Flood Watches issued as heavy rains head our way

SEATTLE -- Technically, winter still has 10 more days left in its tank and it's gearing up a parting shot.

Unfortunately, for skiers and snow fans it's probably not what you were hoping for.

No snow in the forecast -- instead it's a late-season visit from our old friend, the Pineapple Express. A plume of tropical moisture from the Hawaii area is being carried into Washington and British Columbia this week and essentially stall over the area, making for a good three-four days of rainy weather.

For the lowlands, it just likely means a whole lot of brake lights on your commutes this week and perhaps and an extra dose of hair gel. But up in the mountains, where snow levels are expected to be around 6,000 feet, it's enough rain that might at least get rivers running near the top of their banks, if not over.

Forecast models indicate anywhere from 4-7 inches of rain in the North Cascades and Olympics, with lesser amounts in the central Cascades (about 1-2.5 inches) and even less in the Southern Cascades.

Flood Watches are now in effect for all rivers that flow off the Olympic Mountains and in King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties.

For specific rivers, the greatest threat of reaching flood stage are the Bogachiel, Skokomish, Snoqualmie, Tolt and Stillaguamish.

In the Puget Sound area, the Olympic Rain Shadow might lend an assist and keep the week's rainfall to about a half inch or so.

Aside from the rain, it might actually feel like spring has not only started, but has been around for a while. Warm, tropical air will filter into the region, pushing daytime temperatures well into the 50s -- and perhaps low 60s with overnight temperatures barely getting below 50.

The pattern begins to shift on Friday as the main front moves inland and cooler air starts to return. Rain will finally taper off to showers on Friday and by the weekend, highs will drop back to near 50 amid scattered showers. Long range models show tranquil weather for winter's finale as she hands the reigns over to spring just after 4 a.m. on Wednesday.