Drenching rain, heavy snow and howling winds this week are battering the Northwest, the one part of the USA where dismal weather could disrupt Thanksgiving travel plans.
The storm began Monday, and "the wet and windy weather will persist through Wednesday as one system after another moves through the area," according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. As of late Monday, all of Washington state was under some weather warning.
The wild weather also is forecast to continue this week in Oregon, Northern California, Idaho and Montana. In Montana, blizzard warnings are in effect through today. While a brief break is possible on Thanksgiving Day, more bad weather should return by Friday. Heavy rain fell Monday in Seattle.
The weather service reported 1.49 inches by midday, breaking a 50-year-old record. The weather service warned of landslides in the Seattle area because of heavy rain. The storm has claimed at least one life so far: A hunter along the Oregon coast was killed when a tree fell on him. In Washington, a mudslide carried a tree into a Washington State Patrol trooper's car and another vehicle, causing both to start burning.
The trooper was uninjured and was able to free the driver of the other car, who was left with a sore neck. Up to 30 inches of snow is possible over the next couple of days in the Washington Cascades, according to the weather service. The heavy snow could lead to travel problems between western and eastern Washington, says Jay Albrecht, a weather service meteorologist in Seattle. He says the rain and low clouds could lead to flight delays for air travelers.
Flooding also is a concern: A forecast from the Northwest River Forecast Center shows several rivers at flood stage, particularly in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon, according to University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass. Winds were wild Monday. Naselle Ridge, Wash., measured a gust of 114 mph, AccuWeather reported, with 101 mph recorded at Megler, Wash., 98 mph at Yaquina Head, Ore.
The wind downed trees, caused structural damage and put thousands of people in the dark Monday, AccuWeather meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said. Storms aren't unusual in the Northwest this time of year. November usually is the wettest month in Seattle and Portland. Albrecht recounts an old Thanksgiving saying in Seattle: "If you have a turkey in the oven, the power will go out."
Doyle Rice USA TODAY