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Weather Eye: Get raincoat, boots; you’ll need them

The rains are upon us and despite perhaps a brief slowdown today, at times it will pick up tonight and Friday. As of Wednesday afternoon, forecast models had 4-8 inches of rain along the coast and Coast Range and 3-5 inches over us here in Clark County. Our foothills to the east could get 8-10 inches of rain. All this in less than a three-day period.

Some areas of the Coast Range and Cascades in Southwest Washington could get over a foot of rain before the water faucet shuts off later on Saturday. As you can see, if this materializes, expect streams and creeks to rise to bank-full.

We certainly need the rainfall, but not all at once. An easterly flow of air kept us cool Wednesday while the rains began along the coast. Some snow is forecast to fall heavy at times in the mountains before snow levels rise above 6,000 feet. We’ll see how that pans out.

Wednesday, the National Weather Service had high wind watches for the coast and flood watches just about everywhere else. Rivers are low but rapid rises could cause the Grays River to reach flood stage. Especially with upwards of 10 inches of rain expected in the Willapa Hills.

Friday still looks like a day to stay indoors; it will be wetter than wet. The good news is after this atmospheric river gets through the region we dry out in time for Christmas. So, travel plans look much better next week.

Freezing levels will lower but moisture will be limited. Christmas Eve should be cool with highs in the low 40s, dropping into the 30s after dark. Christmas Day may be cool and dry as well. A few models show a weak weather system trying to move through with low snow levels in the foothills. We’ll look at that Sunday.

Will we break any rainfall records? Possible around the Pacific Northwest; Vancouver would need over 3 inches of rain in a single day to approach record territory.


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