Wind, rain, high tide and low temperatures

Thousands of feet above sea level, snow is falling on the Olympics, the first flakes in a week that is forecast to see strong winds, high tides, heavy rain and temperatures that will plunge past freezing at the weekend.

According to meteorologists, the coast will experience the worst winds, although the presence of the ocean will hopefully spare us the worst of the cold.

“We have a fairly strong weather system, a cold front and a low pressure system offshore,” Matthew Cullen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said in a telephone interview. “This is probably the first storm system of the season that is like this.

Six different hazardous weather conditions will play out in the county starting Monday night, Grays Harbor Deputy Emergency Management Director Hannah Cleverly said. The first warning will be for strong winds lashing the coast, followed by areas further inland as blizzards hit mountains across the state.

“This series of events happening this week is really affecting all of Western Washington,” Cleverly said. “Western Washington will be affected by one or all of these conditions.”

First there will be the wind

Winds of 30 to 50 mph are expected, according to the NWS, with gusts up to 65 mph. Winds are expected to knock down trees and endanger power lines, according to the warning.

The primary risk to residents with the wind is wind-blown debris and power line damage, Cleverly said.

“This can damage property. This can damage the trees. That can hurt leadership,” Ian Cope, director of communications for the Grays Harbor Utilities District, said in an interview. “We are building the system to be strong. But the best system will still have problems with falling trees.”

He smartly encouraged people to be prepared for power outages, which could be a major consequence of strong winds. There may also be the potential for thunderstorms and hail, Cleverly said.

“Power outages would probably have the biggest impact,” Cleverly said. “We urge people to be prepared for potential power outages.”

Having flashlights and blankets on hand, charging other power sources ahead of time and minimizing the use of the refrigerator if the power goes out are all good practices, Cleverly said. The emergency management department is also very, very hard at encouraging people to be safe when using generators, Cleverly said.

“Don’t drag the generator into the garage and run an extension cord into your house,” he said Smartly. “Keep your generator well away from your house.”

A High Wind Warning is in effect Monday through Tuesday afternoon.

That’s the first day.

Thrash on the coast

In addition to strong winds, rough seas will appear on the coast, with the highest tides of the month expected to be accompanied by waves of 25 to 30 feet. Strong waves can cause coastal erosion, infrastructure damage and road flooding, Cullen said. The waves can also be deceptively strong or only seem strong, Cleverly said, and getting pulled out to sea is not an optimal way to spend a day.

“We urge people to stay off the beach. Waves are unpredictable,” said Chytře. “Especially for our coastal communities, stay off the beach and stay out of the danger zone.”

Along with the rain and possible flooding in the lowlands, Cleverly reminded drivers to avoid driving on flooded roads; many flood drownings come as a result of attempting risky journeys.

“With rain in the lowlands (there’s) a roar of water,” Cullen said. “Never drive on flooded roads.”

There may also be downed power lines or other debris under the murky waters.

A coastal flood warning is in effect Tuesday morning until afternoon, with a high surf warning in effect until Wednesday morning.

It’s the second day.

What survives must freeze

Temperatures may drop toward the end of the week, Cleverly said.

“It will go from wet and windy to cold and snowy later in the week,” Cope said. “I would say this is the first major event we’ve seen this year where we could see some kind of extended weather event affecting the system.”

Evening temperatures could reach into the low 20s, Cleverly said, though forecasters will have a better idea of ​​what to expect by the weekend.

“As we get into the rest of the week, cold temperatures will start coming in, below normal temperatures for the weekend.” There is a small percentage chance of snow on Thursday. On Friday, the probability increases,” Cleverly said. “At the end, as things start to warm up potentially, we could have the potential for freezing rain at the end of the weekend.”

Confidence in end-of-week conditions will firm up closer to the weekend, Cleverly said.

“Freezing rain can always stress power lines and tree branches,” Chytre said. “If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out. Stay at home. Play with your children in the snow.”

In the event of outages, the department monitors the situation and is ready to respond as residents request, Cleverly said.

“We are monitored throughout the week and on the weekend. We encourage people to sign up for our alerts,” Cleverly said. “It’s a way to be informed of the dangers that can affect you.”

Stay inside, stay safe

It’s always a good idea to stay indoors when the weather is bad, Clever said, not to put yourself at particular risk.

Grays Harbor PUD will post outages on its social media accounts, Cope said. The PUD can be contacted to report outages at 360-537-3721.

“Crews respond when tracks go down in good or bad weather,” Cope said. “Our crews go out to situations like this on a fairly regular basis. They are well trained and doing things to restore it as quickly as possible.”

A little common sense is all it takes to get through bad weather without a problem, Cleverly said.

“It’s the first event of the season. Dust off your emergency supplies,” Smart said. “Subscribe to Grays Harbor County’s emergency alerts. Be careful and stay safe.”

Contact senior reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or

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