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Washington storms dump snow on mountain passes; rain, wind continues

(WSDOT)

It started as a “parade of storms,” then evolved into a “train of storms” through December as wind and rain continued through Western Washington. Though if you asked the National Weather Service on Tuesday morning, the weather has gone full Led Zeppelin.

The weather service tweeted a series of Led Zeppelin songs to get the point across Tuesday morning. The stairway of storms has step-by-step dropped rain, snow, and wind on Western Washington over the past week. The NWS says to expect more rain that’s “heavy at times.”

“We’ve had a lot of rain since midnight, some spots half an inch to 3/4 of an inch,” said KIRO 7 meteorologist Nick Allard.

“It will stay wet until the back edge of the cold front pushes through,” he said. “Basically, expect rain through the morning commute tapering off to showers.”

RELATED: Windstorm cleanup ramps up Monday

Power outages in the region were minimal Tuesday morning, with Seattle City Light reporting a handful of outages, and Puget Sound Energy reporting around 1,800 customers without power between Ferndale and Olympia.

Check up-to-date power outage information:
Seattle City Light
Puget Sound Energy
Snohomish County PUD
Mason County PUD

Showers will linger through Wednesday, with the next storm system arriving Wednesday night. Wind will continue to hit the region on Thursday, and will be strongest at the coast and north interior. The NWS says to expect tree damage and power outages in the meantime.

Rain will come and go from Friday through the weekend.

A tornado touches down in Kitsap County

The National Weather Service reports that a tornado touched down south of Port Orchard Wednesday afternoon right before 2 p.m.

The extent of the damage is unclear — the NWS will not be able to survey the area until Wednesday night, and will be sending a team Thursday morning.

KIRO 7 reports that a review of Doppler radar data suggest debris (leaves, other litter) was lofted at least 6,000 feet into the atmosphere after the touchdown near the Bethel community.

The spinup was so brief as to be down and up and gone before a warning could be issued.

Snow

I-90 between North Bend and Ellensburg was shut down Tuesday morning as snowy conditions made it difficult to pass. Slick roads and multiple spin outs prompted the shutdown. The road reopened by 10:50 a.m.

Chains are required on all vehicles (except four and all-wheel drive vehicles) on Stevens Pass, and traction tires are advised for White Pass.

There is a Winter Storm Warning for the North Cascades (Whatcom and Skagit Counties) above 3,000 feet until 10 p.m. Tuesday. The storm could bring up to 21 inches of new snow by Tuesday night.

A Weather Advisory is in effect for King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Lewis Counties for above 3,000 feet until 10 p.m. Tuesday. Another 15 inches of snow is expected during this time.

Allard said that more snow is on its way to the Cascade Mountains, dropping 10-15 inches on top of what has already blanketed the region.

“Snow is very impressive in the Cascades,” Allard said. “We’ve already had about 9-12 inches from Snoqualmie to Baker.”

24-hour snow totals for the state, as of 12 p.m. Wednesday:

Paradise: 18 inches
White Pass: 16.3 inches
Mt. Baker: 14 inches
Crystal Mountain Ski: 14 inches
Stevens Pass: 13 inches
Washington Pass: 11.3 inches

Wind

Wind that blasted the region will continue over Tuesday. As of Monday evening, wind was gusting up to 62 mph at Destruction Island, and 56 mph in Ferndale.  White Pass reported gusts up to 87 mph before the night was through.

The series of rainy and windy weather systems is expected to continue until Dec. 23.

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