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Rain, November-like chill expected to settle over Pacific Northwest

By Ryan Adamson, Accuweather.com

A wet and chilly pattern is shaping up for the Northwest, making it feel more like November than May.

AccuWeather forecasters say that a series of storms will come ashore, causing precipitation to continue through Mother's Day weekend and into early next week.

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Rain began Thursday with almost a half inch of rain in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle. The rain then moved farther inland with some high-elevation snow above pass level.

However, motorists traversing the region's mountains will want to keep an eye on the forecast as snow levels will begin to drop as a dip in the jet stream becomes more pronounced.

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The next wave of moisture will move ashore into northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington before expanding into the rest of coastal Washington and as far south as Northern California by later Friday.

As the rain moves farther inland, the precipitation will fall in the form of snow in the Washington Cascades. As cooler air continues to funnel into the region, rain will change to snow in the Oregon Cascades and much of Idaho by Friday night.

"A dip in the jet stream will bring snow to the passes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho by Friday night," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney.

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The coldest air is likely to work into the region Saturday night and Sunday. By that time, the heaviest precipitation is expected to be focused in southwestern Oregon and northwestern California.

Precipitation may not be as heavy farther north, but snow levels may get as low as 2,000 feet in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho by Sunday night and Monday morning.

"Mountain snow will blanket the slopes of the Sierra Nevada and Cascades, resulting in slippery travel through the mountain passes," cautioned LeSeney.

Even though snow won't fall at the lowest elevations, temperatures will be well below normal. Seattle will only manage to climb into the lower to middle 50s F through the weekend, temperatures more typical of early November. The average high in the Emerald City in early May is 65 F.

Portland, Oregon, could be even colder. The high temperatures Sunday will struggle to get out of the lower 50s F, a high temperature more typical of mid-November. It will also be nearly 15 degrees lower than the normal early-May high of 68 degrees.

Waves of rain and mountain snow will continue into next week, although the precipitation is not expected to be heavy.

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Unfortunately, no precipitation is in the offing for Southern California or other locations in the Southwest, where both a short-term and long-term drought continues. Additionally, strong winds will continue to dry things out further and keep the fire danger very high.

By late next week, much of the West is expected to be dry as the wet season comes to a close.

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