Strong winds with gusts up to 70 miles per hour are forecast to rip through Southwest Washington starting late tonight through Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.
In the mountains, a winter storm warning for heavy snow is in effect from early afternoon today to 1 p.m. Sunday.
The winds from the west are developing along the coast of Washington state, and expected to flow into the Chehalis Gap and inland south of Olympia.
The Chehalis Gap is the area south of the Olympic Mountains and north of the Willapa Hills along the coastal range of mountains. It funnels westerly winds into the interior of Southwest Washington.
Sustained winds will be from 35 to 45 miles per hour, along with gusts up to 70 miles per hour.
These winds are capable of downing power lines, toppling trees and damaging buildings.
This Pacific Ocean storm is also hitting the north and central coasts of Oregon with the same high winds.
In the mountains, expect heavy snow in the Cascades for the next 24 hours. Snowfall tonight is forecast for 10 to 20 inches, with snowfall totals up to 30 inches.
Snow level this afternoon will be at about 1,500 feet, and rise to 3,000 feet tonight. It will fall back down to about 2,000 feet on Sunday. The snow will begin to taper off Sunday afternoon.
The National Weather Service reminds motorists that travel in the mountains will be “hazardous or impossible.” Long delays through the mountain passes and closures are possible.
The National Weather Service warns those considering driving in the mountainous areas of Southwest Washington to “only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”