LONG BEACH - After a relatively benign weather period that has lulled the area in tranquility, Mother Nature will shake things up again, according to the National Weather Service in Portland.

The first in a series of potent weather systems will push into the region on Saturday, with rain increasing from north to south. No flooding is expected, but rivers will rise some after seeing 1 to 3 inches of rain fall Saturday and Saturday night. The heaviest rainfall will be over the Coast Range and the Willapa Hills. Snow levels will fall from 6,000 feet Saturday morning down to around 4,000 feet by midnight Saturday night. Though accumulations are expected at the pass levels, the heaviest will fall well above the passes where 1 to 2 feet of new snow are likely.

A brief lull in the weather will occur later Sunday into early Monday, but a stronger system will arrive later Monday and Tuesday. This system will bring a one-two punch as it moves across the region. The first punch will bring another round of heavy rain to the area, and strong gusty south winds to coastal areas and over the exposed higher mountain ridges.

The second punch will arrive behind the system, as much colder air moves into the Pacific Northwest. Snow levels will likely tumble down to 1,500 to 2,000 feet by Wednesday.

Watch for further updates and the latest forecasts as the weather turns more active, especially early next week. Those with travel plans over the cascades should be prepared for wintery driving conditions.

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