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Next storm to drop rapidly accumulating snow close to Seattle

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 12/4/2021 Jessica Storm

A potent storm is set to approach the rain-weary Northwest early next week, dumping rain and snow on the region. This can be both hazardous and helpful as the West suffers from extreme drought and the far Northwest remains waterlogged from previous storms.

"After having over 10 inches of rain during the month of November, yet another storm is set to bring more rain to Seattle Sunday night into Monday," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.

The Emerald City reported 10.26 inches of precipitation throughout the eleventh month of 2021 thanks to rain falling on every day of the month except three. This was actually a small amount compared to some of its northern neighbors, like Abbotsford, British Columbia, which recorded about twice that much in the same time period.

Another storm is on the way to the northwestern United States, packing chilly, rainy weather. Fortunately for some, the storm track will shift southward, allowing storms to spare places in Canada that had disastrous flooding, like Abbotsford. This storm will likely restrain from drenching the Northwest until late in the weekend.

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"The rain should hold off until later Sunday night, so dry conditions are expected Sunday afternoon as the Seattle Seahawks host the San Francisco 49ers," said Pydynowski. Temperatures for the game will be in the lower 40s, already several degrees below average, so fans may want to add an extra layer if the roof remains open.

When the storm does arrive that evening, rain could become steadier throughout the night, and by the time commuters begin getting ready for the workweek, early morning low temperatures could dip into the middle 30s.

Despite the fact that the Pacific Northwest of the United States hasn't been hit nearly as hard by landslides and flooding as its Canadian counterpart by past storms, it is possible for the rain to aggravate saturated soil conditions and cause streams to rise once again in northwestern Washington, allowing for the returning risk of flooding and mudslides.

"This next storm could bring another 0.50 to 1.00 inch of rain to Seattle, along with lowering snow levels with colder air in place," Pydynowski said, adding that some wet snowflakes could mix in with the rain on Sunday night, with some accumulating snow possible in the higher hills east of the city above 1,000 feet.

Snow levels are expected to quickly fall below pass level in the Cascades on Sunday night, allowing for an initial rapid accumulation. Untreated slushy and wet areas are anticipated to freeze up, causing hazardous conditions on the road.

After the storm crosses western Washington state, it is forecast to progress eastward over the Wasatch Range to the central Rockies early in the week, according to the AccuWeather long-range forecasters.

Areas in the Bitterroots, Oregon and western Montana could also have falling freezing levels down to 1,000 feet, causing travel disruptions in the passes. To the south, however, levels won't fall quite so low and are expected to be over 5,000 feet in the lower Wasatch Range and central Rockies.

Welcome snow could fall across the Intermountain West, along with parts of the Southwest, including parts of New Mexico and Arizona, rescuing ski resorts that took a hit from the recent warm rainstorms.

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"Though for much of the region from Montana down to Oregon and down to the Great Basin, we are still in an exceptional drought," said AccuWeather On-Air Meteorologist Kevin Coskren.

While some of this precipitation could help out the West, it has a dangerous side.

"Any time there are fluctuating snow levels, a heavy amount of snow and varying snow density in the Cascades, there is an increased risk of avalanches with the steep terrain," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

There is a slight chance that Denver could break its persistent drought of snow. The Mile High City has not received any measurable snow since April 21, which would make this the latest on record that snow of at least 0.1 of an inch or greater has not been measured, according to the National Weather Service office in Boulder, Colorado.

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