations at risk, from southern Nevada to western Texas and Oklahoma, are not only unlikely to see any precipitation with the early week storm, but are also in a state of severe, extreme or exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Winds are forecast to subside and wet weather is expected to shift into the center of the country late on Tuesday, allowing for a calmer weather day. However, a second storm is forecast to sweep through the region again midweek.
This second storm is anticipated to dive southward across California early on Wednesday before turning northeastward and trekking through the Rockies into Thursday.
With cooler air in place across much of the region following the early week storm, snow will be able to make it farther south.
Wet weather impacting areas farther south is likely to also put a small dent on the drought conditions in those areas as well. Any locations that remain dry could instead face another day of increased fire risk.
For the remainder of the week, high pressure is forecast to set up in the Southwest, bringing dry conditions, and likely a surge of warmth, for most across the western U.S.
Correction: This story previously misspelled the name of a town in Washington. It is Snoqualmie, Washington, not Snowqualmie.
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