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Posted at 12:54 PM ET, 11/23/2011

Pacific Northwest pounded by wet, windy storm


A pedestrian sips coffee under the protection of an umbrella in a steady rain and in view of the Pike Place Market Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson - AP)
A power-packed storm has smashed into the Pacific Northwest, carrying ashore flooding rain, hurricane-force wind gusts and heavy mountain snow.

University of Washington meteorologist and blogger Dr. Cliff Mass calls the storm ”extraordinary” and documents rainfall amounts as high as as 5-8 inches in the southern Cascades. The rain is leading to moderate to major flooding on some rivers. Flood advisories and warnings remain in effect in many areas.

From YouTube: The video, posted on the KOMO News website, shows salmon swimming across flooded Skokomish Valley Road in Mason County. The road is near Shelton, the westernmost city on Puget Sound, with its many meandering waterways.

AccuWeather reports both Seattle and Portland set daily rainfall records Tuesday, tallying 1.76 and 2.35 inches.

The other big deal has been the wind. Mass writes:

...we have had some amazing winds...including 97 mph at Mt. Hebo in the Oregon coastal mountains, 70 mph at Bellingham, 70-85 mph on the Cascade crests, and 60-70 mph gusts all along the Washington and Oregon coasts.

Snow, while heavy, has mainly been limited to higher elevations above 3500 feet due to a warm push of air with the storm. But wet snow falling on fluffy snow with “embedded weak layers” has led to an “extreme” avalanche risk according to Mass.

While the worst weather slides south of Washington and Oregon into northern California today and tonight, the region is bracing for another storm Thanksgiving day - slightly colder (lower snow levels) and less intense (less rain, lighter winds) than Tuesday’s.

The National Weather Service has issued a storm warning for the Washington coast Thursday for seas to 20 to 23 feet and winds from 40-50 mph, and gusts to near 60 mph. A high wind watch is in effect farther inland, with a winter storm watch for the west slopes of the central Cascades, where 8 to 12” of snow may fall above 2,000 feet.

By  |  12:54 PM ET, 11/23/2011

Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather

 
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