Storms to pound northwestern US with rain, mountain snow through the week

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
December 09, 2018, 6:56:33 PM EST


After a relatively quiet start to December, storms will roll through the northwestern United States on a regular basis through this week.

Portland, Oregon, and Seattle typically receive around 1.35 inches of rain during the first seven days of December, but only picked up 4 and 10 percent of this amount, respectively.

As a stormy pattern sets up over the Pacific Northwest this week, these cities should quickly catch up on their December rainfall deficits.

The first storm will bring mainly a nuisance rain to the Interstate-5 corridor into Sunday night.

NW storm 12.9 AM


However, there can be travel problems over I-90’s Snoqualmie Pass, where several inches of snow can create slick conditions for motorists.

The eastern slopes of the Cascades and part of the Columbia River basin could be at risk for a bit of ice on Sunday night that can also create slick spots, especially on elevated surfaces.

Outside of the far northwestern corner of the state, California will be spared from this storm.

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“A stronger system will push into the Pacific Northwest and Northern California by midweek with rain and heavy mountain snow,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston said.

This storm is likely to pack more of a punch in terms of rain, snow and wind.

Strong coastal winds will accompany the storm’s push onshore, according to Boston.

The winds may be strong enough to cause localized tree damage.

Coastal areas will also get soaked with rain, while the Cascades and northern Rockies receive a healthy dose of snow from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Early week 12.9 AM


The current snowpack in the Washington Cascades is well below normal for this time of year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

While the snowfall will be good news for winter sports enthusiasts and ski resorts, it can create travel difficulties over the mountain passes.

A slick covering of snow can even fall over I-5’s Siskiyou Summit in Oregon on Tuesday night.

Yet another system is expected to come ashore late this week.

No one storm through the week is expected to bring enough rain to trigger widespread flooding problems in the Pacific Northwest.

In fact, the overall impact on the stormier pattern in the region will likely be a beneficial one, as Washington and Oregon continue to deal with drought conditions.

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