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Stormy Pattern to Return to Pacific Northwest

Rain will return to coast; snow will strike Washington, Oregon Cascades.


After a series of mainly dry days across the Pacific Northwest to end January and begin the new month, a much stormier weather pattern is expected to return by midweek.

Rain will return to many coastal locations, while additional snow piles up in the Washington and Oregon Cascades.

While dry weather was the rule across cities such as Seattle, Portland, Wenatchee and Spokane the last three days, residents weren't able to enjoy it all that much.

That is due to the large ridge of high pressure which built into the West. This feature caused moisture in the lower part of the atmosphere to become trapped at the surface. This moisture combined with light winds led to widespread dense fog across most of the interior valleys of the Pacific Northwest.

Not only was fog a problem, but many places experienced temperatures that were stuck below freezing during the duration of the fog.

Each of the last three days, Seattle, Portland, Spokane and others were stuck in fog which reduced visibilities to below one-eighth of a mile at times.

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This foggy pattern will finally change, but not toward the better as a large dip in the jet stream approaches the Pacific Northwest by Tuesday.

At the surface, a cold front will move onshore late in the day Tuesday into Tuesday night, sparking rain showers for Seattle, Portland and Eugene, while producing several inches of snow in the Cascades.

After a round of lighter rain and snow during the day Wednesday, another system is poised to plow into the area Wednesday night into Thursday with more rain and mountain snow.

This second storm is expected to make even more progress inland across the West, as it dives southeastward through California and into the Great Basin.

Rain will return to places such as San Francisco, Sacramento, and even parts of the San Joaquin Valley by Thursday night.

Along with the rain, snow will accumulate in the northern Sierra, creating another bout of difficult travel along Interstate 80 near Donner Pass.

It doesn't appear that the storminess will last all that long this time around with another zone of high pressure expected to build into the West by next weekend.

Keep checking back with AccuWeather.com as we continue to monitor the changes in the weather pattern and don't forget to click over to our Spring Forecast.

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