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Originally published February 21, 2013 at 9:28 PM | Page modified February 22, 2013 at 6:31 AM

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Heavy rain, Cascade snow to kick off weekend

A weather system will bring wind and rain to the Puget Sound area Friday and snow to the Cascades.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A wild, wet and windy Friday is in store for Western Washington, driven by a weather system that could bring an inch or two of rain in the lowlands and up to 2 feet of snow in the mountains by Saturday morning.

The storm could hit in time for the Friday morning commute.

“It will be kind of breezy all day and pick up as the day goes on,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Schneider.

Gusts in the Seattle area could reach 40 mph Friday, with sustained winds between 15 and
30 mph. On the coast, gusts of up to 50 mph are forecast.

Drivers headed over the Cascades Friday should expect difficult conditions and are advised to carry an extra flashlight, food, water and blankets in case of an emergency.

The snow level is expected be around 3,000 feet then dip below 1,500 feet Friday night. That could produce snow in some of the higher foothills, Schneider said. But, for the most part, there’s little chance of snow in the Puget Sound area, he said, as lows could stay in the upper 30s — a couple degrees higher than normal for this time of year.

The weather service also has issued an “avalanche warning,” saying backcountry travel is not recommended Friday in avalanche-prone areas on the western slopes of the Cascades.

Though a deep, midwinter snowpack has been relatively stable, according to the warning report, heavy snowfall, strong westerly winds and a gradual warming trend could increase avalanche danger.

The weather is expected to calm down over the weekend, with a chance of rain Saturday and Sunday. But a series of storms is expected about every other day through next week.

Jack Broom: jbroom@seattletimes.com

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