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Storm hitting northwestern US poses travel disruptions into Friday

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
February 16, 2017, 4:08:59 AM EST

    A storm will bring renewed travel problems related to drenching rain, ice and snow into Friday.

    The risk of flooding, mudslides and avalanches will grow as well. The storm will also pack enough wind to knock down some trees, which can lead to sporadic power outages.

    The Pacific river of moisture will mainly target Washington to Northern California through Thursday then eye Southern California on Friday into Saturday.

    static NW Thursday

    "Enough rain will fall from the western, lower slopes of the Cascades and northern Sierra Nevada to the Pacific coast to cause not only urban flooding, but also the potential for stream flooding," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. "This includes the short-run rivers that flow from intermediate elevations of the Cascades to the coast."

    Unlike past storms this winter, Seattle and Portland will not be in the threat area for snow and ice. However, temperatures will remain below freezing during the first part of the storm from the higher elevations of the Cascades to parts of northern Rockies.

    “While most of the valley areas will have mainly rain, areas of freezing rain and sleet will affect parts of central Washington, including Snoqualmie Pass,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun.

    Travel along portions of interstates 15, 82, 84 and 90 could be slippery and dangerous.

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    Following a period of temperatures above freezing over the passes, snow levels will lower across the Cascades and northern Sierra Nevada from Thursday to Friday.

    Cali storm static 5am

    By Friday, much of the moisture will have left the region, so that only sporadic snow showers will remain over the mountains in the region with rain showers at sea level along the coast.

    During Friday, the second storm in the series will target Southern California with heavy rain.

    "The storm from Friday to Saturday has the potential to be the biggest of the winter in terms of rainfall and impact to much of Southern California," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jim Andrews.

    Cali flood static 5am

    Following very little rain and mountain snow over the Northwest on Saturday, storms will begin to ramp up and take aim at the region later this weekend into next week.

    The resurgence of wet weather could pose a new round of problems for crews repairing a damaged emergency spillway at the dam at Lake Oroville north of Sacramento, California.

    Any rain this week and next will increase the flow of water into the lake and threaten to hinder efforts to manage the crisis.

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