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First storm of the rainy season will be wet and wild

Tuesday’s storm will be followed by another big blow Wednesday into Thursday, with similar amounts of wind and rain, according to forecasters.
Tuesday’s storm will be followed by another big blow Wednesday into Thursday, with similar amounts of wind and rain, according to forecasters. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

A trio of wet and windy storms are headed toward Western Washington this week and Whatcom County could get the worst of their one-two punch of wind and rain, forecasters said.

“It’s gonna be a really wet day (Tuesday),” said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle. Burg said the storms are fairly typical of fall weather in the Puget Sound region.

“It’s the first big blow of the season,” he said.

First of the storms was due to arrive Monday afternoon, with the heaviest winds and rain late Monday and on Tuesday, Burg said. He said winds of 20 to 30 mph are possible, with gusts to 40 mph.

National Weather Service meteorologists discussed the storm in a morning online briefing Monday.

Because it’s the first storm of the season, Burg said the storm could cause power outages by blowing down limbs weakened over the summer. Urban flooding is possible as leaves torn from trees gather in gutters and clog storm drains, he added.

No high-wind warnings had been issued as of Monday afternoon.

Rainfall in the Whatcom County lowlands could be 1 to 3 inches from the first storm, with 4 to 6 inches in the North Cascades foothills and up to 7 inches in the mountains, he said. Snow is expected above 7,000 feet.

Tuesday’s storm will be followed by another big blow Wednesday into Thursday, with similar amounts of wind and rain, according to the forecast. A third storm is expected on the weekend, but it’s still too far out for specific forecasts.

Rivers such as the Nooksack and Skagit are running low but soon could become swollen with runoff, posing a flood hazard later in the week, Burg said.

Because the storms are blowing in from the southwest, daytime temperatures should remain in the mid-50s, with overnight lows in the upper 40s.

Bellingham has received 1.23 inches of rain so far this month –most of it came Friday, when 0.69 inches fell at Bellingham International Airport. That’s far below the normal October rainfall of 3.68 inches.

In October 2016, 7.40 inches was recorded, but it was the third wettest October on record, Burg said.

Bellingham’s wettest October was in 2003, when 8.29 inches fell, he said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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