A set of storms moving through Western Washington were packing a wallop Monday, and were expected to bring “excessive rain,” high winds and power outages while the mountains will be layered with fresh powder, according to the National Weather Service.
Puget Sound Energy reported 3,679 customers without power Monday morning, including about 2,000 in Pierce County.
Most appeared to have power by Monday evening, with the exception of about 10 customers in Puyallup, and several in the areas of Bonney Lake, Graham and South Hill.
Wildwood Park in Puyallup was closed Monday because of downed trees and a power outage.
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The Weather Service issued a flood watch from Tuesday morning (Dec. 8) through Wednesday afternoon, warning that several inches of rain could mean flooding for rivers that run off the Cascade mountains.
Up to 11 inches could fall in the mountains, forecasters said. Two to 5 inches were expected in the lowlands.
The snow level was forecast to rise as high as 6,500 feet on Monday and continue climbing to 8,000 feet on Tuesday, the Weather Service said. It was expected to then fall to 3,500 or 4,500 feet by Wednesday.
That much precipitation could mean landslides because the ground is saturated from rainfall over the last several days.
Although the steady stream of rain makes for wet days and congested freeways in the lowlands, skiers and snow lovers were rejoicing.
Thirteen inches of snow fell at Mount Rainier National Park in a 24-hour period ending at 9 a.m. Monday. Since Friday, 27 inches of fresh powder were reported.
The snowpack is approaching 60 inches, but the popular snowplay area at Paradise will not open until at least 60 inches are on the ground. The area did not open last winter because of a lack of snow.
While 7 inches of new snow helped build the base at Crystal Mountain Resort, high winds in the forecast forced the ski area to keep the upper mountain closed Monday.
The ski area is open daily, with reduced rates, but the schedule for lifts is determined by each day’s weather and conditions on the slope.
At White Pass, the ski area was reporting 17 inches of new snow at the summit and 12 to 14 inches of new snow at the base. The area was closed Monday, but ski area managers hoped the storm will allow them to reopen Thursday.
A weather buoy off Cape Elizabeth was reporting wave heights topping 19 feet, after hitting 27.9 feet Sunday night. The buoy off the mouth of Grays Harbor was recording wave heights topping 17 feet Monday.
Temperatures this week will remain in the 50s with a high of 57 Tuesday and 21 to 28 miles per hour winds gusting up to 36 mph. Wednesday should be a tad cooler with a high of 52, staying breezy with 24 mph winds.
Staff writer Jeffrey P. Mayor contributed to this report.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653