Updated Tuesday 5:50 a.m.
Ready for some weather whiplash? We're heading from cold, dry and quiet to warm, wet and windy, and won't be stopping in between the two extremes for very long.
After an ice-cold and quiet first half of January, the second half is looking decidedly more interesting. The jetstream is steering a lot of moisture back in our direction, and since these storms are rooted in the subtropics, they are quite a bit warmer than our usual mid-winter fare. Steady rain today and tomorrow will keep commuting soggy for the first time in a long time, and with highs in the low 50s along the I-5 corridor, we're certainly thawing out at sea level.
Over the passes, it's a different story. Several winter warnings are up for the Cascades and eastern Washington due to worries about heavy snow, avalanche danger, and particularly, hazardous freezing rain. Locations east of the Cascade crest and into Chelan, Wenatchee and Ellensburg could pick up a dangerous coating of an inch or more of ice between now and Wednesday evening. Not only do such conditions make driving very tricky, but the heavy accumulating ice can snap tree branches and power lines. Pass travel is going to be very difficult Tuesday and Wednesday as a combination of heavy snow, ice, sleet and rain fall over I-90, Highway 12, and US-2.
The atmospheric river winding over us up above will put pressure on our rivers down below. Waterways that feed out of the Olympics will rise extra quickly as 4 to 8" of rain fall over the higher terrain on the Peninsula.
Things finally settle down late in the week, with more garden-variety showers and sunbreaks by Thursday and Friday. Highs will drop back into the 40s in Seattle, which is where we usually sit in late January, and that will bring the snow level back to pass levels as well.
In the meantime, drive carefully--it's been awhile since we've had to drive in our famous rain!
Meteorologist Shannon O'Donnell
The KOMO4 Forecast Team
Today's Record Temperatures