College football fans attending the Oregon – Cal game Saturday evening at Autzen Stadium are likely to get an aerial attack of a much different kind as the Pacific Northwest braces for its first major winter storm of the season.
The powerful storm will take aim on the Pacific Northwest Friday into Monday with potentially disastrous flooding, damaging winds and dangerous seas according to the National Weather Service.
The storm will travel south from Alaska with gusty winds, rain and mountain snow, but will grow into a monster over the Gulf of Alaska Friday, where it’s expected to stall over the weekend. Winds of 40 to 60 mph will roar over the ocean raising 15- to 30-foot seas.
As the storm expands southward and eastward, it will spread heavy rain, flooding, travel delays, high winds, pounding surf and rough seas first to British Columbia, then to Washington and Oregon and finally to northernmost California.
The heaviest rain, on the order of 4 to 8 inches (up to 200 mm) will fall on the southwest-facing slopes of the Olympics and Cascades in Washington and the Vancouver Island Ranges Coast Mountains in British Columbia.
Rounds of heavy wind and rain are expected at each of the Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State games – all of whom are playing at home on Saturday.
“It’s going to be wet and wild” said Vicki Strand, University of Oregon’s Director of Game Day Operations.
“Be prepared and dress appropriately,…and because it’s a night game, make sure to wear light colored clothing to make sure you’re visible when leaving the stadium.”
Strand also suggests fans take extra caution if they’ll be tailgating before and after Saturday’s contest.
“If you’re tailgating…don’t leave tents up during the game” Strand says.
“….you’ll likely lose your property, but it’s also unsafe for other people.”
The National Weather Service also has put out a bulletin cautioning drivers who are planning to use the I-5 corridor that there could be weather delays due to the heavy rain with possible flooding.
For Duck fans driving from the north, it’s advised to plan ahead and leave a bit earlier than normal in case delays do occur.
“Any time you have wet weather and heavy winds it can be a dangerous combination” Strand says.
Be safe Duck fans!