A dark and stormy night: Wind Advisories posted for much of Western Washington

SEATTLE -- They say March comes in like a lion, but the lion has apparently saved one last "roar" for the middle of the month.

A storm pushing through the region Thursday will bring a round of gusty winds overnight Thursday into early Friday morning.

Wind Advisories are in effect for much of Western Washington, including the greater Seattle/Puget Sound region from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday for southwesterly winds gusting as high as 40-50 mph. The greatest gusts are expected near the shorelines.

Those wind speeds are rather routine for winter windstorms, but could still be strong enough to break branches and cause scattered power outages.

Forecast charts show about a 1002 to 1003mb low pressure center weakening a bit as it moves into Vancouver Island around 1 a.m., with winds picking up in the I-5 corridor around 4 a.m. and lasting through the morning commute. A low greater than 1000 milibars is typically considered fairly weak and normally isn't noteworthy -- it's actually not all that far lower than standard sea level pressure of 1012. But there is stronger high pressure in southern Oregon and northern California, providing enough of a relative pressure difference to cause some strong winds around here.

And the storm gets extra nuisance points for the strong winds coming during a Friday morning commute. But overall, not going to be much of a storm to pen novels off or anything.

Winds will taper off once we get toward midday and it's all over by the afternoon as that higher pressure moves into Western Washington. (I will say if you're sensitive to changes in pressure, expect quite a jump in pressure through the day.) Forecast models actually show fairly calm winds by the evening commute.

This storm will bring some mountain snow as it approaches -- a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday for as much as 4-12 inches of new snow - highest amounts at Stevens Pass. But this incoming storm is quite mild and snow levels will rise well above pass level Thursday night and Friday morning.

Snow levels will drop back down to 2,000 feet by Friday night for more snow showers, but starting Saturday, much warmer air will move into the region and snow levels are expected to stay above pass level for much of the week.

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