Seattle, Portland brace for damaging winds, heavy rain

PHOTO: Two storms will bring heavy rain and snow to the Pacific Northwest this week.PlayABC News
WATCH Heavy rain and snow batter Pacific Northwest

The first in a series of storms to impact the Pacific Northwest is hitting today, bringing heavy rain along the coastal areas and significant mountain snow across the interior.

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Snow accumulations could total over a foot in the highest elevations this afternoon through early Tuesday morning.

Heavy rain paired with damaging winds are possible for Seattle and Portland areas tonight.

High wind warnings are also in effect for Seattle and Portland. Gusts over 50 mph could cause downed trees and power outages.

PHOTO: Snow accumulations could total over a foot in the highest elevations.ABC News
Snow accumulations could total over a foot in the highest elevations.

The first storm will make its way into the middle of the country by Tuesday or Wednesday, with minimal impacts aside from some rain.

Storm No. 2 is approaching the Pacific Northwest late Tuesday, and with colder air in place, a heavier snow event is forecast for the mountains, including the Cascades, Sierras and the Northern Rockies. The storm will bring heavy mountain snow across the West with accumulations of several feet possible, along with heavy rain and winds along the coast on Thursday. It's expected to keep pushing east, with possible severe weather across the central U.S. by Friday afternoon and evening.

By Saturday the second storm will impact the eastern U.S., making early holiday travel difficult for many people.

The Midwest, Great Lakes and East Coast will see wintry weather, heavy rain and strong winds Friday to Saturday.