Approaching Storm Could Bring Strongest Winds of Year, Possible Blizzard Conditions for Snoqualmie Pass

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** Updated 12/16/12, 11:30AM:  Looks like the storm is tracking further to the south, making this not a major wind event in the Seattle area – but a big one for SE Washington and NW Oregon.  However, the latest update now upped the winds in the foothills.  From Cliff Mass website:  “There will be a fairly major easterly wind event on the western foothills of the Cascades (Enumclaw, North Bend, you know what I mean).  Winds gusting to 60 mph+ tonight!” **

There’s a strong storm heading toward Western Washington.  Where it tracks as it makes landfall is critical for predicting damaging winds in our area.

Snoqualmie Valley residents are used to wind.  Needless to say, it takes big wind events to catch many locals attention.  It sounds like this storm is worth giving some attention.

KOMO News weather producer, Scott Sistek, is supposed to be on vacation, but showed up on Facebook to post about the approaching storm.

He said, “Models still consistent with around 973-976mb low making landfall in S. Vancouver Island early Monday AM.  This is classic windstorm track/strength. High Wind Watches remain in effect for all areas – gust to 60 around Seattle Metro possible…This is looking like a good punch and I’d at least be ready for power outages.”

The storm is predicted to begin hitting the coast tonight.  Scott says the strongest winds in the Seattle/ I-5 corridor should be around 7AM Monday, December 17th, and peak gusts should last about 3-4 hours.

There’s a lot of precipitation with this storm, too.  Snoqualmie Pass is predicted to get 1-3 feet of snow and experience blizzard-like conditions.  Highs in the Snoquamie Valley will struggle to break 40 degrees. Oh, and the tides are high so beach erosion is also predicted.

After the storm passes, temperatures are expected to remain chilly, with highs only in the mid-30’s.  Monday night into Tuesday will see a chance of snow in the valley as well.

Forecasters say this storm is NOT in the same class as the December 2006 storm that knocked valley power out for 5 days, but still could be a major wind event.  The forecast could still change, reducing winds,  if the storm tracks  slightly further south or north.

Only time will add certainty to this tricky wind storm forecast. But be warned – something is brewing offshore that has  the potential to bring down some trees and create power outages – and it’s definitely bringing LOTS of snow to the mountains!

Time to make sure our generator gas cans are filled and change the flashlight batteries.  Never hurts to be prepared.


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