Get ready to get wet.
The rain showers that moved into Cowlitz County and Southwest Washington late Thursday afternoon were setting a damp tone for a weekend that Weather Service forecasters say could bring record late September rainfall to the area.
“Oh, it’s going to be a big one,” said Jeremiah Pyle, a meteorologist with the Weather Service office in Portland. “By Monday morning, Longview and Kelso could be looking at 5 or 6 inches of total rainfall. There won’t be many gaps, either. Once the real heavy stuff moves in on Saturday afternoon, it should be pretty much nonstop.”
Up to 10 inches of rain could fall in the western slopes of the Cascade Range of Southwest Washington. Forecasters are calling flow of tropical moisture into the region an “atmospheric river event,” and say the unusually strong rain event an offshoot of Typhoon Pabuk.
All area rivers are expected to rise but not hit flood stage, though the Weather Service said the Grays River at Rosburg will bear close watching.
The forecast prompted state transportation officials to postpone this weekend’s closure of West Side Highway.The closure, which had been scheduled from early Saturday morning through early Monday morning, was intended to allow crews to dig up and replace the saturated roadbed under the highway between Beacon Hill Drive and Solomon Road in Lexington. The work will be rescheduled.
The forecast by day:
- Friday: Chance of rain 100 percent. Rainfall totals should be one-half to three-quarters of an inch during the day with another three-quarters of an inch to one inch falling overnight.
- Saturday: Chance of rain 100 percent. New precipitation from one to two inches possible. Increasing winds with gusts up to 25 mph.
- Sunday: Less windy, chance of rain 90 percent.
- Monday: Showers predicted for Monday and Monday night with no percentages or predicted totals available.
There’s also “rain” or “chance of showers” in the extended forecasts for next Tuesday and Wednesday,
Pyle expects the “best” of the weekend days to be today and also held out some hope for Saturday morning. “This is the kind of warm, tropical rain system we usually see in November or December, where it only brings snow to very highest elevations” Pyle said. “Daytime highs should stay in the 60s throughout the period. We see a lot of these, but not usually in September. Having this happen now is really unusual.”