Gathering clouds over Whidbey Island on Tuesday portend the upcoming bluster predicted for this week. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Gathering clouds over Whidbey Island on Tuesday portend the upcoming bluster predicted for this week. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

‘Welcome to fall’: Get ready for big winds and heavy rain

The Weather Service is warning people to prepare for power outages, possible flooding and falling trees.

EVERETT — After a dangerously arid summer, rain is finally on the way.

Up to six inches of rain could fall in the northern Cascade Range on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. Blustery winds also are expected to hit communities near Puget Sound hard.

The Weather Service is warning folks to prepare for power outages, possible flooding and falling trees.

A high wind warning was issued for the Everett area between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Wednesday. Meteorologists forecast 20 to 35 mph winds, with gusts topping out at 50 mph.

The first autumn storm tends to leave behind more wreckage than weather later in the season. Trees still have many of their leaves, which provide resistance against the wind.

“You get more snapping of tree limbs,” said meteorologist Ni Cushmeer with the Weather Service.

The dry summer has stressed trees in the area, making it easier for them to blow down, she said.

The heavy rains also could be troublesome.

A flood watch was issued for all of Snohomish County.

The storm is expected to bring less than two inches of rain for the lowlands on Wednesday and into Thursday, Cushmeer said. That rainfall amount decreases closer to Puget Sound.

The Stillaguamish River may rise enough to flood due to steady rain in the mountains, according to the Weather Service. Folks in the lowlands also may see standing water, especially on uneven roadways and underpasses.

Cushmeer suggested that people check storm drains near their homes. As trees begin to shed their leaves, drains could become clogged with debris. “You don’t want your storm drain to look like that,” Cushmeer said.

She cleaned her storm drain Tuesday of leaves and even a child’s toy.

The Public Utility District suggested that people compile an emergency kit, charge an extra battery pack for cell phones, pull a portable generator out of storage and take note of the outage reporting phone number.

The state Department of Transportation reminded drivers to slow down and turn off cruise control during the heavy rains.

“Welcome to fall in Washington,” Cushmeer said.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; ctompkins@heraldnet.com.

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