Significant mountain snow tonight to Monday

What's good news for skiers is bad news for pass travelers: we're forecasting heavy mountain snow between tonight and Monday afternoon. 

Today marks a transition day between the sunshine Friday and the soaking rain Sunday. There will be spotty showers today, mostly over the mountains, North Coast, the Strait and from Snohomish County through the Canadian border. 

Highs this afternoon will reach the upper 40s to low 50s. Cloudy skies will blanket the area.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the Cascades above 1,500 feet in elevation for the risk of one to three feet of snow and gusts to 40 (possibly 45) mph. This alert is in effect from Sunday morning to Monday afternoon.

The Cascade passes will likely get between one and two feet of snow. Upwards of 30 inches (or more) could accumulate over some of the highest peaks. If you have the ability and luxury of doing so, I'd recommend adjusting your travel plans - either driving over the passes before or after this storm hits. If you do have to drive in these conditions, make sure you have an emergency kit, check WSDOT for updates/restrictions and ensure your car is prepared for the snow.

Winds will also be strong tomorrow. For most in the lowlands, gusts will range between 20-35 mph with isolated neighborhoods reaching 40 mph. Gusts to 45 mph are possible for the Cascades, the North Sound and Whidbey Island.

Here's a look at potential wind gusts Sunday afternoon. Don't focus on the exact numbers as much as the overall trend: 

In the lower elevations Sunday, rain will become widespread. However, there might be what some call a "donut hole" over Seattle and parts of the Kitsap Peninsula. This is due to the rain shadow effect from the westerly winds in the forecast tomorrow: as the air mass sinks coming off the Olympics, it dries out as it reaches Seattle.

Late Sunday into early Monday, there's a small chance for a brief, isolated and minor rain/snow mix in the lowlands of Western Washington. Right now, this doesn't look like a big deal because temperatures are too warm for most of the snow to stick. There's a similar chance for the same thing happening late Monday to early Tuesday. At most in very few cases, a light dusting of snow could accumulate on the grass and patio furniture.

There's yet another possibility for a spotty, minor rain/snow mix at times Thursday and Friday. 

Rounds of mountain snow remain in the forecast Wednesday and Thursday.

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Meteorologist Abby Acone
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