Here we go again: Second storm this weekend brings potential for river flooding

Satellite image from Friday morning showing the storm approaching for this weekend.

SEATTLE -- Think of Friday as Mother Nature's version of halftime.

Fresh off two days of heavy rains and blustery winds, Friday will provide a bit of a relative break before we slosh through another soggy two day period -- only this time, it's on the weekend, and could be the trigger that pushes some rivers over their banks.

Lighter rain will develop Saturday morning, with rain increasing in intensity from the south as the day progresses as the potent warm front swings up from Oregon. Chalk up Saturday afternoon, evening and night as another drenching period.

This time around, it appears this version of our "atmospheric river" will focus its most intense rainfall in the Central and Southern Cascades, where forecast charts are indicating as much as 4-7 inches of rain. The Olympics and Cascades are expecting less at this point -- about 2-4 inches -- but rivers are still running high from the midweek storm and a small shift in where the front is aiming could bring heavier rains to the north.

Thus, a Flood Watch remains in effect for all rivers in Western Washington, with greatest risk along rivers south of Stevens Pass. Most rivers, if they flood, are expected to remain in the minor category but a few rivers could reach moderate flood stage, especially those in the southern and central Cascades.

In the lowlands, weekend rainfall totals are expected to reach 2-3 inches or more from about Olympia southward, with 1-2 inches likely in the Seattle area and points north. This again could lead to small stream flooding and localized urban flooding, especially near any clogged storm drains.

Wind will also be noticeable, with gusts to 30-45 mph, especially Saturday evening and night. One forecast model -- the Euro -- does paint some gusts up to 50 mph in the Central and South Sound late Saturday evening into early Saturday night, so that will bear watching. The North Sound -- usually home to the stronger winds during wind storms -- looks like that will not be the case as long as that front mainly hangs out around central and southern Washington and at this point looks to be more in the 20-35 mph range gusts.

Heavy rains will linger into early Sunday then begin to taper back to scattered showers as the winds ease down. Showers will then slowly decrease through the day, with most showers done by Sunday night -- essentially when the whistle blows and this stormy period is over.

Next week kicks off with sunshine, believe it or not, with sunny skies both Monday and Tuesday after some areas of morning fog burns off. Highs will eventually break into the low 60s. There's a chance of some light rain again on Wednesday but followed up by another pleasant day on Thursday.

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