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Western Washington windstorm warnings may be overblown

"NW Washington will get hammed by strong southeasterly winds ... for many hours," University of Washington Climatologist Cliff Mass says. (AP)

It didn’t take long for Western Washington’s next storm to start causing trouble, though not as much as some predicted.

University of Washington Climatologist Cliff Mass updated his storm prediction Thursday afternoon and said the winds won’t be as wild as previously thought.

“The latest observations along the coast show that the earlier forecast was profoundly in error,” Mass wrote in an updated blog post.

Current conditions for Western Washington

The National Weather Service, however, maintained its High Wind Warning for the region for a little while longer. It canceled the warning by 6 p.m. for several areas, including Bellevue, Bellingham, Everett, Olympia, Seattle, and Tacoma.

Western Washington was expected to get winds up to 40 MPH starting at 4 p.m. and ending by 8 p.m. Gusts of up to 60 MPH are possible.

Rain and snow ahead

In addition to the wind, the National Weather Service predicts the West Coast could get 10 to 15 inches of rain over the next 10 days.

And of course rain and stormy weather in the lowlands means potential snow in the mountains. Mass predicts “massive amounts” of snow over British Columbia and the north Cascades. There will be less snow accumulation in the southern Cascades because of relatively warm air.

But it’s good news for skiers and snowboarders. There could be a considerable amount added to the snowpack. That will help “guarantee” skiing this holiday season, according to Mass.

Stevens Pass ski resort has said it will open with limited lifts operating on Friday. Crystal Mountain opened before Thanksgiving, as did Mount Baker.

Washington has hardly had much time to recover since the last storm that knocked out power to more than 300,000 and killed two people.

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