Fall’s First Storm Is On The Way: Forecast For Puget Sound

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SEATTLE — It may be a few weeks late, but the first taste of fall is finally on the horizon for the Seattle area. Unlike last weekend, forecasters expect the next one to welcome the first storm of the season, bringing much-needed rain and clearing smoke as temperatures dip below 60 degrees.

Seattle has recorded less than a half-inch of rain in more than 100 days, and the latest forecast calls for the incoming storm system to easily exceed that total between Friday morning and Sunday evening, with well over an inch due in the Cascade foothills.

The welcome change to seasonal weather follows a historic weekend in Puget Sound, where afternoon temperatures reached 88 degrees Sunday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, making it the second day of hottest October in 130 years of records and hottest on record at end of season.

Puget Sound also recorded its warmest first half of October, with average highs near 73 degrees, more than 9 degrees above normal.

Highs were already in double digits on Monday and are expected to remain in the upper 60s for most of the work week. The National Weather Service expects temperatures to drop into the 50s on Friday and through the weekend.

The rain is expected to resume by Friday evening and could dump an inch around Everett through Sunday, with Seattle picking up nearly three-quarters of an inch. Communities in North Bend and the foothills could see more than double.

Typically for a fall storm, forecasters expect wind to present a problem in some areas, especially with so many leaves lingering on trees in the area.

“The models point to a wetter, stronger solution for this system,” Dana Felton, senior meteorologist at NWS Seattle, said in a forecast Monday. “Between the little humidity of the last few months and the leaves still on the trees, the windy and possibly windy conditions for part of the region on Friday could have impacts. Possible post-frontal convergence zone over Snohomish and King County behind the front from Friday evening through Saturday with the convergence zone extending into the central cascades.

As cooler air moves behind the front, forecasters expect the snow level to drop to around 4,000 feet, which could bring the first few inches of snow to the higher elevations of the mountain passes.

Unfortunately, smoke from several fires burning in the area looks likely to linger until the weekend pattern changes, and an air quality alert has been extended until Thursday afternoon. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency expects air quality to deteriorate Tuesday before returning to the moderate range by midweek.

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