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Cool and unsettled across Northwest rest of week; gusty winds remain a threat across California

October 10, 2017; 8:56 PM

A round of cool and unsettled weather will descend on the Northwest through the rest of the week with snow falling in the mountains.

The weather pattern this week will feature a persistent trough of low pressure over the Northwest with several pieces of energy rotating through.

The first one is arriving now, Tuesday afternoon, and another one will arrive Thursday night into Friday morning.

two shortwaves northwest snow

Two shortwaves, or pieces of energy, will pass through the Northwest this week. The first one is passing through now while the other one will pass through Thursday night to Friday (as shown above). Model shown is 12Z GFS 500 mb heights and vorticity.

Chilly air will accompany the trough and will lead to snow showers and snow levels down around 3,500 feet in the Cascades and northern Rockies at times through Friday.

The most snow shower activity will occur tonight through Wednesday, and then another round Thursday night through Friday.

Accumulations of up to a foot will occur at the highest peaks.

snow map northwest 0ct 11

Episodes of gusty winds to occur across California through the weekend; wildfire threat remains high

Winds have decreased since Sunday night into Monday morning when wildfires just north of the Bay Area rapidly accelerated and drove into nearby communities, including the Santa Rosa area.

aqua modis west wildfires

The Aqua satellite captured this image of the wildfires Monday. Credit: NASA/MODIS

A strong area of high pressure over the Great Basin was to blame for the gusty offshore winds. This has since moved east into the Plains which has allowed the winds to decrease.

The storm system diving into the Northwest will help drive onshore winds and higher humidity through Tuesday night but an associated surface cold front will pass through and turn winds more northerly starting Wednesday, lasting through the rest of the week.

The front and an increasing pressure gradient will drive gusty and dry winds late Wednesday through Thursday morning across the North and East Bay Mountains, areas that continue to have active wildfires.

nam gusts west

Model wind gusts from NAM for Wednesday night. Notice the green shading north of the Bay Area showing wind gusts 30 to 40 knots (35 to ~45 mph).

While these winds will not be as strong as Sunday night and Monday event, they will still produce critical wildfire conditions.

A northerly flow will continue afterwards through Friday, occasional producing strong wind gusts but a bit weaker.

Another round of gusty winds is expected Friday night and through the weekend. The pressure gradient will again tighten over the region as models are in agreement that another strong area of high pressure will build over the Great Basin by Saturday.

great basin high pressure weekend

Another area of high pressure will settle over the Great Basin this weekend. This will bring a warm, dry and gusty northeasterly offshore flow across northern and central California.

Strong winds from the northeast will occur again across north-central California, creating a dry, warm and gusty offshore flow. This will again produce critical fire weather conditions.

It is important to note that the Northwest U.S. storm system this week will not bring any precipitation to California.

weekend offshore flow

Videos and more coverage on the weather across the Western U.S. this week and weekend:
Wildfire reports story
Storms, chilly air to sweep across northwestern US through late week
Terrifying video shows group fleeing raging Napa wildfire
Wildfires destroyed family home, but not their hope

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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