First stormy day of the year heading our way Thursday

Satellite image shows approaching storm for Thursday. (KOMO Image)

Our stormiest day of the year so far is heading our way Thursday, but considering the rather tranquil start to the year, that's not saying a whole lot.

We're relatively dry to start Wednesday, but rain will be developing this evening and it'll be a rainy night. Highs will be around 50 with lows around 40 amid the steady rains.

Thursday will be fairly stormy, but looks like just below the thresholds for needing widespread advisories, although a few are in effect. A moderately potent low center will approach the coast Thursday morning, then begin to weaken as it swings through northwestern Washington into the far North Sound interior. The center pressure wasn't super strong to begin with and with it weakening as it goes inland, we're not expecting a major -- or even moderate wind storm.

The storm does look to have just enough oompf to reach minimal Wind Advisory criteria on the central and southern Coast, and thus one has been issued from noon Thursday to midnight Friday morning for southerly winds of 20-35 mph, gusting to 45 mph.

With the track coming into Northwestern Washington, areas north of Everett will are only expected to gust around 20-35 mph. For the Puget Sound region, you're on the "windy" side of the storm but gusts are expected to be more solidly in the 30-35 mph range with maybe an isolated gust to 40-45 mph near the shorelines -- not really enough to trigger an advisory. If the storm drifts a little farther north than currently tracked, the North Sound would bump up into the 30-35/maybe 40 mph gust range, but still not enough to be concerned about. Bottom line: It'll be windy tomorrow, but not something that is expected to cause any impacts. Carry on...

Rainfall amounts Thursday are pegged to be about 0.75-1.00" in the lowlands -- a soaking wet day for sure, but again, something we can easily handle. The greatest impact will likely just be extended morning and evening commutes because...rain. Snow levels won't be too high and thus rivers should be able to handle this amount of rain. The Skokomish and White Rivers may nudge up close to flood stage, and rivers from King County south will run pretty high, but so far, no Flood Watches have been posted.

Speaking of snow levels, probably the greatest impact from this storm will be mountain travel. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the Cascades, including the passes, from 10 p.m. Wednesday through 10 p.m Thursday for as much as 10-20 inches of snow as snow levels hang around 2,500-3,500 feet. (About 1/3 of that snow will fall late Wednesday night/early pre-dawn Thursday morning, then 2/3rd the rest of the snow during the day in Thursday.)

The storm drifts away late Thursday night and we'll see some scattered showers Friday with highs in the upper 40s. A dry weekend is on tap to wring out a bit -- partly sunny skies on both Saturday and Sunday with highs around 50 before wetter weather returns next week.

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