Updated Friday at 11:20 p.m.
It's happening! The storm season has begun, and the first big front of the (almost) fall season is pushing into Western Washington. We began our morning with scattered light rain, but the precipitation intensified as a strong (atmospheric river style) front moved in from the Pacific Friday evening. The heaviest rain fell along the I-5 corridor between 8 pm and midnight, making for soggy Friday night football games as the teams wrapped up their later quarters and headed home in the downpour.
Not only did the rain move through right on schedule, but so did the wind. Gusts of a whopping 50 to 65 mph were recorded on Camano and Whidbey Islands, and there was a lot of resulting tree damage and associated power outages in that vicinity thereafter. The wind gusted between 30 and 45 mph closer to the metro area, also leaving a series of downed trees and power lines in its wake, especially on the east side near Maple Valley and Covington. Again, these first wind storms are known as "Mother Nature's Tree Trimmers" due to their propensity to knock down the branches weakened over the summer, and our trees were even more susceptible than usual due to the extra-dry summer season this year.
The steady rain and gusty wind will taper off by dawn on Saturday, but don't let your guard down: the weekend will still be unsettled and stormy at times. While we'll see plentiful sunbreaks, we'll also contend with leftover heavy showers, some of which may contain thunder, lightning and hail. Outdoor activities and sports--from kids' soccer games to the Seahawks home opener--will have to work around the occasional round of inclement weather.
Naturally, things simmer down just in time for back to work and school on Monday, with highs back in the 70s in the September sunshine on Tuesday. The autumnal equinox occurs at 12:20 pm on Wednesday, marking fall's official arrival. To kick it off in "sweater weather" style, we'll have a chance for cooler rain back again as a new system approaches Wednesday evening.
In the meantime, take care on this stormy night!
Meteorologist Shannon O'Donnell
The KOMO 4-Cast Team
Today's Record Temperatures