Atmospheric River Brings New Flood Risks To Puget Sound Next Week

Lucas Combos,Patch Staff

Posted Thu, Mar 10, 2022 at 11:55 am PT|Updated Thu, Mar 10, 2022 at 4:39 pm PTReplies (2)

The last atmospheric river brought many area rivers to their flood stages, impacting several low-lying areas and roadways. (Shutterstock/Ian Dewar Photography)

SEATTLE — Meteorologists are monitoring an upcoming streak of wet weather, which could dump several inches of rain over Western Washington between Saturday and Tuesday. While Friday will be cloudy, widespread precipitation is not expected to pick up until Saturday afternoon, kicking off a series of systems lasting into the middle of next week.

The National Weather Service's Seattle office said Western Washington can expect a "prolonged period of wet and active weather," capped by an atmospheric river event that could push rivers to various flood stages, impacting low-lying roadways and other areas with poor drainage.

On the upside, forecasters expect the incoming atmospheric river will be less intense than the last, which brought major flooding along waterways like the Snoqualmie River. However, with a good amount of rain still expected, flood-prone areas should prepare for some impacts.

"Despite the weaker parameters at this time, area rivers will respond, with the most responsive rivers (i.e. the Skokomish) likely reaching flood stage as at least 3 to 6 inches of rain occurs from Saturday night through Monday night," wrote Justin Pullin, a lead forecaster at NWS Seattle. "The active and wet pattern will persist through much of next week...with progressive frontal systems bringing quick shots of rain and mountain snow to the region."

(NWS Seattle)

For the Cascades, the latest forecasts show up to a foot of new snow falling over Snoqualmie Pass between Saturday and Sunday, with up to 18 inches possible at Stevens Pass.

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(NWS Seattle)

There is also some good news for temperatures, which are on track to rebound to their seasonal normals after a recent chillier trend. In what may have been the last freeze of the season, lows dipped into the upper 20s for some communities Thursday morning.

Looking ahead, every day in the forecast shows highs in the low 50s with lows ranging from the low to mid-40s. More precise details on the timing and amount of rainfall, and updates on evolving flood risks, will be shared in the days to come.

Here is the five-day weather outlook for the Seattle area:

  • Friday: 51°/40° (Cloudy)
  • Saturday: 51°/43° (Rain)
  • Sunday: 51°/45° (Rain)
  • Monday: 51°/46° (Rain)
  • Tuesday: 52°/42° (Rain)
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