Normally mild Seattle is bracing for its second snowstorm this week Friday and Saturday.
And with yet another snowstorm forecast for early next week, Seattle-area meteorologist Cliff Mass said the storms could be "one of greatest snow events in decades."
A winter storm warning has been issued for the Seattle area. Up to half a foot of snow is possible from the Friday-Saturday storm throughout the region. Officials say travel could be very difficult and that blowing snow could contribute to reduced visibility.
"If you can, work from home," advised Mass. "Use light rail if you are in Seattle. If you drive to work or school, head home early (before noon). And if you drive, park in a location that you will avoid hills."
The first snowstorm, earlier this week, officially dropped 2.7 inches on Seattle.
"This February in Seattle is going to be remembered for brutal winter weather for many folks not used to it," said Weather.us meteorologist Ryan Maue.
The city averages only 0.7 inch of snow each February.
Brian Holloway, store manager at Henery Hardware in East Bremerton, Washington, said customers have been clamoring for rock salt, snowmelt, shovels and wood pellets.
"I'm completely out of everything," Holloway said.
In Portland, the other major city in the Pacific Northwest, 1 to 4 inches of snow is expected.
Snow and cold is also forecast for interior Oregon and Washington as well as for much of northern California, the National Weather Service said.
The storm has been named Winter Storm Maya by the Weather Channel. No other private weather agency, nor the weather service, uses that name.
Later Saturday, although snow tapers off in western Washington, it will continue in most other parts of the Northwest and northern Rockies.
The next storm will affect the region late Sunday into early next week, with more snow likely.
The wintry pattern will continue in western Washington: "There's nothing on the horizon that looks like a pattern shift," said Reid Wolcott, a weather service meteorologist. "It's going to remain cold with more storms for the foreseeable future."